Roanne (rôänˈ) [key], town (1990 pop. 42,848), Loire dept., E central France, on the Loire River. Cotton and metals are the chief products; other industries include tanning, machine and vehicle manufacturing, and the spinning of artificial silk. Roanne (then Rodumna) was a crossroads in Gallo-Roman times and was mentioned in ancient geography by Ptolemy. The Joseph-Dechelette Museum, noted for its ancient artifacts, is located in the town. Roanne also has several ruins from the Roman period, as well as remnants of a medieval château and several 15th- and 16th-century houses.