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Villefranche-sur Saone is a commune in the east of France, in the Rhône department. The town lies about a mile west of the River Saone and is about 16 miles north of Lyon The idyllic town was founded in 1212 by Guichard IV, count of Beaujeu. In the 14th century, Villefranche-sur-Saone became the capital of the province of Beaujolais, superseding the commune of Beaujeu as the commercial capital of the region.
Up until the 1400s the Beaujeu area had its own set of rulers, the last being Edouard II. Once Edouard died the barony was passed on to his uncle Louis II, Duke of Bourbon. The Bourbon family then used it as a title, as did the House of Orleans subsequently. In 1522 the title was confiscated by Francis I of France and given to his mother Louise of Savoy, but upon her death in 1531 it reverted to the French crown.