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Villeneuve-le-Roi (Municipality, Val-de-Marne, France)

Last modified: 2016-02-14 by ivan sache
Keywords: villeneuve-le-roi |
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Flag of Villeneuve-le-Roi - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 20 August 2015

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Presentation of Villeneuve-le-Roi

The municipality of Villeneuve-le-Roi (18,723 inhabitants in 2014; 843 ha; municipal website) is located 15 km south-east of Paris. The municipal territory is bordered in the west by the Orly airport and in the east by river Seine.

Villeneuve-le-Roi was already settled in the Neolithic, as evidenced by the Pierre-Fitte menhir, described in 1860 by the parish priest and now standing in the park of the Town Hall. Remains of a Gaul settlement were found in 1960. The first organized settlement, Villa Nova (New Estate) was established in the 12th century by monks from the St. Victor abbey in Paris, who cleared the forest and planted grapevine; in 1248, King Louis IX (St. Louis) released the local farmers from serfdom. The first known owner of Villeneuve is Jean d'Ays, who was granted the place by Philip IV the Fair (1285-1314). Subsequently owned by the Carthusian Order, the village was acquired in 1596 by Matthieu Marcel, first lord of Villeneuve.
In the 17th century, Guillaume du Vair (1556-1621), President of the Parliament of Provence (1596-1616) and Keeper of the Seals (1616-1621), initiated the building of a castle; in 1686, he sold the domain to Claude Le Peletier (1631-1711), Provost of Paris (1668-1676), Controller-General of Finances and State Minister of Louis XIV (1683-1689, succeeding the most famous Colbert) and Superintendent of Post (1691-1697). Le Peletier completed the building of the castle, where he would die; his lineage ruled Villeneuve until 1734. King Louis XV purchased in 1778 the domain from its new owner, Alexandre de Ségur, to increase the hunting domain of Choisy-le-Roi and set up there a pheasantry, enclosed by stones taken from Le Peletier's castle. Louis XVI enjoyed hunting in Villeneuve, as reported in his diary (1775-1791).

Urbanization started at the end of the 19th century with the sale by lots of the former pheasantry park (102 ha) in 1898. After the First World War, the building of the Orly airfield significantly decreased the municipal territory of Villeneuve. The big rural estates were succeeded after the Second World War by industries, such as Morillon-Corvol and Chantiers de la Haute-Seine, two companies involved in sand extraction and transportation, today part of group Cemex and still based in Villeneuve.
Villeneuve-le-Roi morphed in the 1960s in a residential suburbs with little blocks, which yielded to the town the nickname of 6000 Gardens' Town.

Ivan Sache, 20 August 2015

Flag of Villeneuve-le-Roi

The flag of Villeneuve-le-Roi, hoisted in the park of the Town Hall, is white with the municipal arms, surmounted by the name of the town written in Gothic letters.

The arms of Villeneuve-le-Roi are "Azure semy of fleurs-de-lis or a chief gules three bunches of grapes or. The shield surmounted by a three-towered mural crown or. The shield supported by two unicorns standing on a stone entablement with branches of oak or."
The fleurs-de-lis refer to the name of the town (-le-Roi, the King's). The grapes recall the former vineyards. The branches of oak recall the forest that once covered the area. The unicorns are the supporters of the arms of Claude Le Peletier, the most famous lord of the town.
The design of the arms is credited to Robert Louis, 1952. The entablement is inscribed with the Latin translation of the name of the town, "VILLA NOVA REGIS". [Municipal website]

Olivier Touzeau, 20 August 2015

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