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Neuilly-sur-Seine (Municipality, Hauts-de-Seine, France)

Last modified: 2006-05-06 by ivan sache
Keywords: hauts-de-seine | neuilly-sur-seine | ship (white) | bridge (yellow) | flowers: 3 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Neuilly]

Municipal flag of Neuilly-sur-Seine - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 17 September 2005

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Presentation of Neuilly-sur-Seine

The municipality of Neuilly-sur-Seine (60,364 inhabitants - Neuilléens; 375 ha) is located on the right bank of river Seine, bordering Paris. Neuilly is the type of the posh city of the western side of Paris; this area is sometimes nicknamed NAP, from the initials of its three most emblematic components Neuilly, Auteuil and Passy (the two latter ones being former villages incorporated into the posh XVIth arrondissement of Paris long time ago).
There are more than 20 towns and villages called Neuilly in France (for instance, Neuilly-sur-Marne on the other side of Paris) but Neuilly-sur-Seine is the most famous of them.

The name of Neuilly comes from the Celtic roots *lun, a forest, and *noue, a marshy plain. The oldest written forms of Neuilly date back to the XIII-XIVth century, as Portus de Lulliaco (1222), Lugniacum (1224), Luingni (1226), Nully (1316) and Nulliacum (1379). Neuilly was then a small river port where the monks of the St. Denis' abbey owned a ferry.
Neuilly became a royal place in the XVIth century; King François I started the building of the castle of Madrid (suppressed in 1794) in the wood of Boulogne in 1527-1540. The castle was achieved by King Henri II in 1556. In 1606, King Henri IV, coming back from Saint-Germain to Paris, had a problem with the ferry and ordered the building of a wooden toll bridge. In 1751, Count d'Argenson, Minister of War of Louis XV, built the castle of Neuilly. In 1768-1772, the engineers Chézy and Dumoutier built a stone bridge to replace the old wooden bridge.
Short before the French Revolution, several follies were built in the woods, such as the Folie Saint-James, built in 1772 by the architects Chevrolet and Bélanger for Baron de Saint-James, and Folie Bagatelle, built in 1777 by the same Bélanger for the Count d'Artois, later King of France Charles X.

In 1786, Antoine Parmentier (1737-1813) grew potatoes in large fields in the plain of Sablons.
Aged 20, Parmentier served as an apprentice druggist in the French army; he was captured in Hanovre during the Seven Years' War. Back to France, he was appointed Chief Druggist (Apothicaire-Major) of the French Army in 1772. The next year, he won the contest set up by the Academy of Besançon on the plants potentially useful as substitutes of human food; Parmentier proposed the generalization of the cultivation of potato, as he saw it in Hanovre. King Louis XVI supported the idea and helped Parmentier to set up his famous "advertizing experiment" in the garden of Trianon in Versailles. Since people were very reluctant to eat underground products supposed to be poisonous, Parmentier required a strong escort and several royal guards watched the experimental fields in Trianon; all these guards triggered the curiosity of people, who were more and more to believe that some very valuable crop was grown there. The guards were of course ordered not to prevent people to enter the garden and pick up potatoes, and the fortune of Parmentier and his parmentières was made. Parmentier is therefore known as the introducer of potato as staple food in France, even if large scale cultivation started only around 1840.
Still serving in the Army, Parmentier served during the War of American Independence, the Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, but never gave up with the question of human food. After the Revolution, he experimented the substitution of cane sugar with grape sugar and attempted to improve ths storage of milk and meat, advizing cold storage. Napoléon appointed him General Inspector of the Health Service, and he set up the program of mandatory vaccination against small pox in 1805-1813.
From 1773 to 1813, Parmentier wrote a hundred of popular book, in which he explained his principles of experimentation and prevention of diseases by increasing food safety. He is therefore one of those several researchers who believed in progress and contributed to a significant increase in the life expectancy in France in the beginning of the XIXth century.
[After Encyclopaedia Universalis]

In 1815, an Imperial Decree created in Neuilly the St. John-the-Baptist's patronal festival. With time, the festival turned into a fun fair known as fête à Neu-Neu. In 1818, the Duke d'Orléans, later King Louis-Philippe, purchased the castle of Neuilly, where Talleyrand, Murat and the Princess Borghese had stayed. The castle was trashed and burnt down by the revolutionary insurgents in 1848. In 1859, Neuilly lost the two boroughs of Ternes and Villiers, incorporated to Paris and Levallois-Perret, respectively. The Bois de Boulogne was also incorporated to Paris in 1929.
The name of Neuilly-sur-Seine was granted by Decree in 1897.

On 27 November 1919, the treaty of Neuilly was signed in the city hall. The complete title of the treaty is:
"Treaty of peace between the allied and associated powers and Bulgaria, and Protocol and Declaration signed at Neuilly-sur-Seine, 27 November 1919".
The allied powers were the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japon, whereas the associated powers were Belgium, China, Cuba, Greece, The Hedjaz, Poland, Portugal, Romania, The Serb-Croat-Slovene State, Siam and Czecho-Slovakia.
The treaty fixed the new frontiers of Bulgaria and prescribed a new organization of the state, which was strongly demilitarized.

In 1981, Mayor Achille Peretti ordered the erection of the statue of Duke d'Orléans in Neuilly. The statue stood formerly of the main square of Algiers and was brought back to France in 1963. During the independence war of Algeria, the statue was often decorated with the flag of the FLN, later adopted as the national flag of Algeria.
In 1983, Peretti was succeeded by a young Mayor, Nicolas Sarkozy. The very same Nicolas Sarkozy is today one of the most ferocious pretenders to the succession of Jacques Chirac as the President of the Republic.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 17 September 2005

Municipal flag of Neuilly-sur-Seine

The municipal flag of Neuilly-sur-Seine is horizontally divided blue-red with the shield of the municipal arms in the middle. It was seen on pictures taken during the Challenge des mairies et des collectivités, a yachting competition organized for the local administrations in Brest in June 2005.

The coat of arms of Neuilly was adopted by the Municipal Council on 19 January 1900, with the following description (municipal website):

De gueules, au pont d'or, accompagné d'un vaisseau d'argent, soutenu d'une mer de même, au chef d'azur chargé de trois fleurs parmentières d'or.

GASO gives a more complicated blason and representation:

De gueules au pont d'or, maçonné de sable, au vaisseau d'argent brochant sur le pont et flottant sur des ondes du même mouvant de la pointe, au chef cousu d'azur chargé de trois fleurs parmentières tigées et feuillées d'or.

Timms gives a third version:

De gueules, au pont de pierre d'or, accompagné d'un vaisseau d'argent, soutenu d'une rivière du même ; au chef d'azur, chargé de trois fleurs parmentières d'or.

Translated as:
Gules a single arched bridge or overall a sailing ship on a champagne argent a chief azure three potato flowers or.

The bridge recalls the famous bridge of Neuilly, the sea is indeed the river Seine and the fleurs parmentières placed instead of fleurs-de-lis in the chief are potato flowers, recalling Parmentier's experimentation in Neuilly - Les Sablons.
The flowers also recall the Latin motto of the city:
praeteritis egregia quotidie florescit, already famous by its past, everyday more flourishing.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 17 September 2005