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Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire (Municipality, Loire-Atlantique, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-15 by ivan sache
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Flag of Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire, current and former versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 27 February 2017, and Arnaud Leroy, 4 September 2002, respectively

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Presentation of Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire

The municipality of Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire (24,726 inhabitants in 2009, therefore the 5th most populous municipality in the department; 1,166 ha, including 180 ha made of islands on the river Loire) is located in the south-eastern outskirts of Nantes, on the southern bank of river Loire.

Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire was originally known as Aignes. At the end of the 12th century, the parish was renamed Saint-Sébastien-d'Aignes for its new patron saint. During the black plagues epidemics that spread all over Europe from the 14th to the 18th century, St. Sébastien of Aignes was invoked against the disease and the village became a popular place of pilgrimage.
The village's name was shortened to Saint-Sébastien in 1790. For the sake of differentiation from other villages of the same name, the Paris Chamber of Commerce (?) required in 1918 the adoption of the present-day's name, which was done in 1919 by the Municipal Council.
[Unofficial website]

On the 29 Pluviôse of the Year III (17 February 1795), François-Athanase Charette de La Contrie, head of the counter-revolutionaries, and Albert Ruelle, the envoy of the National Convention, signed in the manor of La Jaunaye, located in Saint-Sébastien, a treaty expected to end the civil war that had broken out in 1793. The treaty granted to the insurgents amnesty, liberty of cult and exemption from compulsory military service; confiscated goods were to be given back or compensated, and the Republican troops had to withdraw from the rebelled areas. Louis XVII, jailed in the Temple in Paris, should have been immediately released, which did not occur. The child was found dead on 8 June 1795 and the treaty was denounced by both sides, so that the war resumed in summer 1795.
[Municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 14 June 2021

Flag of Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire

The flag of Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire (photo) is white with the municipal logo. Here, the word "sur" ("on") is replaced by "Sud" ("South") to highlight the location of the town on the southern bank of the Loire, in front of Nantes, located on the northern bank.
Beforehand, as communicated in 2002 by the municipal administration, the town used a white flag with the municipal coat of arms, "Gules a bend sinister wavy argent charged with three ermine spots sable and cantonned by a lion or and a sprig of May bells argent slipped and leaved or", in the center.

Adopted on 19 February 1985 by the Municipal Council, the arms feature a wavy stripe representing river Loire, three ermine spots representing Brittany, and May bells.
May bells cultivation was once a main source of income for Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire. The surroundings of Nantes still produce 80%-90% of cultivated may bells sold on Labor Day (1st May). Already offered in the Middle Ages for good luck, May bells had their popularity increased in the early 20th century, when fashion designers offered them to dressmakers on the 1st of May. Labor Day was officially established in France only in 1941.
Around 1900, the very innovative market gardeners of Nantes increased the yield of carrots and melons by growing them in cold frames. To face the increasing demand in May bells, they dedicated part of their frames to this specific production.
[Bretagne Bretons, 1 May 2018]

Olivier Touzeau, Arnaud Leroy & Ivan Sache, 14 June 2021