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Le Crotoy (Municipality, Somme, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-27 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Le Crotoy

The municipality of Le Crotoy (2,002 inhabitants in 2018; 1,632 ha) is located on the northern end of the Bay of the Somme.

Le Crotoy was the port of embarkment of Isabella of France, queen consort of England, and her son (later Edward III of England) to Holland and then England in 1326, in order to overthrow their husband and father, Edward II. During the Hundred Years' War the town was alternately under English and French control. Edward III built there in 1340 a very important fortress. In 1372 an English army led by Robert Knolles invaded Ponthieu, burning the town of Le Crotoy before crossing the Somme at the ford of Blanchetaque. Besieged by the English, Le Crotoy, the last French position in the Bay of the Somme, surrendered on 1 March 1424. After the Battle of Verneuil, John II, Duke of Alençon was interned there for three years. Joan of Arc was imprisoned there before being taken to Rouen for trial. Le Crotoy was the place of residence of a governor and a garrison. The most famous governor, James of Harcourt, defended Le Crotoy against the Anglo-Burgundian armies.
During the wars of religion, Le Crotoy took the side of Henry of Navarre. By an edict of 1594, Henry IV relieved the inhabitants of the town from taxes. The castle of Le Crotoy was eventually destroyed in 1674, as prescribed in the Treaty of Aachen,

In the beginning of the 20th century, Le Crotoy was the site of the Caudron brothers flying school.
The perfumer Guerlain created, in regard of the special shades of blue, purple, and violet colors that cover bay in twilight, a well-known perfume, "L'Heure Bleue". Several painters such as Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Signac, as well as the novelist Colette, stayed in Le Crotoy.

<Olivier Touzeau, 2 January 2021

Former flag of Le Crotoy


Former flag of Le Crotoy - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 2 January 2021

Le Crotoy once used a square flag with the municipal logo (photo, 2013), which was composed of the municipal arms, "Azure three bends argent a bordure gules", the shield surmounted by a mural crown or and supported by fructed branches of oak ans laurels. The shield is surrounded by the words "Le Crotoy" (top) and "Port de pĂȘche" (fishing port, bottom) in black Stencul font.
In 2014, the arms were corrected to "Azure three bends or a bordure gules" to match the arms of the Counts of Ponthieu, while "Port de pĂȘche" was substituted by "Baie de Somme" (Bay of the Somme).

Olivier Touzeau, 2 January 2021

Club Nautique de la Baie de Somme


Burgee of CNBS - Image by Ivan Sache, 23 December 2003

Club Nautique de la Baie de Somme (CNBS), based in Le Crotoy, has a burgee (image) horizontally divided blue-white-blue with the red letters "CNBS" in the white stripe.

Ivan Sache, 23 December 2003

Transbaie pedestrian race

[Flag]     [Flag]

Signal flags used in the Transbaie race - Images by Ivan Sache, 14 July 2005

Transbaie (website), a pedestrian race crossing the Bay of the Somme, was created in the late 1980s by Denis Courtois. In 1987, Courtois quitted smoking and started jogging; on 14 May 1989, the first Transbaie was run.
The race starts with a few kilometers on the quays of the port of Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. The real fun consists in crossing the Bay of the Somme at low tide, through sand beads, mud flats and low-depth channels, until reaching the beach of, on the other side of the Bay, and running back to Saint-Valery before rising tide. The approximate distance is 15-16 km, but the route, decided just before the start, changes every year andis . The Bay is watched by helicopter and kayak in order to find a safe route for the 5,000-6,000 competitors.
The route through the Bay is marked with two kinds of flags, described as follows in the official rules of the race:

Appendix 1. Marking in the Bay is made of:
- in straight line, of bright colored ranging-poles planted c. every 100 m
- in curves and places with low visibility, of bright colored ranging-poles planted c. every 30 m
- on fords, of poles with red and white strips marking a safe lane.

There are indeed two kinds of "bright colored ranging poles", smaller ones with a yellow triangular flag and taller ones with rectangular vertical blue flags.
The places with "low visibility" are the crossings of crevasses made in the silt by the arms of the Somme; these crevasses can be up to 1 m in depth and length and are expected to be dry at the time of the race. After having crossed by several hundred of competitors, the crevasses turn into a sticky field of silt, and shoes must have been strongly tied up. Note that this is silt and not mud, so it is not so dirty, in spite of a very strong organic flavour.
The fords are the crossings of the "alive" arms of the Somme, where competitors might be in water up to their waist (the deepest fords are watched by the firefighters and there is an helicopter of the Army with medical equipment and doctors on board watching the race). This is fresh water, very useful to get rid of the silt accumulated during the crossing of the crevasses. Silt is made of extremely thin particles and the washing effect of fresh water is striking.

Ivan Sache, 14 July 2005