Crossed by the river Saône, Gray profits from a previleged natural context where past and present combine in total harmony. Since the conquest of the province by Louis XIV, in 1674, the city developed the harbour activities to become one of first river ports of France for wines, corn and metals.
Fortunes were built and, with them, the superb residences of nature are still adding to the splendour of the 18th century of the old center. The castel holds the collection of the Museum Baron Martin in which you can discover a rich collection of works of art from the the past to today.
Originally a village ruled the Counts of Burgundy on the edge of the plateau in the eleventh century, protected by a moat. Along the Saône the low city is organized in front of the town. The founding document of the hospital of the Holy Spirit states that this is already a fortified city in 1238.
The city and its walls were destroyed by Louis XI in 1479. The sixteenth century was a golden age for the city, thanks to the dynamism of the river trade and the continued presence of a political elite which expands to the County of Flanders. During the renaissance, the church was rebuilt.
If the sixteenth century was a glorious century, the seventeenth was austere, marred by war and the decade that ended with the annexation of Franche-Comté to the Kingdom of France. Many convents are established. The arrival in 1613 of the statue of the "Madonna and Child" carved from a piece of oak attracts many pilgrims. Pierre Fourier Mattaincourt, founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame, whose loyalty to the Dukes of Lorraine forced him to exile, came to Gray in 1636. He died in 1640 and was beatified in 1730. With these two events spiritual fame of the city only grow.
The next century Gray regains is prosperity with the construction of the hospital, the barracks and the restoration of river commerce. The economic boom is reflected by the development of the quays, the organization of railway center, the development of the lower quarters of the city with the construction of cellars, warehouses and grain mills. The development of culture says Gray by building the library and theater.
The City Hall is ene of the finest Renaissance buildings in Franche-Comté. Built from 1567 to 1572. The main facade, about 37 m long, has two bays punctuated by Corinthian columns and composite superimposed in red marble Sampans (Jura). It opens up the nine semicircular arches. The town hall is covered with a roof of polychrome glazed tiles Burgundian tradition.
The Basilica is located near the ancient fortress of the Dukes of Burgundy overlooking the city was completely restored in 1996. Its foundation stone was laid in 1478 but not completed until 1559 and erected in the Basilica by Pope Pius XII in 1948. A remarkable statue of the dead Christ made by Claude Arnoux said Lulier 1553 alabaster is in a chapel in the left aisle first. See also, the bottom of the stone pulpit (1612) and some important paintings: "Madonna giving a necklace to St. Teresa of Avila" by Mazzanti (1686-1775), "The Annunciation" (1760) by Montesanto. The story of the statue of Our Lady of Gray is told in pictures on the window located in the converted chapel in 1807 left the choir. The nave is dominated by the magnificent organ Besançon factor Claude Valentin (1726), completed by Riepp Dijon.
The library declared national property in 1789 and contains most of the manuscripts and writings from the convents of the city and surrounding areas. The first library is installed in three rooms of the Convent of the Cordeliers (now defunct) and was inaugurated on March 30, 1798. It contained about 12,000 volumes. Transferred to the Jesuit college in the early nineteenth century, it was then be installed in a specially constructed building in 1858, attached to the City Hall. The room was completely restored in 1996, impresses visitors with its majestic appearance, wood paneling and its upper gallery which is accessed by a spiral staircase.