This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Suresnes (Municipality, Hauts-de-Seine, France)

Last modified: 2024-04-27 by olivier touzeau
Keywords: suresnes | hauts-de-seine |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors


Flag of Suresnes - Image by Ivan Sache, 17 May 2022

See also:

Presentation of Suresnes

The municipality of Suresnes (49,104 inhabitants ; 379 ha) is located 10 km west of the center of Paris.

Suresnes was established on the left bank of the Seine, while the slopes of Mont Valérien were once planted with grapevines. Separating Suresnes from Paris, the Seine could be crossed from Paris only using a ferry, which was already documented on 21 February 1590. The ferry service was composed of boats of different sizes to transport individuals, horse-riders and carts. In 1810, the Préfet complained about the ferry driver, whose permanent drunkenness threatened the safety of the service. Deemed "out of order", the ferry was suppressed in 1891. The hanging bridge already planned in 1829 was inaugurated on 24 April 1842; made of oak wood, the three-arched bridge, of 7 m in width, was burned down in 1870 to slow down the advance of the Prussians towards Paris. The proviso bridge composed of adjacent boats was replaced in 1873 by an iron bridge of 11 m in width, a width that was increased to17,55 m in 1901. The bridge was equipped with lights decorated by the sculptor Frémiet, a student of François Rude. Deemed dangerous, the bridge was replaced by a brand new one in 1950, of 30 m in width.

Navigation on the Seine was once tedious, because of irregular sand beds and seasonal variation in water level. Winter floods and summer drought episodes stopped navigation for weeks. A first lock-barrage was built in 1864-1869 by Baron Haussmann (1809-1891), allowing navigation of much bigger barges between Paris and Rouen; a second lock was built between 1880 and 1895. Following the centennial floods of 1910, regulation of the Seine was increased. A new lock, powered by electricity, was inaugurated in 1933; the greater of the three locks, built in the 1960s, allowed navigation of huge barges.
The port of Suresnes was once the end of the passenger boats that crossed Paris, upstream to Charenton. Scheduled every hour, the steamboats operated by "Hirondelles parisiennes" (1873) and "Compagnie générale des bâteaux parisiens" (1885) could embark 300 passengers, until their suppression in 1933.

In the 18th century, rich landowners from Paris built in Suresnes their "campagnes" (vacation houses), such as the Salomon de Rothschild estate.
In the second half of the 19th century, the inauguration of the railway and the building of the aforementioned locks fostered the industrial development on the bank of the Seine: several industries were relocated from congested Paris to Suresnes, replacing the old "campagnes".
Olibet, France's earlier biscuit manufacturer, originally based in Bordeaux, established a factory in Suresnes in 1879. Employing 400 workers, 80% of them being women, the factory was operated until 1940. Sureness was one of the cradles of emerging aviation industry; Suresnes Levavasseur (1863-1922), Édouard (1876-1911) and Charles (1878-1913) Nieuport (), Louis Blériot (1872-1936), and Henri (1874-1958) and Maurice (1877-1964) Farman designed in the town the first truly reliable French airplanes. Suresnes was the site of the automobile factory of Alexandre Darracq (1855-1931), whose Swiss apprentice Louis Chevrolet (1878-1941) move to America. La Radiotechnique, a pioneer in receiving radio stations, was established in Suresnes in 1921; renamed to Radiola in 1929, it produced radio stations sold on the French market under the Dutch Philips brand.

Suresnes was also a stronghold of perfume industry, initiated in the late 18th century by Jean-Louis Fargeon (1748-1806), perfumer of Queen Marie-Antoinette. More than one century later, Lejeune produced perfumes for export. Hugues Guerlain (not related to the most famous perfumer of the same name) created the Salomé brand and the famous "Mon Homme", the preferred perfume of the singer Mistinguett (1875-1956). In 1921, Maurice Blanchet (1890-1953), took over Salomé and merged it with its own Coryse to form Coryse-Salomé. The next year, the fashion designer Jean-Philippe Worth (1856-1926), son of Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895), the famous fashion designer under the Second Empire, commissioned Blanchet and the glass designer René Lalique (1860-1945) to invent a perfume to be offered to his prestigious customers. In 1924 "Dans la nuit" (In the night) was sold in a night blue flask decorated with stars. The next year, "Vers le jour" (At daybreak) was presented in an amber flask decorated with chevrons at the Salon des Arts Décoratifs. Blanchet and Lalique kept their partnership with Jacques Worth (1882-1941), Jean-Philippe's nephew, creating in 1929 "Sans adieu" (Without farewell), sold in a green flasks, and, in 1932, "Je reviens" (I am coming back), its flag perfume sold in a big cylindrical flask made of blue glass. Sold all over the world, the Worth perfumes re-emerged after the Second World War; Marc Lalique (1900-1977), René's son, created in 1945 an elegant flask for "Requête" (Request). In 1969, while "Dans la nuit" and "Je reviens" were still marketed, Blanchet created "Monsieur Worth", followed in 1981 by "Worth pour homme". Blanchet acquired Worth in 1981 and was eventually acquired by a group of shareholders in 1986. Worth and Coryse Salomé were acquired by Lamotte in 1988.
The Corsican perfumer François Coty (1874-1934) established his laboratories and factories in Suresnes in 1909 as the Cité des Parfums. A very innovative creator, Coty invented the concept of "personalized perfumes", hiring René Lalique to design the flasks and the art printer Draeger for the packaging. Coty created "Rose Jacqueminot" in 1904, "Origan" in 1905, and a brand new composition, "Chypre", in 1917. in 1915, he increased his factory to an area of 50,000 m2, employing 4,000 workers. He established a box factory in Puteaux, a cardboard factory in Neuilly and a glass factory in Pantin. After his death, the company stayed in Suresnes until the 1960s.
René Duval (1887-1936), a former manager of Coty, established his own business in 1919, as Volnay. The factory was relocated to Normandy in 1993. The American company Richard Hudnut settled in Suresnes in 1920 to produce perfumes for the American market. Flasks were designed by Julien Viard (1883-1938) while packaging was ordered at Sorys, a company owned by René Duval. All perfumes had a French name, such as "Fleurs à vous" (Flowers for you), "Deauville" and "Rêverie" (Daydream). The company was repatriated to the Unites States in the 1950s.

The industrial boost of Suresnes caused a dramatic increase in the population. Henri Sellier (1883-1943), Socialist Mayor of the town from 1919 to 1941 and Minister of Public Health and Housing in 1936, ordered in 1915 the design of a garden-city, aimed at housing 8,000 to 10,000 inhabitants, on the English and American models. Started in 1921, the building of the city was completed in 1956, having then 3,297 dwellings, 170 houses included. Sellier applied hygienist principles, supplying houses and flats equipped with modern comfort for blue and white collars. To prevent the spread of infectious diseases, the city was surveyed by "visiting nurses" while medical visits were organized on a regular basis in all schools.Stil inhabited by 8,000, the garden-city was completely rehabilitated from 1986 to 1995.
In the 1920s, Sellier established an open-air school accommodating 100 children in June and July. In the early 1930s, the municipality of Suresnes acquired a plot on the slope of Mont-Valérien and commissioned departmental architects Eugène Beaudouin (1898-1983) and Marcel Lods (1891-1978) to design a permanent open-air school. Inaugurated in November 1935, the school catered 211 children with poor health, who were picked up every day in the different borough of the town by an bus service. After the Second World War, the school also welcomed disabled children until its closure in 1995. [source: Municipal website]


Mont Valérien (162 m) was first settled in 1556 by Guillemette Faussart, who built there an hermitage dedicated to the Saint Savior. The three big crosses erected near the chapel yielded the place the nickname of Calvary, an name used for the next two centuries. At the end of the 16th century, Friar Jean de Houssay established there a community of temporary hermits, who were often visited by celebrities, such as Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).
The Mont Valérien pilgrimage was initiated in 1634 by Hubert Charpentier (1561-1650), a famous theologian and preacher of the time, who obtained from the archbishop of Paris and the king permission to erect a church dedicated to the True Cross atop the hill; the building was managed by the newly founded Congregation of the Calvary Priests. A road was built upon request of the Queen Mother in 1643, supplemented by a monumental stairway build around 1685. The Way of the Cross was composed of chapels funded by prominent members of the court, such as the Pricness of Condé, the Duchess of Güise and the Duke of Liancourt. Suppressed during the Revolution, the sanctuary was re-established in 1801 by Trappist fathers. In 1811, the abbot of La Trappe, opposed to Napoleon's divorce, retracted his oath of fidelity; as a retaliation, the emperor expelled the monks and the monastery was partially destroyed.The pilgrimage was revived during the Restoration. Charles X, barefoot, climbed to the Calvary, followed by his court. The Monarchy of July definitively ended the pilgrimage and the Calvary was demolished.
Erected from 1840 to 1846, the Mont Valérien fort was the most important of the 13 ones aimed at protecting Paris. It was equipped with the "Valérie", the biggest cannon involved in the defense of the capital. The cannon could shoot up to 9 km cannonballs of more than 100 kg in weight. During the Commune insurrection, the Mont Valérien fort was the only one to remain faithful to the government.
The fort was sometimes used as a military prison. During the Dreyfus Affair, Lieutenants Colonels Picquart (1854-1914) and Henry (1846-1898) were jailed there; convinced to have forged the document that accused Dreyfus, Henry committed suicide in his cell.
During the Second World War, the Mont Valérien fort was one of the main site of execution of members of the anti-German resistance. On 18 June 1960, General de Gaulle inaugurated the memorial of the resistance, topped by a Cross of Lorraine of 12 m in height. The crypt of the Memorial of Fighting France keeps the tombs of the 17 Morts pour la France, Berty Albrecht (1893-1943), Allal Ould M'Hamed Ben Semers (1920-1944), Raymond Anne (1922-1944), Henri Arnaud (1907-1944), Boutie Diasso Kal (1919-1940), Georges Brière (1922-1944), Jean Charrier (1920-1944), Maurice Debout (1914-1944), Maurice Duport (1919-1944), Edmond Grethen (1898-1945), Hedhili Ben Salem Ben Hadj Mohamed (1913-1940), Renée Lévy (1906-1943), Maboulkede (1921-1944), Antoine Mourgues (1919-1943), Alfred Touny (1886-1944), Pierre Ulmer (1916-1940), and Hubert Germain (1920-2021).
The central vault, assigned to the last Compagnon de la Libération, remained empty until the death of Hubert Germain.
On 20 September 2003, a bronze monument shaped like a bell, designed by Pascal Convert, was inaugurated to honor those shot in the fort. The monument, located in front of the chapel where the prisoners where locked before being executed in a clearing, is engraved with the names of 1,008 people shot. It took five years to a specialized commission to establish this list. [source: Official website]

Ivan Sache, 17 May 2022

Flag of Neuilly-sur-Seine

The flag of Suresnes is vertically divided blue-red: photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo.

The colors of the flag are taken from the municipal arms, "Azure a cross gules cantonned by four fleurs-de-lis or inescutcheon octagonal argent the letters "S and "L" intertwined sable."

Ivan Sache, 17 May 2022