Tour de France 2016

The Heraldry of France
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Chris Green
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Tour de France 2016

Postby Chris Green » 02 Jul 2016, 09:26

The 2016 Tour de France starts today, as does the IAAH heraldic Tour de France.

This year the grand départ is in France (it is often abroad), to be accurate, off the coast of France on Mont-St-Michel, arguably the most stunningly photogenic commune in all of France.

Mont-St-Michel's arms, perhaps surprisingly, do not feature either a mount or a fortified town surrounded by water:

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Blazon: English: azure two bars wavy vert, overall two salmons argent in bend sinister placed palewise, the upper one facing sinister
Français : d'azur aux deux fasces ondées de sinople et brochant sur le tout, à deux saumons d'argent posés en barre, rangés en pal, celui du chef contourné.


Mont-St-Michel is in the Département of Manche, whose arms reflect the area's Norman past:

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Blazon: English: per pale azure and gules, overall two lions passant guardant or, armed and langued azure
Français : parti ondé d’azur et de gueules aux deux léopards d’or, armés et lampassés d’azur, brochant sur la partition


The route takes the cyclists along the Cotentin coast towards the D-Day beaches via Sainte-Mere-Église, where the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions landed on 6 June 1944 (we can readily forgive the somewhat kitsch parachutes):

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Blazon: Français : D'azur à l'église d'argent, couverte d'or et surmontée de deux parachutes aussi d'argent soutenant chacun une étoile du même, l'église chargée des lettres A et M capitales de sable, à la champagne cousue de gueules chargée d'un léopard aussi d'or.


The finishing line is at Sainte-Marie-Du-Mont, site of Utah Beach:

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Blazon: Azure, in pale a drakkar and sword argent (the sail charged with a leopard gules), between 2 gussets Or each charged with a fleur de lys gules.
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Re: Tour de France 2016

Postby JMcMillan » 02 Jul 2016, 14:27

Chris Green wrote:The 2016 Tour de France starts today, as does the IAAH heraldic Tour de France.

[snip]

The route takes the cyclists along the Cotentin coast towards the D-Day beaches via Sainte-Mere-Église, where the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions landed on 6 June 1944 (we can readily forgive the somewhat kitsch parachutes):


Both divisions landed in the vicinity and were involved in liberating the town, but it was specifically the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, a unit of the 82d, that landed in Ste-Mere-Église proper. Here are the arms of the 505th:

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The motto "H-minus" refers to the convention by which the hour at which a military operation is to begin is designated "H-hour." Time after H-hour is identified as "H+1," "H+2," and so on. "H-minus" proclaims that the regiment goes into action before H-hour.

(I hope the moderators will excuse the slight detour in the route of the tour; if not please move to the appropriate thread.)
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Re: Tour de France 2016

Postby Chris Green » 02 Jul 2016, 14:55

Joseph: As the sole originator of the cycle tour threads, as well as being the moderator, I accept any heraldic-related item that has to do with the event in question. Thus I try to provide at least a couple of illustrations of arms that relate to the day's route. They may be cities, towns, regions, historical people associated with the area, or, as in this case, historical events. The 505th certainly meet the criteria. It would be interesting to have the blazon. And what is the crest?
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Re: Tour de France 2016

Postby JMcMillan » 02 Jul 2016, 16:22

The following regarding the 505th PIR coat of arms from the Institute of Heraldry website:
Shield - Argent, four bendlets Azure surmounted by a winged Black panther salient inverted Proper, that part on the bendlets fimbriated of the first.
Crest - From a wreath Argent and Azure, a winged arrowhead point down Gules, in front of a cloud Proper.
Motto - H-MINUS.

Symbolism
Shield - Blue and white are used for Infantry. The black panther symbolizes stealth, speed and courage, all characteristics of a good parachutist. The wings are added to represent entry into combat via air, and the bendlets symbolize the unit's parachute drops into combat.
Crest - The winged red arrowhead is used to represent the regiment's first combat attack in Sicily during World War II.

Background
The coat of arms was originally approved for the 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment on 24 January 1952. It was redesignated for the 505th Infantry Regiment on 20 May 1958.


So this is not the coat of arms as it existed at the time of the Normandy invasion. According to a regimental history website, the arms as designed by the men of the regiment was the following, but the Heraldic Services Branch (predecessor of the Institute of Heraldry) insisted on modifications. It's not clear whether this simple depiction of a panther was adopted during or after the war.

Image
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Re: Tour de France 2016

Postby JMcMillan » 02 Jul 2016, 16:25

Also, the first depiction is of the "distinctive unit insignia," in this case the coat of arms as it can be reproduced in metal and enamel about one inch (2.54 cm) high. This is a reproduction of a regimental color:

Image
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Re: Tour de France 2016

Postby Chris Green » 03 Jul 2016, 08:14

Today (Sunday) the Tour starts from Saint-Lo (o with a circumflex), which was pretty much flattened during fierce fighting in June/July 1944, and in 1948 was awarded both the Légion d'Honneur and the Croix de Guerre (the former depending from the arms below):

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The race then passes through Coutances:

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Blazon: English: Azure, in fess three columns argent, and on a chief gules, a leopard Or armed and langued azure.
Francais: D'azur à trois colonnes d'argent rangées en fasce, au chef de gueules portant un léopard d'or.


Why three Ionic columns I have no idea. Coutances Cathedral is gothic.

The finish is At Cherbourg-en-Cotentin (a very recent amalgamation of several communes including Cherbourg-Octeville, itself an amalagamation as recent as 2000, and whose arms are shown below):

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Blazon: English: Azure, on a fess argent, charged of three mullets of six points sable, accompanied of three bezants (Or), two in chief, one in point. Francais: d'azur à la fasce d'argent chargée de trois étoiles de six rais de sable, accompagnée de trois besants d'or.

Wiki has a long explanation of the arms, together with an image of the former arms of Octeville and a reference to the logo "mouette musicale" of the city:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherbourg-Octeville

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The logo designer had obviously never heard a seagull.
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Re: Tour de France 2016

Postby Chris Green » 04 Jul 2016, 07:25

Monday's stage takes the Tour from Granville on the coast to Angers in the Département of Maine-et-Loire and former capital of the province of Anjou.

Granville's arms are:

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The blazon in French is:

Français : D'azur au dextrochère d'or mouvant du flanc d'une nuée du même, lequel tient une épée d'argent, garnie aussi d'or, surmontée d'un soleil rayonnant du même.


Would anyone care to try the English version?

The arms of Angers are:

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Blazon: English: gules a key argent in pale, on a chief azure two fleur-de-lis or
Français : de gueules à la clef en pal d'argent, au chef d'azur chargé de deux fleurs de lys d'or


The arms of Anjou are:

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Anjou was the birthplace of Henry "Curtmantle", son of Count Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda (daughter of King Henry I of England) who became King Henry II of England, the first of the Angevin (the adjective derived from Anjou) or Plantagenet line.
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Re: Tour de France 2016

Postby Chris Green » 05 Jul 2016, 07:08

Tuesday's stage departs from Saumur in the Département of Maine-et-Loire. The city's arms which from 1699 looked like this:

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Blazon: English: per fess azure three fleurs de lis or and gules a capital letter S or overall a fess embattled argent masoned sable
Français : coupé d'azur et de gueules, à une fasce d'argent maçonnée de sable et crénelée de deux créneaux du même, brochant sur la partition, accompagnée en chef de trois fleurs de lys d'or rangées, et en pointe de la lettre S, aussi d'or.


were up-dated or "improved" in 1986 to look like this (perhaps to bring the arms in line with the tedious convention that cities of a certain prominence should have arms with a chief azure with two or three fleurs-de-lis):

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Blazon: English: gules a fess embattled counter-embattled argent masoned sable between three fleur-de-lis or on a chief azure and a letter S or in base. Français : de gueules à une fasce d'argent maçonnée de sable, haussée, bretessée et contre-bretessée, accompagnée en pointe d'une lettre S d'or ; au chef cousu d'azur chargé de trois fleurs de lys aussi d'or


The finish line is in Limoges in the Département of Haute-Vienne. The arms of the city depict a bust of St Martial, who evangelised the area around AD250. The need to identify the saint by adding the letters S and M will be queried by those who find the use of letters of the alphabet in heraldry unwelcome. The use of the azure chief with two or three fleurs-de-lis, supposedly to indicate the importance of the city, is irritatingly repetitive.

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Blazon: English: Gules a bust of Saint Martial proper clothed and nimbed or between the antique letters S and M of the same, on a chief azure three fleurs de lis or. Français : De gueules, au chef de Saint Martial de carnation, orné à l'antique d'or, ombré de sable, entre deux lettres gothiques d'or S et M; au chef d'azur, chargé de trois fleurs de lis d'or.


The arms of Haute-Vienne come as something of a relief:

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Blazon: English: Ermine a Bordure Gules overall a Fess undy Azure. Français : D’hermine à la bordure de gueules, à la fasce ondée d’azur brochant sur le tout.
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Re: Tour de France 2016

Postby Chris Green » 06 Jul 2016, 06:29

Wednesday's stage departs from Limoges (see yesterday's post) and travels south-east to Le Lioran, a mountain resort in the Massif Central. On the way the cyclists pass through the commune of Eymoutiers, whose arms I include to disprove the idea that may have been forming in some minds that French civic arms always seem to feature azure and gules plus fleur-de-lis and/or letters of the alphabet:

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Blazon: English: Vert two bendlets Or. Français : De sinople aux deux bandes d’or.


Le Lioran is in the newly created region of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, which dating only from the beginning of 2016 has no arms as yet. (These new regions will give French heraldry a field-day!) The arms of the historic area were:

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Blazon: English: Or a Gonfanon Gules fringed Vert. Francais: D’or au gonfanon de gueules frangé de sinople.


France has a hierarchy of administrative areas which is a mystery to the rest of the world. Below the Région Le Lioran is in the Département of Cantal:

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Blazon: English: Or a Gonfanon Gules fringed Vert, on an Inescutcheon Azure a Bend Or between six Escallops Argent. Francais: D’or au gonfanon de gueules frangé de sinople, sur le tout d’azur à la bande d’or accompagnée de six coquilles d’argent.


Below the Département comes the Arrondissement of Saint Flour. The Arrondissement seems to have no arms, but I include those of the Commune because they are simply so pretentiously royal:

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Blazon: English: Per Pale Azure and Or semé of Fleurs-de-Lis counterchanged, a Bordure engrailed Gules. Francais: Parti d'azur et d'or semé de fleurs de lys de l'un en l'autre, à la bordure engrêlée de gueules.


The next administrative level is the Canton. Le Lioran is in the Canton of Murat. There once again seem to be no arms for this administrative area, but the Commune of Murat has arms that reflect its name (mur = wall):

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The French blazon is: D'azur aux trois fasces d'argent, maçonnées de sable, la première crénelée de cinq pièces, la deuxième crénelée de quatre pièces, la troisième crénelée de trois pièces et ouverte du champ. Today's homework is to provide an accurate English blazon.

Le Lioran is in fact in the Commune of Laveissiere, which sadly seems to have no arms of its own. What a let-down!
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Re: Tour de France 2016

Postby Chris Green » 07 Jul 2016, 07:03

Thursday's stage begins at Arpajon-sur-Cere which is just a stone's throw from yesterday's finish. Arpajon's arm's are suspiciously similar to the inescutcheon in the arms of the Département of Cantal (just the tincture of the escallops is different):

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The blazon that accompanies this illustration gives the escallops as being in orle. But I have my doubts as to whether six of anything can form an orle, which must surely encircle the whole shield.

Blazon: Français: D’azur à la bande d’or accompagnée de six coquilles du même ordonnées en orle. English: Blazon: Azure a bend between six escallopes in orle all Or.


The finish is at Montauban in the Département of Tarn-et-Garonne, which formed until 1 January part of the Midi-Pyrénées Region. Montauban's arms feature a rather sad looking willow:

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Blazon: English: gules a willow tree couped in chief with six leafless branches or a chief azure three fleurs de lis or. Français : de gueules au saule d'or étêté, ayant six branches sans feuilles, trois à dextre, trois à senestre ; au chef cousu d'azur chargé de trois fleurs de lis d'or.


The Midi-Pyrénées Region arrogated to itself the arms associated with the whole of Languedoc, the cross of Languedoc, or of Toulouse:

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Blazon: Engloish: Gules a Cross of Toulouse Or. Francais: De gueules à la croix cléchée, vidée et pommetée de douze pièces d'or.


Whether the new super-region of Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées will use the same arms, which seems logical since it covers most of the historical Languedoc, is a matter of conjecture.
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