ancient mountainous province of France, centred on the town of Viviers (Viviers-sur-Rhone) and corresponding approximately to the modern departement of Ardeche. The ancient Roman site, Vivarium, later became the episcopate seat of Viviers; and the bishop of Viviers was virtual master of Vivarais, even though, from the 9th century, it belonged to the counts of Toulouse. In the 13th century it was united to the French crown. Part Catholic, part Protestant, it suffered severely in the Wars of Religion of the 16th century.
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