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Langres (Municipality, Haute-Marne, France)

Last modified: 2013-11-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: haute-marne | langres | fleurs-de-lis: 24 (yellow) | fleurs-de-lis: 4 (yellow) | cross: saltire (red) |
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[Flag of Langres]

Flag of Langres - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 5 March 2010

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Presentation of Langres

The municipality of Langres (8,761 inhabitants in 2006; 2,233 ha) is located on the Plateau of Langres, where the rivers Seine, Aube and Marne (and many others of lesser fame) take their source.

Langres emerged in the history as a Celtic oppidum (fortified camp) built on a spur situated 500 m above the valleys of Marne and Bonnelle. Once the capital of the Lingones tribe, as Andemantunnum, the town played a key role after the conquest of Gaul by the Romans, controlling a big territory and being located on the crossroads of important ways. The monumental arch then forming the western gate of the town has been reused in the subsequent fortifications of the town. In the 4th century, the northern side of the town was fortified; Langres became the seat of a powerful bishopric, its first known bishop being St. Didier. Under the Ancient Regime, the Bishop of Langres bore the title of Duke of Langres and was the third (by rank of precedence) of the six ecclesiastic peers of the Kingdom; during the coronation ceremonies he had the privilege to carry the scepter to be given to the new king. The St. Mammes cathedral of Langres, built in 1150-1200, with a neo-classical facade added in 1768, is the last of the Romanesque churches built in the region on the model of the Cluny abbey church.

In the 13-14th centuries, the town grew southwards and the fortifications were increased accordingly. Then a border town, Langres became a Royal citadel watching Lorraine, Burgundy and Franche-Comté. Cardinal of Givry, bishop of Langres from 1529 to 1561, developed the town, which has kept several Renaissance monuments form the time. In the 17th century, the occupation of Lorraine and the incorporation of Franche-Comté to the Kingdom of France caused the decline of the town, deemed no longer strategic. The decline of Langres was increased in 1731 by the creation of the Bishopric of Dijon, which removed more than hundred parishes from the Bishopric of Langres. Bishop Sébastien Zamet reacted by inviting several congregations to built convents in the town. Suppressed in 1801, the Bishopric of Langres was reestablished in 1817 by the Holy See and confirmed by Royal Decree in 1822, with a new bishop appointed in 1824. The Bishopric of Langres is made today of 31 parishes, grouped in three Zones and ten Decanates. While the official seat of the bishopric is still Langres, the bishop's residence has been transferred to the bigger town of Chaumont.

In 1840, Langres was made a first-class fortified town and a main element of the defense system of Eastern France. A new citadel was built south of the town, the town wall revamped (with seven gates and twelve towers), and forts and outposts were built up to 15 km around the town. All along its history, the town was sometimes besieged but never seized.

Langres is the birth town of the philosoph of the Enlightenment Denis Diderot (1713-1784). The son of a cutler - the Langres cutlery was highly prized -, Diderot left Langres at the age of 15. A prolific writer, Diderot is mostly known as the chief editor of the Encyclopédie. He is recalled in Langres by a bronze statue made in 1884 by Auguste Bartholdi to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the writer's death and by a few personal objects showed in the Municipal Museum of Art and History.
Langres is the birth town of Jeanne Mance (1606-1673), the co-founder of the town of Montreal (Quebec, Canada). At the end of the Thirty Years' War, Jeanne answered the Jesuites' call and left in 1640 France for America. The first nurse in New France and the founder of the Hôtel-Dieu in Ville-Marie (later Montreal), she also served as the personal assistant of Governor Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve. Jeanne Mance is one of the icons of the American feminist movement.

Langres has given its name to a soft cow's milk cheese, protected by an Apellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) since 1991. The Langres cheese is the rival of the more famous Époisses, although (slightly) less pungent.

Source: Langres tourism website

Ivan Sache, 5 March 2010

Flag of Langres

The flag of Langres (photo) is blue with a red saltire and six yellow fleurs-de-lis in each quarter.
The flag is a quasi-banner of the municipal arms, D'azur semé de fleurs-de-lis d'or au sautoir brochant de gueules ("Azure semy of fleurs-de-lis or a saltire gules overall"). The arms bear a semy of fleurs-de-lis, whose number has been reduced to six per quarter on the flag, probably to avoid "cutting" some of the flowers.

The municipal arms of Langres are presented on a leaflet edited by the Langres tourism bureau. They appeared on the seal of St. Herulphe, 32nd Bishop of Langres from 755 to 774, but with only one fleur-de-lis in each quarter. In the 13-14th centuries, more fleurs-de-lis were added to the arms - but the Navarre Tower, dated from the 16th century, is decorated with a blason showing the old fleur-de-lis pattern. The semy of fleurs-de-lis recalls that the Bishop of Langres was Peer of France.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 5 March 2010

Banners of Langres

[Banner of Langres]         [Banner of Langres]

Banners of Langres - Images by Ivan Sache, 5 March 2010

A vertical banner, white with the "simplified" coat of arms - with only one fleur-de-lis in each canton. was seen in May 2005 (photo).
A vertical banner, vertically divided blue-red, was seen in July 2006 (photo).

Pascal Vagnat, 5 March 2010