Located in the Conflent region of Catalonia (now in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in France), at the confluence of the Têt and Cady rivers, Villefranche-de-Conflent bars the road down the valley from Mont-Louis and Spain. The town is dominated by the mountainsides around it, which provide many ideal locations for enemy batteries to hammer the walls, so it was fortified for the beginning, since it was founded, in 1098. Captured by the French in 1654, it was part of the program of construction and improvement of outlying French defenses led by through 1707 by Marshal Vauban.
Marshal Vauban (1633-1707), famous as military engineer, made the original wall taller (enclosing the medieval parapet so as to create a two storey wall), the upper parapet being covered with a tiled roof to protect the garrison from snipers. Several of the towers were demolished, while others were incorporated into the modern defence system. Vauban added also the Redoubte du Pont St. Pierre (Redoubt of St. Peter's Bridge) to protect the bridge over the River Têt, and a casemated gallery into the mountainside.
The town's train station starts and ends the route of the scenic Train Jaune, included on the Tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Villefranche-de-Conflent: city walls, Fort Libéria and Cova Bastera is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Fortifications of Vauban, about which I wrote here.
About the stamps
The two stamps are part of a very large series, Portraits de régions (Portrait of Regions), issued by La Poste between 2003 and 2008. Every year, between 2003 and 2008, was issued a set of 10 stamps (with the same value) for each theme. The stamps found on this postcard are part of France to live 2008 (all with the same value - 0,55 EUR), issued on September 8, 2008:
• Rope soled Sandals - it's on this postcard
• L'image d'Epinal
• Beef Stew
• Le reblochon
• Le callisson - it's on this postcard
I wrote also about France to live 2008 here.
Villefranche-de-Conflent - Wikipedia
Fortifications of Vauban - UNESCO official website
Villefranche-de-Conflent - Fortified Places
Sender: Fabienne (direct swap)
Sent from (France), on 14.11.2012
Photo: S. Vartabedian