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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ferney-Voltaire is a commune in the Ain department in eastern France.

It lies between the Jura mountains and the Swiss border and forms part of the metropolitan area of Geneva.


From 1759 to 1778 Ferney was home to French writer and philosopher Voltaire. His influence on the town was profound. He built the local church and founded cottage industries that produced some of the finest potters and watchmakers of modern France. After the French Revolution, the town was renamed "Ferney-Voltaire" in his honor.

In 1759, after having lived in Geneva less than two years, Voltaire had purchased the estate of Ferney in France, near the Swiss border. A prime reason for his leaving Geneva was that theatre was forbidden in that Calvinist city, so he had decided to become the enlightened "patriarch" of the little village of Ferney, setting up potteries, a watchmaking industry and, of course, theaters, attracting rich people from Geneva to watch his plays.

During Voltaire's residence, the population of Ferney increased to more than 1,000. Voltaire lived there for the last 20 years of his life before returning to Paris, where he died in 1778.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ferney-Voltaire" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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