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Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole (Municipality, Yvelines, France)

Last modified: 2005-12-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: yvelines | saint-cyr-l'ecole | cross (blue) | fleurs-de-lis (yellow) | shako | crown (yellow) |
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[Flag of Saint-Cyr]

Municipal flag of Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 4 July 2005

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Presentation of Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole

The municipality of Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole (15,429 inhabitants) is located 5 km west of Versailles. Saint-Cyr and Versailles are separated by the park of the palace of Versailles and the INRA research center of Versailles.

Saint-Cyr is named after a Christian child martyrized by judge Alexander. Having his dayjob, Alexander was sentencing Christians to death when Cyr, aged five, ran into the court and shouted: "I am a Christian, too!". It took half an hour to the judge to catch the child. Since Cyr did not stop yelling he was a Christian, the fed-up judge smashed the child's head against a wall. St. Cyr's cult spread all over Gaul, and there are more than 40 villages and cities named after him in France.
L'Ecole refers to the Military College of Saint-Cyr founded by Napoléon.

At the end of the XIth century, the monks of the St. Geneviève's abbey in Paris decided to clear and evangelize the valley of the brook Ru de Gally. They founded near the brook a chapel, a priory and a farm. In 1156, Robert III, Bishop of Chartres, founded the Notre-Dame-des-Anges monastery near the village church of Saint-Cyr. The chapel was rebuilt in Gothic style around 1650 and a gate was added to the abbey, decorated with the arms of France supported by two angels.

The building of the palace of Versailles and its park, started in 1660, caused the suppression of the village of Choisy-aux-Boeufs, whose population emigrated to neighbouring Saint-Cyr. The village housed then 200 families.
In 1683, Queen Marie-Thérèse (1638-1683, Queen in 1660) died and Louis XIV (1638-1715, King in 1643, with personal power in 1661) married secretely Madame de Maintenon (1635-1719). Françoise d'Aubigné, Marchioness of Maintenon, was the grand daughter of the Calvinist poet Aggripa d'Aubigné (1552-1630), a brother in arms of King Henri IV. She converted to the Roman Catholic religion and married in 1652 the writer Paul Scarron (1610-1660). Once a widow, she was appointed governess of the children Louis XIV had had with Madame de Montespan (1640-1707). In 1679, Madame de Montespan was compromised in the Poisons' Affair and was replaced by Madame de Maintenon as the official king's favourite. After the marriage, Madame de Maintenon exerted a strong influence on the king and transformed his rule in a personal, religious dictatorship. The golden era of the festivals, comedy, dance and music in Versailles was over. In her letters, the terrible Princess Palatine (Charlotte Elisabeth of Bavaria, 1652-1722), Louis XIV's sister-in-law, nicknamed Madame de Maintenon Madame de Maintenant (Madame of Now) and Madame l'Ordure (Madame Filth).
In 1685, upon request by Madame de Maintenon, King Louis XIV created in Saint-Cyr a college for the filles pauvres de la noblesse (poor noble girls), nicknamed les demoiselles de Saint-Cyr. The building site started on 1 May 1685 and was directed by the royal architect Mansart. In 1686, Madame de Maintenon was officially appointed founder of the Maison royale de Saint-Louis. The poor noble girls were given there an industrious and strict education, which was very innovative at that time. After the death of the king, Madame de Maintenon retired in the Maison de Saint-Louis and died there.
The college was closed by the Convention in 1793 and transformed into a military hospital until 1798. The Notre-Dame-des-Anges abbey was sold as a national good in 1792 and partially destroyed; the department of Seine-et-Oise purchased the domain in 1882 and transformed it into a readjustment center for young people. The former Maison Saint-Louis was transformed into a secondary college (prytanée) in 1802 and into a Military College by Napoléon in 1808.

In the beginning of the XXth century, Saint-Cyr was one of the main centers of air travel. The Brazilian airman Alberto Santos-Dumont (1873-1932) flew from Saint-Cyr to Buc on the Demoiselle light aircraft. After this exploit, the aircraft manufacturer Deutsch de la Meurthe found the Aerotechnical Institute in 1911. Next year, an air base was set up in Saint-Cyr and called Caserne Charles Renard, as a tribute to the pionneer of air travel Charles Renard (1847-1905).
During the First World War, Saint-Cyr was a place of repairing for aircrafts, emplying 4,000 civils and soldiers in 1917. Captive balloons were manufactured there until 1928. In 1937, the air base was transformed into a special warehouse for technical vehicles. The airfield of Saint-Cyr (IATA code, stcy) was reopened to civil trafic in 1947. It is one of the last remaining historical airfields close to Paris. It is managed by the Paris Airport Authority (Aéroports de Paris, ADP). The airfield has two airstrips (920 and 860 m, respectively) and 19 hangars. The airfield was once planned to be suppressed because the noise of the aircraft disturbed King Fahd of Saudi Arabia who owns an estate nearby (with a private access road to the highway offered by the French state).

During the Second World War, Saint-Cyr was completely destroyed by bombings. Only 25 out of 1,130 apartment buildings resisted the bombings, which killed more than 300. Saint-Cyr was awarded the War Cross with palms in 1950; the official award ceremony took place in 1995.
In 1947, Saint-Cyr had only 4,457 inhabitants, as opposed to 8,000 in 1939. The city was rebuilt in the 1950s style. After the transfer of the Military College to Coëtquidan (Brittany), the ruins of the historical buildings were abandoned. In 1963, General de Gaulle, then President of the Republic, convinced the municipality to rebuild the College. It houses today a Military Secondary School.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 30 June 2005

Municipal flag of Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole

The municipal flag of Saint-Cyr, as seen at the entrances of the city, is white with the municipal coat of arms surmonting the name of the municipality in black letters. The border of the argent / white shield is not shown on the flag.

The municipal arms of Saint-Cyr are (GASO):

D'argent à la croix haussée d'azur semée de fleurs de lys d'or, fleurdelysée du même et sommée d'une couronne royale fermée aussi d'or, accostée en pointe de deux shakos de Saint-Cyrien affrontés au naturel.

Brian Timms gives:

D'argent à la croix haussée d'azur semée de fleurs de lis, fleurdelisée et sommée d'une couronne royale d'or accostée en pointe de deux shakos avec casoar au naturel celui de dextre contourné.

In English (Brian Timms):
Argent a latin cross flory azure semy de lis ensigned by a crown or between in base two shakos with plumes proper.

These arms are derived from those of the Military School, which have the shakos omitted. The casoar is the plume of the Saint-Cyr shako.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 30 June 2005