Dreams of a free France
Averoigne has had a varied history. The town grew out of an original hamlet to become a successful market town that took most of its trade from the mountain pass through the Saverne gap that connected the main body of France with Strasbourg in the Rhine valley. Over the years it has grown steadily in size and is presently It saw three major expansion periods: one during the Holy Roman Empire, and one after the proliferation of the locomotive.
Holy Roman Empire
The Emperor Sigismund of the Holy Roman Empire seems to have been particularly fond of Averoigne, since it is blessed with a Cathedral, town square, and a monestary, although this is now in ruins. The town developed greatly during the late medieval period and some of those buildings still remain.
Reign of Louis XIV
Louis the 14th enjoyed the mountainous terrain and good hunting conditions in the Vosges mountains, and found Averoigne to be a charming retreat – so much so that he built a small Chateau Louis in the region. The Botanical gardens which he installed in the town are among the most beautiful and extensive in France, and although he did not institute the attached Museum and College they probably would not exist without his intervention
Industrialisation came second-hand to Averoigne after the proliferation of the railway throughout Europe. It was many years before a suitable path for the train lines could be blasted into the Saverne gap with gelignite, but in 1902 it was finally completed and Averoigne regained its status as a focal market town between central France and the Rhine valley. A lot of investors in the railway decided that Averoigne was well positioned to produce light consumer goods, and so a large if unsalubrious industrial sector has opened up in the town. However it is the extensive trainyard and industrial railway station that form the business heart of the town.