1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vire

VIRE, a town of north-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Calvados, 47 m. S .W . of Caen by rail. Pop. (1906) 6228. Vire stands on an eminence surrounded on three sides by the Vire and crowned by the remains of a 12th-century château. The church of Notre Dame (13th to 15th century), and the picturesque Tour de i'Horloge (13th century), beneath which runs the chief street, are the principal buildings. A library and a small museum with good collections of porcelain, pictures and curiosities, are installed in the town hall (17th and 18th centuries). In the public garden there is a statue of Marshal Jacques Goyon, comte de Matignon (1525–1597); and the native poets C. J. L. Chênedollé and P. L. R. Castel are represented, the former by a marble bust, the latter by a bronze statue. Vire grew up around a castle built in the 12th century by Henry I. of England, and in the middle ages was one of the important strongholds of Normandy. South-west of the town is the gorge called Vaux-de-Vire, in which was situated the mill of Olivier Basselin (15th century), the fuller and reputed author of the satiric songs, hence known as "vaudevilles" (see Basselin, Olivier).