Last modified: 2005-12-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: indre-et-loire | loches | fleur-de-lys: 3 (yellow) | fishes: 6 (black) | loach |
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Municipal flag of Loches - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 14 October 2002
Loches (7,000 inhabitants) is located on the river Indre; it is a sous-préfecture of the department of Indre-et-Loire.
The name of the city comes from Low Breton Loch or
Lo'ch, which was reused by the Romans as Castrum
Luccoe, "the fortress in the marshes".
In the VIth century, St. Gregor of Tours mentioned a castellum built on a rock dominating the Indre. Around 1030, Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou, built a donjon which was later incorporated into a bigger fortress. The fortress was seized by King of France Philippe-Auguste in 1205, after one year of siege. In 1249, Louis IX (St. Louis) bought the fortress, which was later used as a Royal residence by Philippe le Bel and Jean le Bon. In June 1429, Joan of Arc came to Loches and tried to convince King Charles VII to move to Reims, to no avail. One of his companions was Gilles de Rais, the model of Bluebeard. Agnès Sorel, a.k.a la Dame de Beauté, Charles VII's favourite, left the Royal court of Chinon under the pressure of the Dauphin (later King Louis XI) and moved to Loches. In 1450, she died in Normandy and her body was brought back to Loches and buried into the collegial church. Her recumbent statue, later transfered into the castle, was trashed during the French Revolution and eventually reconstituted in 1970. Louis XI transformed the fortress into a Royal jail, where the prisoners were caught in famous iron cages, which were all destroyed in 1790. It is said that these cages were designed by Cardinal Jean Balue, who betrayed the King for the Duke of Burgundy and was jailed in one of his cages from 1469 to 1480. Duke of Milan Ludovic Sforza, a.k.a. the Moor, was captured by King of France Louis XII, who jailed him eight years in the fortress. Ludovic's graffitis can still be seen in the dungeon where he was kept, including the words celui qui n'est pas contan (the one who is not happy). When liberated, Sforza could not resist to the daylight and died immediatly (he was most probably poisoned).
The church St. Ours, built in the XIIth century, has two octogonal hollow pyramides covering its nave. That architecture, designed by Prior T. Pactius, is absolutely unique in the world.
Loches is the birth city of the painter Lansyer (1835-1893), Courbet's student and Delacroix's friend, and the romantic poet Alfred de Vigny (1797-1863).
Ivan Sache, 14 October 2002
The flag of Loches is white with six black fishes (3+2+1) swimming
to the hoist, along which a blue vertical stripe charged with three
yellow fleur-de-lys is placed.
This flag is based on the municipal arms of Loches. The fishes are loaches, in French loches, making the arms and the flag canting. However, according to GASO, the field of the arms is vert and the chief of France is placed in the chief of the arms and not laterally as on the flag.
Ivan Sache & Pascal Vagnat, 14 October 2002