Last modified: 2003-05-31 by ivan sache
Keywords: eure | vernon | fleurs-de-lys: 3 (yellow) | watercress |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
by Arnaud Leroy
Vernon is a city of 25,000 inhabitants, located on the river Seine.
Vernon was built in the IXth century by Rollon, the first Duke of Normandy. Since the city was located near the border between Normandy and (Ile-de-)France and commanded the river Seine, it was a fortified city. The name of Vernon appeared for the first time in 1049. In 1196, Vernon was incorporated into the Kingdom of France by the treaty of Goulet, eight years before the complete incorporation of Normandy. King of France Philippe-Auguste (1180-1223) fortified the castle, from which only the Archives Tower has been preserved. The city was built on the left bank of the Seine but the bridge, built in the XIIth century, was protected on the right bank by the Tournelles Castle and fortified water mills.
The castle of Bizy is located 4 km west of Vernon. It was built in 1740 by Coutant d'Ivry for Marshal of Belle-Isle, grand-son of Surintendant Fouquet, Louis XIV's rival and victim. The castle later belonged to Duke de Penthièvre, King Louis-Philippe (who restored the park of the castle) and Baron de Schickler. It is now the property of Duke d'Albuféra, descendant of Empire Marshal Suchet, and Marchioness de Grammont. The castle is opened to visit.
An even more famous place, located 2 km south-east of Vernon, is the village of Giverny (600 inhabitants). The Impressionnist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926) bought a house in Giverny where he lived from 1883 to his death. A visit to the white-bearded patriarch became a classical pilgrimage in the beginning of the XXth century. Monet painted in Giverny the series of Nymphéas, exhibited in the especially designed Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, and most of his late paintings, now exhibited in Musée Marmottan, in Paris, too. Monet's house is now a museum. The workshop where he painted the Nymphéas as well as the 'pink and green' house, with Monet's personal collection of Japanese prints, are worth being visited, but the climax of the pilgrimage is the garden. The part of the garden close to the house is the Clos Normand, reconstituted after Monet's drawing. On the other side of the road, the Japanses water garden can be reached via a tunnel.
Ivan Sache, 13 October 2002
The flag of Vernon is white with the coat of arms in the middle.
The coat of arms of Vernon was granted by King St. Louis (Louis IX, 1226-1270). The chief of France (azure, three fleurs-de-lys or) shows that Vernon was a Royal city. The charges are three bunches of watercress, tied with gold. Watercress cultivation was common in the past in areas liable to flooding located close to the rivers. It nearly disappeared when it was shown that watercress hosted liverfluke. Cultivation has now been reintroduced through a strict procedure of certification. The legend says that St. Louis was once very thirsty when entering Vernon, and was offered a bunch of watercress to quench his thirst. He was so pleased with that present that he decided that the arms of Vernon should bear watercress bunches.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 13 October 2002