Moulins, city of art and history, keeps in its narrow streets and monuments footprint of its glorious past as the capital of the Dukes of Bourbon (1327-1527). Visitation implemented, as many religious orders in the 17th century preserves and exhibits now Moulins, works of Visitation of the world! On the other side of the bridge, the National Theatre Costume has the most beautiful costumes directory (theater, opera, ballet), in original scenography inspired.
The oldest document dates Moulins 990, it is the gift of the Order of Cluny in the chapel "in Molinis villa." The existence of Moulins is more than a millennium. The city probably owes its name to the many mills that inhabited places and worked with the energy supplied by the river (mills on boats), or through water streams and ponds located between the village of Yseure on Hill and the banks of the Allier.
The important development of the city until the 15th century was mainly due to three dates:
In 1232, the eighth Archambaud Sire de Bourbon, granted a charter franchise Moulins that promotes economic development and population increase.
In 1276, Beatrix, Lady of Bourbon, married Robert of Clermont, sixth son of St. Louis.
In 1327, their son Louis became the first Duke of Bourbon, King Charles the Fair who erected the Bourbonnais Duchy. This benefits all the more Moulins it becomes capital of the Bourbonnais welcoming the ducal administration in the late 14th century. Duke Louis II, will rebuild and expand the castle, it will build the dungeon called nowadays Mal Coiffée, create a chamber of accounts and erect the ducal chapel in college.
At the end of the 15th century, Moulins is a walled city that grew from the ducal castle.
The imposing castle illustrates the influence of the Dukes of Bourbon, which remains absolute until the early 16th century. The 15th century saw the climax, Pierre de Beaujeu becomes Duke of Bourbon, succeeding his two older brothers, John and Charles II second. Pierre married Anne de Bourbon of France, daughter of King Louis XI. In 1495, during the first Italian campaign, led by King Charles the eighth (younger brother of the Duchess Anne) the kingdom of France would be governed by Moulins from Peter and Anne. This golden age will be characterized by the influx of artists value.
It was at this time that the master Moulins painted his famous triptych: The Virgin in Glory, surrounded by angels and on the side panels, donors presented by their patron saint, the Duke and Duchess 2nd Pierre Anne, with her daughter, Suzanne, the triptych master Moulins is considered a masterpiece of French primitive art. It is also at this time that will be built pavilion commissioned by Anne de Beaujeu, one of the first buildings built in Renaissance France. Yet, despite these commands sumptuous, the duchy is fragile and lack of male offspring, after the death of the Constable de Bourbon, Charles III, son of Peter II, the Duchy of Bourbonnais will be attached to the crown of France in 1531.
Moulins retains the medieval historic center one plot and a frame that reflects the urban evolution.
Near the old castle, the half-timbered houses from the late 15th century mingle with brick houses of the 17th and 18th century brick facades often hidden medieval courtyards.
Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, Moulins keeps track of the power of merchants and freedoms obtained by the people in the Middle Ages. The clock tower stands called Jacquemart meet verticality of the towers of the cathedral and the castle dungeon.
Although undergone over the centuries several fires, Jacquemart is a symbol, an attraction for visitors and Moulinois. It evokes the splendor and power of the city under the Dukes of Bourbon, great patrons and politicians of France until the early 16th century.
The attachment of the United Bourbonnais does not, however, interrupt the development of the city. The extension continues the suburbs outside the walls along the main routes of communication involving the construction of a second chamber but to remain unfinished. In the 18th century, many mansions were built.
A bridge built by Louis Régemortes will finally master the impetuosity of the Allier and lead to a development project neoclassical on the left bank, the first building will be undertaken cavalry barracks which now houses the CNCS.