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Montigny-le-Bretonneux (Municipality, Yvelines, France)

Last modified: 2004-10-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: yvelines | montigny-le-bretonneux | fleur-de-lys (yellow) |
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[Flag of Montigny-le-Bretonneux]by Ivan Sache, logotype from the municipal website

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Presentation of Montigny-le-Bretonneux

Montigny-le-Bretonneux (35,743 inhabitants) is the core municipality of the ville nouvelle of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, located near Versailles and made of the municipalities of Elancourt, Guyancourt, La Verrière, Magny-les-Hameaux, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, Trappes and Voisins-le-Bretonneux. Montigny was in the past a rural village but is now the sixth largest city in the department of Yvelines, with 1,731 companies located on the municipal territory, including for instance the social seat of BMW France. As a consequence of its industrial development, the municipality increased its area from 686 ha to 1,045 ha in 1984 by incorporating a part of the municipality of Bois-d'Arcy. The current area of Montigny-le-Bretonneux is 1,067 ha.

The village of Montigny was mentioned for the first time as Montani in 1204 (archives of the cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Paris). It was then a small parish grouped around the church Saint-Martin. Later names of the village are Montiniacum (1250) and Montiniacum le Brestonneux (1351).
Abbot Leboeuf (1687-1760), historian of the diocese of Paris, believed that the epithet Brestonneux, sometimes Bristonneux (1547) or Bertonneux (1740), and eventually Bretonneux in church acts from 1800, was related to Bretons. Indeed, the Breton lords Amaury and Simon de Montfort were lords of Montigny in the Middle Ages. However, recent studies by the local historian Victor Belot show a different origin for the name of the city. Montani was of course an elevated place, whereas Brestonneux is the Frankish word for a swamp. The name of the village would therefore mean "land emerging from a swamp". This makes sense, since Montigny-le-Bretonneux and the neighbouring village of Voisins-le-Bretonneux were built among swamps. The swamps disappeared long time ago, but the two cities are still separated by places called Grande and Petite Ile (Big and Small Island).

In 1870, Montigny was occupied by the Prussian army, which prepared the siege of Paris. The big farms of the village provided forage for the horses. During the Second World War, Montigny was again occupied by the Germans. Pilots from the Luftwaffe operating on the neighbouring airfield of Voisins lived in the castles of Montigny and Manet. The farms helped the inhabitants to endure war privations. On 6 March 1944, the allied Air Force attacked the railway station of Trappes and several buildings in Montigny were damaged, including private houses, the school and the bell-tower of the church. Fortunately, nobody was killed during the bombing. On 10 June, a US Air Force flying fortress was hit by the anti-aircraft defense and crashed down near the hamlet of Manet. Montigny was liberated on 24 August 1944 by the vanguard of the Leclerc division.

The life in Montigny dramatically changed in the 1970s when the municipality was selected to be the main center of the ville nouvelle of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 23 March 2004

Flag of Montigny-le-Bretonneux

The flag of Montigny-le-Bretonneux is made of the municipal logotype placed on a white field. It can be seen on poles in several places of the municipality.

The official description of the logotype is the following:

The rainbow symbolizes the influence and dynamism of the city. The green dominant colour recalls the parks of the city, the farm of Manet and the regional sports and recreation park. The four white cobblestones and the yellow fleur-de-lys recalls the history of the city.
Under the Ancient Regime, the royal domains were delimited by big stone markers, often decorated with arms or emblems. Montigny was located in the middle of the "royal triangle", delimited by Versailles, Rambouillet and Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The markers were decorated with a fleur-de-lys. The crossroads of the four ways going to Versailles, Trappes, Montigny and Bois d'Arcy was marked with four such stone markers. Accordingly, the place was named Les Quatre Pavés du Roy (The King's Four Cobblestones).

The municipal coat of arms of Montigny, designed in 1979 by Victor Belot, shows in canton the traditional arms of Ile-de-France, azure three fleurs de lys or.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 23 March 2004