Gray, France - Encyclopedia




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GRAY, a town of eastern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Haute-Saone, situated on the declivity of a hill on the left bank of the Saone, 36 m. S.W. of Vesoul by the Eastern railway. Pop. (1906) 5742. The streets of the town are narrow and steep, but it possesses broad and beautiful quays and has a busy port. Three bridges, one dating from the 18th century, unite it to suburbs on the right bank of the river, on which is the railway-station from which lines branch off to Auxonne, Dijon, Besancon and Culmont-Chalindrey. The principal buildings are the Gothic church, restored in the style of the Renaissance but with a modern portal, and the hotel de vine, built by the Spaniards in 1568. The latter building has a handsome facade decorated with columns of red granite. Gray is the seat of a subprefect and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, a communal college and a small museum. It has large flour-mills; among the other industries is the manufacture of machinery and iron goods. There is also a considerable transit traffic in goods from the south of France and the colonies, and trade in iron, corn, provisions, vegetables, wine, wood, &c., much of which is carried by river. Gray was founded in the 7th century. Its fortifications were destroyed by Louis XIV. During the Franco-German War General von Werder concentrated his army corps in the town and held it for a month, making it the point d'appui of movements towards Dijon and Langres, as well as towards Besancon. Gray gave its name to the distinguished English family of de Gray, Gray or Grey, Anschitel de Gray being mentioned as an Oxfordshire tenant in Domesday.

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