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The International Association of Beauforts was established in 1995 when Beaufort-en-Vallee, France hosted the first reunion of Beauforts. The Beaufort, North Carolina organization seeks to promote international cooperation, understanding and development through a variety of dynamic exchanges with cities and towns with whom Beaufort maintains active sister city partnerships. By interpreting our way of life to people of other cultures, we gain a better understanding of our own community. This site provides information on our local organization as well as overviews of each of our sister-city Beauforts.
Beaufort sur Gervanne is a commune of the Drome department in the Rhone-Alps Region. The village is located in the Valley of the La Gervanne (a small river), 45 kilometers from Valence. The commune covers 3.67 square miles. Its name goes back to the 1200-1300s - "Castrum Bellifortis" - "The Beautiful Castle." The castle was intended to protect the population in the event of war. Today houses are built around the castle.
About 1550, after several years of the Wars of Religion, many buildings were burned. The castle was destroyed in 1581 following engagements between Catholics and Protestants. That same year an epidemic of plague took 350 victims, which represented half the population of the village.
In 1870 there were 600 inhabitants. During World War I the population greatly decreased. In 1944 the village was bombarded, plundered and burned. The French State took part in its rebuilding.
Today there are 380 inhabitants. Some work in local small companies--the majority at Crest, a county town located 15 kilometers from the village. Some small farmers produce sheep for meat, goats for the manufacture of cheeses, aromatic and medicinal plants, honey, wine and "Clairette de Die"--a natural sparkling white wine.
An entry gate to the Regional Natural Park of Vercors, Beaufort sur Gervanne, as well as the surrounding villages, accomodate many tourists during summer. A great number of hiking, bike and horse trails make it possible to discover the area.
The discoveries of Andre Lacroix, circa 1740, revealed fragments of swords, spears and bracelets that attest to the antiquity of the site.
Beaufort sur Gervanne hosted the 2004 annual international meeting of Beauforts.
Above information and photos were sent by Jean Marie Buis (8/7/2010).