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Les Mureaux (Municipality, Yvelines, France)

Last modified: 2013-12-29 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Les Mureaux]         [Flag of Les Mureaux]

Flag of Les Mureaux, two versions - Images by Arnaud Leroy and Olivier Touzeau, respectively, 30 September 2006

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Presentation of Les Mureaux

The municipality of Les Mureaux (32,100 inhabitants - Muriotins; 1,119 ha) is located 40 km west of Paris, on the left (southern) bank of the river Seine.
The name of Les Mureaux comes from Lower Latin Mureli, meaning wall (in French, mur or muraille); in ancient French, the name was pronounced Muriaux, and later evolved to Mureaux (first documented in 1138). The Gallo-Roman town of Mureli was both a river port similar to Lutetia (Paris) and a fortified city protecting the bridge over the Seine. In the Middle Ages, Les Mureaux depends on Meulan, the town located across the Seine. Countess Agnès de Montfort built a church and an hospital (maladrerie). The early Capetian kings enjoyed staying in Les Mureaux in their "palace" of Beauséjour and castle of Mâcherus. In the XVIIth century, the local lord built his castle in the middle of the wood of Bécheville. The last lord of Les Mureaux abandoned his privileges on 4 August 1789 and the first meeting of the new Municipal Council took place in a house of the village in 1792. The castle of Bécheville was purchased by Count Pierre Daru (1767-1829), Napoléon's State Minister and Peer of France, in 1811. The writer Stendhal (1783-1842) spent a few months in the castle, which probably inspired him for his famous novel Le Rouge et le Noir. Napoléon Daru, Pierre's son, succeeded his father and rebuilt completely the castle in the Second Empire style.

Until the middle of the XIXth century, Les Mureaux was a small wine-growers' village. In 1843, the arrival of the railway Paris-Rouen started the industrialization and the population doubled. The first "tourists" from Paris discovered the village and yachting on the Seine. The introduction of downy mildew in Europe in the 1870s and harsh weather conditions caused the suppression of the vineyards before the XXth century. In the 1880s a lock and a barrage were built, causing the boost of river transport. The famous Cercle de Voile de Paris built his club-house in Les Mureaux in 1893. Les Mureaux was the place of the yachting competitions for the 1924 Paris Olympic Games.
In 1902, the first aircraft manufacturers set up in Les Mureaux. The Pélabon factory was built in 1912; the Astra CM, powered by a Renault engine, was tried in Les Mureaux. An airfield was built in 1933, with a stretch of smooth waters for hydroplanes; the Lindberghs "landed" there with their famous Lockheed Sirius hydroplane. The town was severely damaged during the Second World War by bombings aiming at the plane factories. In the 1950s, the highway to Paris, already planned in 1941, was opened, facilitating the transport of workers to the factories. The Noratlas plane was launched in 1952. Following the inauguration of the Renault factory in 1954, the village of Les Mureaux morphed into a big town with high-rise estates. Les Mureaux specialized in space technology and industry. The first French artificial satellite was launched in 1965 using a launcher built in Les Mureaux. The first Ariane launcher was also built in Les Mureaux in 1979. From 1992 to 2003, the town was reurbanized and several high-rise estates were demolished.

Les Mureaux is the birth town of the tragic actress Madeleine Roch (1883-1930), specialized in Victor Hugo's characters. In 1914, she was invited to inaugurate the monument dedicated to Victor Hugo in Guernesey by the sculptor Jean Boucher. The very same sculptor made the bust of Madeleine Roch kept in the Comédie Française theater in Paris.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 30 September 2006

Flags of Les Mureaux

There are two reported flags for Les Mureaux. The first flag is white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle, as communicated by the municipal administration. The blazon given on the municipal website is:
D'azur au mur d'enceinte crénelé d'or, maçonné de sable posé sur une onde d'argent mouvant de la pointe. La porte ouverte du champ chargée d'un vol d'argent soutenant une ancre d'or, la verge chargée d'une étoile d'argent, le mur surmonté de trois fruits de mûrier d'argent et d'une feuille d'or rangés en chef (Azure a fortified wall or masoned sable in the open gate on an anchor of the second a pair of wings a champagne wavy in chief three blackberries argent slipped and leaved also of the second - Brian Timms).
There is a double rebus in these arms, with the wall (mur) and the blackberries (mûres), unless they are mulberries (mûres). The wave represents the Seine, whereas the wings and the anchor recalls the industrial history of Les Mureaux.

However, the most commonly seen flag of Les Mureaux, for instance at the town hall, is white with the municipal logotype, whose meaning is given on the municipal website:
Vert comme les nombreux espaces qui agrémentent notre vie, bleu comme le ciel et la Seine, jaune comme la force du soleil et le rayonnement de notre jeunesse.
Green like the several spaces [in French, parks and gardens are called espaces verts] that embelish our city, blue like the sky and the Seine, yellow like the strength of the sun and the radiance of our youth.
The motto Notre ville a du talent means "Our town is talented".

Arnaud Leroy, Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 30 September 2006

International Aile Class

[Flag of IAC]

Flag of IAC - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 September 2010

The International Aile Class (IAC, website) is a yachting association based in Les Mureaux, near Paris. Its goals are the preservation of the heritage of the "Aile" sailboats, the support to the building of new "Aile" and the organization of "Aile" regatta.

Designed by the Finnish architect Iarl Linblöm, the "Aile" bulb-keel was introduced to France in 1936 by YCIF as an alternative to the "Star". The boat was renamed "Aile" as a tribute to the famous seawoman Virginie ériot (1890-1932, nicknamed "Madame de la Mer" by the Indian poet Tagore), whose boats were all named "Aile" (Aile I to Aile VI; Petite Aile I and Petite Aile II; and Ailée II, on board of which she passed away in Arcachon).
Some 70 "Aile" sailed in 1939, of which only 55 survived the Second World War. The "Aile" was rediscovered in the 1990s by "classic" yachtmen.

The Tinkerbell, the first modern "Aile", built by the ACCF shipyard, was inaugurated in 2006. Photos taken during the inauguration of the boat show the flag of the IAC as white with the "Aile" emblem, made of a blue wing (in French, aile) placed over a red ring. The same emblem appears on the sails of the "Aile" boat.

Ivan Sache, 18 September 2010