Riom - Encyclopedia

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RIOM, a town of central France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Puy-de-Dome, 8 m. N. by E. of ClermontFerrand by rail. Pop., town, 7839; commune, 10,627.10,627. Riom is situated on the left bank of the Ambene, on an eminence rising above the fertile plain of Limagne. It is surrounded with boulevards and has wide streets, but the houses, being built of black lava, have a sombre appearance. Some belong to the 15th and 16th centuries, and have turrets and carved stonework. The church of St Amable, of Romanesque and early Gothic architecture, dates from the 12th century, but has been restored in modern times. It has fine carved woodwork of the 17th century. The church of Notre-Dame du Marthuret (15th century) has a well-known statue of the Virgin at its western entrance. The Sainte-Chapelle of the 14th and 15th centuries is a relic of the palace of Jean de Berry, duke of Auvergne, and contains fine stained glass. Near it stands a statue of the chancellor Michel de l'Hopital, who was born near Riom. The rest of the site of the palace is occupied by the law courts. Other interesting buildings are the belfry of the 16th century and a mansion of the same period known as the Maison des Consuls. The town possesses numerous fountains, some of which are of the Renaissance period.

Riom is the seat of a court of appeal, a court of assizes and a sub-prefect, and has tribunals of first instance and commerce and a communal college. It has a state manufactory of tobacco, and carries on the preparation of fruit preserves. Trade is in grain, wine, vegetables, fruit, nut-oil and Volvic stone.

Riom (Ricomagus or Ricomum of the Romans) was long the rival of Clermont. Along with Auvergne it was seized for the crown by Philip Augustus, and it was the capital of this province under the dukes of Berry and Bourbon.

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