Tour de France 2019

The Heraldry of France
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Chris Green
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 09 Jul 2019, 17:53

I'd guess that it actually alludes to the town's founder. The salamander in flames was Francis I's personal device.


Quite right! The re-founding of the town was probably a subsidiary reason.

https://hemmahoshilde.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/francis-i-with-his-salamander/
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 10 Jul 2019, 07:15

Today (Wednesday) the Tour starts from the town of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, which, as the name reveals, is situated in the Vosges mountains of North-East France. As the arms reveal, the town is also in Lorraine. The town was pretty much flattened during the fierce fighting in the area in November 1944.

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I am no great lover of the use of the alphabet in heraldry. But this is at least an innovative way of doing it.

The route leaves Lorraine and enters Alsace, whose arms have an unusual bend cotised. I have yet to find a blazon (which has to explain both the cotise and the unusual positioning of the crowns).

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The destination is Colmar, which considers itself to be capital of the Alsatian wine region. The arms feature a mace, though it seems most often to be emblazoned as a cross between a mace and a morning star/morgenstern.

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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Arthur Radburn » 10 Jul 2019, 13:03

Chris Green wrote:The route leaves Lorraine and enters Alsace, whose arms have an unusual bend cotised. I have yet to find a blazon (which has to explain both the cotise and the unusual positioning of the crowns).

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Apparently these arms are a combination of the arms of Bas-Rhin (the bend cotised fleury) and Haut-Rhin (the coronets). French blazons of the original Alsatian arms describe the coronets as being in orle, those in chief pointing to chief and those in base pointing to base.
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 11 Jul 2019, 08:09

Thursday's stage starts at Mulhouse (Mühlhausen in German). The city was a free city of the Empire from 1354 to 1515 and thereafter a free city in association with the Swiss confederation until swallowed up by revolutionary France in 1798. Not surprisingly its arms are canting:

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The route then wanders westwards through Alsace, passing through Masevaux-Niederbruck, a recent conflation of Masevaux whose arms bear a "ville fortifiée" (a walled town), which doesn't seem to be the case:

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and Niederbruck:

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The new commune doesn't seem to have assumed arms as yet.

The destination is La Planche des Belles Filles, a ski-resort in the middle of nowhere. The name is a modern misunderstanding of the old name of "un lieu peuplé de belles fahys (beech trees)". The nearby village of Plancher-les-Mines has arms that according to the french blazon are tiercé en pairle. But since the two lower thirds are both argent the blazon only works if there is a line of division. The unusual charge bottom left is a "nénuphar" (water-lily pad).

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Iain Boyd
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Iain Boyd » 11 Jul 2019, 23:25

RE - Masevaux - whose arms bear a "ville fortifiée" (a walled town), which doesn't seem to be the case:

Not true!

The image shows a church at the back with houses in front all surrounded with a fortified wall - quite clearly a 'fortified town'!
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Iain Boyd » 11 Jul 2019, 23:32

Re the arms of Colmar -

I read many years ago that the charge is a comet (which many representations suggest possibly may be correct). Thus, the mace may be a misinterpretation.

Unfortunately, I can not find anything to corroborate my (failing?) memory.

It just occurred to me, that a comet could refer to the birth of the Christ child and could be appropriate if the original/principal church in Colmar was dedicated in some way to his birth.

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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 12 Jul 2019, 06:30

Iain Boyd wrote:Re the arms of Colmar -

I read many years ago that the charge is a comet (which many representations suggest possibly may be correct). Thus, the mace may be a misinterpretation. ... a comet could refer to the birth of the Christ child and could be appropriate if the original/principal church in Colmar was dedicated in some way to his birth.


Heraldic comets do indeed consist of a star-like head with a tail, so the "mace is really a comet" theory certainly has merit:

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Unfortunately for your theory Ian, the principal church in Colmar is dedicated to St Martin of Tours, perhaps best known for sharing his cloak with a beggar.
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 12 Jul 2019, 07:38

Today (Friday) the riders start from Belfort whose city arms predictably feature a tower, in this case with the letters BF to distinguish it from all the other civic arms with towers and castles. The terrace/base contains the Légion d'Honneur. I have yet to be able to confirm that this was awarded for the city's long resistance to the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71, though this does seem likely.

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The Territoire de Belfort is a now a Département and has different arms:

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Humiliatingly defeated in the Franco-Prussian War, the French attempted to salvage their military honour by clinging to the memory of their few successes. Belfort's defence, led by Colonel Pierre Philippe Denfert-Rochereau, commanding 3,500 soldiers and 10,000 or so volunteers, resisted a 103 day siege by 40,000 men of the German (Baden) XIV Corps under General Graf von Werder. So successful was the defence that it ended only following a direct order from Paris, several days after France had capitulated. While the rest of Alsace became German, the area around Belfort was allowed to remain French, which enabled the French Government of National Defence to claim that France was still able to negotiate diplomatically though defeated militarily.

From Belfort the route takes a south-westerly line, parallel to the Swiss border and the Jura mountains, eventually coming to Chalon-sur-Saone, birthplace of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833), father of photography and inventor of the first internal combustion engine.

The arms of the city are classic:

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though sometimes rendered with a terrace/base containing the Légion d'Honneur awarded by Napoleon in honour of the city's resistance to an Austrian army in 1814:

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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Arthur Radburn » 12 Jul 2019, 10:11

Chris Green wrote:Today (Friday) the riders start from Belfort whose city arms predictably feature a tower, in this case with the letters BF to distinguish it from all the other civic arms with towers and castles. The terrace/base contains the Légion d'Honneur. I have yet to be able to confirm that this was awarded for the city's long resistance to the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71, though this does seem likely.

Confirmed by this Wikipedia article -- conferred by President Faure in 1896.
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 13 Jul 2019, 07:03

Saturday's start is at Mâcon. The city's arms bear a striking resemblance to those of Chalons, just 60km North.

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Proceeding generally southwards, the route turns to the East at St Laurent-de-Chamousset, whose arms, like those of Saint Dié, feature letters of the alphabet linked by a cord.

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The riders then do a loop, returning to their southward trajectory towards the finish at Saint-Étienne. Saint Étienne is of course Saint Stephen (you knew that!) and the palm fronds and crosses whose arms end in small stones (really?) are supposed to refer to his martyrdom. I have a suspicion that the artist has used a rather English-looking crown.

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