Montélimar is the capital of an arrondissement
in the department of Drôme
, in the Rhône-Alpes
region, on the east bank of the confluence
of the Rhône
and the Roubion
, south of Lyons
, and southwest of Valence
During the Gallo-Roman period, Montelimar was a tiny village on the east shore of the river then the Jabron. It was called Acunum and Mansio Acunum by the Romans. In the 12th century, it belonged to the Adhemar family, and was named Montilium Adhemari or the Monteil d'Adhemar, in reference to the hill which towered over the city, upon which the castle, Château des Adhémar was built. The name eventually evolved to Monteileymar, then Montelimar. In the middle of the 14th century, the city was sold to the pope and the dauphins of Viennois. Then it came into the possession of the Crown, and resited the 1570 attack of Gaspard de Coligny, but in 1587, was taken by the Huguenots. The ancient castle in Montélimar has served as a prison for many years.
In Montélimar, there are two festivals not to miss; Le Festival Voix et Guitares and La Semaine d'Art Contemporain in May.
The postal code for all of Montélimar is 26200 Drôme.
The nougat of Montélimar, now world-renowned, was imported from Greece into Marseilles, in southeastern France around the year 1700. It was referred to as a nut cake, in the Latin nux gatum. At the end of the 17th century, Olivier deSerre, an agronomist, planted mulberry and almond trees in his property in Pradel, Villeneuve-de-Berg, a few kilometres southwest of Montélimar. With the arid ground, and limestone of Provence, the almond trees did quite well.
The almonds were cooked in honey from Provence and the Alps, replacing other nuts, making the delicacy softer, whiter, and better preserved. Montélimar became known as the "city of nougat"; in 1701, the nougat of Montélimar became a noble confectionary, with the gift of the nougat to the Dukes of Burgundy and Berry from the mayor of Montélimar.
Montélimar's traditional industries include flour-milling, silkwork, and the manufacture of hats, lime, farming implements, preserved foods and, particularly, nougat.
Montélimar, the nougat, is mentioned in the first line of The Beatles song Savoy Truffle.