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Le Tréport (Municipality, Seine-Maritime, France)

Last modified: 2011-11-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: seine-maritime | treport (le) | ship (white) | crescent (yellow) | star (yellow) |
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[Flag of Le Treport]

Municipal flag of Le Tréport - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 18 September 2005

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Presentation of Le Tréport

The municipality of Le Tréport (5,900 inhabitants - Tréportais) is located on the left bank of the river Bresle and on its mouth into the Channel. The Bresle is the historical limit between Normandy and Picardy, therefore Le Tréport is the northernmost port and sea resort in Normandy. The three neighbouring towns of Le Tréport, the sea resort of Mers-les-Bains located in Picardy just across the Bresle, and the historical town of Eu, located on the Bresle a few kilometers upstream, are known as the trois villes sœurs, the three sister town.

In the Gallo-Roman times, a city called Augusta was built on the Bresle; it had two ports, one river port in Augum (Eu) and a sea "outer" port, Ulterior Portus, which became later Le Tréport.
The Northmen landed in Le Tréport around 860. In the 11th century, Robert, Count d'Eu and his wife Béatrix founded in Le Tréport the Saint-Michel's Benedictine abbey on the model of the famous Mont-Saint-Michel abbey. Normandy was then protected by St. Michael on its two maritime borders, in the west against Brittany and in the east against Picardy. The abbey of Le Tréport was very wealthy until the 14th century; then she was often looted during the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of Religion (16th century). After a rebirth in the 17th century, the abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution.

Around 1101, Count Henri I d'Eu diverted the Bresle and the port of Le Tréport silted up. Dieppe replaced it as the most important port of northern Normandy. The town was burnt down by the English in 1339. In 1360, a storm flooded a part of the town, including the church and the cemetary.
In 1460, Charles d'Artois, Count d'Eu ordered the opening of a canal between Le Tréport and Eu; this canal was used for the next two centuries. The English attacked the town in 1513 and again in 1545. Accordingly, François I de Clèves, Count d'Eu, built a big sandstone tower to protect the town. The only remains of this tower are the vaults of the ancient town hall. François de Clèves also increased the port by opening a basin and building wharfs, but the basin was quickly filled up by shingles.

Around 1770, the Duke de Penthièvre ordered to remove the shingles from the port and to build a hunting lock, made in 1776 by engineer Lamblardie. A hunting lock allows the regulation of the water level in the marshy areas used for water fowl hunting.
Short before the Revolution, Le Tréport was, along with Dieppe, the main source of fresh fish and seafood for Paris. Marketable fish is called in French marée, and the swift horse-drawn carriage which brought the marée to Paris early in the morning were known as chasse-marée; their speed became proverbial as train de chasse-marée. The street where they met in Paris was the boulevard Poissonière (lit., female fish merchant), which has kept this name in spite of the suppression of the chasse-marées.
In the middle of the 19th century, King Louis-Philippe increased the port and launched the sea resort of Le Tréport by building there a villa, where he received Queen Victoria in 1843 and 1845. Le Tréport and its region was the king's preferred vacation place. Big hotels were built, such as Hôtel Trianon, which was used as a British military hospital during the First World War and suppressed by the Germans in 1942. The town was liberated on 1 September 1944 after a huge bombing that destroyed most of the sea front; Le Tréport was awarded the War Cross.

The traditional fishers' borough, with its small, high slate-roofed houses with bow windows, is called quartier des cordiers. A cordier is usualy a rope-maker (from corde, rope), but the cordiers cordants in Le Tréport were indeed the poorest fishers who could not buy fishing nets and used long ropes bristled with hooks. Until the 1960s, the inhabitants of those houses rented them to tourists from Paris in summertime and moved down into the basement.
Like many other French fishing ports, Le Tréport has kept seamen's calvaries, which were traditionally saluted by the seamen when they left the port. The 3.63-m high Stone Cross (Croix de Pierre) was erected in 1618 during an epidemic of black plague. It was damaged in 1840 by a big carriage and revamped by King Louis-Philippe, who moved it to a less dangerous place. The cross is decorated with fleurs-de-lis and Louis XIII's monogram based on letter "L". After a tragic wreckage of 12 November 1856, the seamen erected on 20 September 1860 a wooden calvary called Terraces' Calvary (Calvaire des Terrasses); it was replaced by a new calvary on 28 August 1887, which was taken down and hidden during the German occupation and reestablished in 1948. The calvary is floodlit every evening and still used by seamen as a marker. The Seamen's Calvary (Calvaire des Marins), made by Franconville, ironsmith in Eu, in 1846, was then considered as one of the most beautiful on the French coasts.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 18 September 2005

Municipal flag of Le Tréport

The municipal flag of Le Tréport, as photographied there in August 2005, is white with the municipal logotype, available on the municipal website.

The logotype is derived from the municipal coat of arms, D'azur aux deux navires de sable, équipés d'argent, pavillonnés de gueules, voguant sur une mer de sinople mouvant de la pointe, quittant la jetée du port d'argent, maçonnée de sable, sur laquelle un guetteur aussi de sable, tient haut un pavillon de gueules, le tout accompagné au canton senestre du chef d'un croissant contourné d'or adextré d'une étoile du même. (Azure two sailing ships sable with masts sable and sails argent a champagne vert in sinister chief a mullet and a crescent contourned in fess or in sinister base on a jetty of the third masoned a man of the second holding a flag of the fourth).

The logotype has kept the blue sky and the green sea, but only one ship with only one mast; the jetty and the man holding a flag have been removed; the crescent has been mirrored and tilted, as well as the star, which has been moved upwards in relation to the crescent.
Timms believes that the coat of arms of Le Tréport looks more like a painting like a coat of arms. We agree with him, mostly because this coat of arms tells a story, whereas it should remain symbolic or allegoric. From that point of view, the logotype, which no longer tells a story because the perspective has disappeared, is closer to the heraldic tradition than the coat of arms.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 18 September 2005