Tour de France

The Heraldry of France
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Chris Green
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Tour de France

Postby Chris Green » 09 Jul 2015, 15:02

At the moment I am spending part of each afternoon watching the Tour de France cycle race on the box. The race has just passed through the village of Veules-les-Roses on the Channel coast of Normandy. Its coat of arms has inspired me to start a thread with occasional heraldic highlights from the towns on the route.

Here is the CoA of Veules-les-Roses:

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Not the best example of French civic heraldry. The two lions passant guardant are for Normandy. The two bunches of roses and the two single roses are rather too obvious nods to the village's name. The fishing boat reflects the village's traditional source of employment. But roses gules on a field gules? And is that really meant to be a chief gules? If you can read the French of the blazon the answer to both questions is "Oui"!

De gueules au voilier contourné d’argent, la coque bordée d’or, flammé du même, voguant sur une mer d’azur agitée aussi d’argent, de laquelle émerge un filet de sable chargé de poissons aussi d’or hissé à bord du bateau par un marin d’argent habillé et couvert aussi de sable, le tout accosté de deux roses naturelles de gueules, les pétales bordés d’argent, tigées et feuillées de sinople, celle de dextre posée en barre et celle de senestre posée en bande, au chef cousu aussi de gueules chargé de deux bouquets de roses naturelles sans nombre d’or, de gueules et d’argent, tigées et feuillées de sinople, adextrés de deux léopards aussi d’or passant l’un sur l’autre.
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Re: Tour de France

Postby Chris Green » 09 Jul 2015, 15:22

The finish of today's stage is at Le Havre, whose arms, like those of Veules, contain egregious breaches of the tincture "rule", together with a good (bad?) example of the problem that arises from granting augmentations:

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Blason de la commune du Havre (Seine-Maritime, France) Blasonnement : De gueules à la salamandre d'argent couronnée d'or sur un brasier du même, au chef cousu d'azur chargé de trois fleurs de lys d'or, au franc-canton cousu de sable chargé d'un lion d'or armé et lampassé de gueules


Why Le Havre should have a canton of Brabant is as yet a mystery - now solved.

The Lion is from the Coat of arms of Belgium and was added in 1926 to replace one of the fleurs-de-lis in remembrance of the presence of the government of Belgium in exile in Le Havre during the First World War.
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Re: Tour de France

Postby Chris Green » 10 Jul 2015, 07:22

Today's stage of the Tour passes through Argentan in Normandy, where there are ruins of a donjon built by King Henry II (of England). Its CoA is a further example of the odd use of a charge having the same tincture as the field.

Image

English: argent a double headed eagle displayed sable with a halo of the field
Français : d'argent, à l'aigle bicéphale de sable au vol déployé, nimbée du champ
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Re: Tour de France

Postby Chris Green » 10 Jul 2015, 08:13

Today the Tour sets off from Livarot, in the Calvados area of Normandy. It is historically most associated with Charles II (le Mauvais/the Bad) King of Navarre and Count of Évreux (1332-87) whose arms are illustrated below:

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Re: Tour de France

Postby Chris Green » 10 Jul 2015, 14:43

The Tour has just passed through the village of Carrouges and its medieval chateau. Sir Jean de Carrouges was the victor in the last judicial duel held in France.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_de_Carrouges

Sadly I can find no record of his arms, but the arms of the commune of Carrouges are:

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Re: Tour de France

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 11 Jul 2015, 00:47

Referring to the first posting, with the chief Gules in a field Gules, the answer "Oui" should read "Oww"
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Re: Tour de France

Postby Chris Green » 11 Jul 2015, 07:24

Today's (11 July) route takes the Tour from Rennes to Mur de Bretagne, through Breton countryside that was the home to one of France's great warriors: Bertrand du Guesclin (1320?-1380).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_du_Guesclin

Du Guesclin was born at Motte-Broons (through which the cyclists pass at kilo 67.5) and was prominent at the siege of the English garrison at Bécherel (kilo 25 on today's stage) in 1371. Here is his CoA (easy to see how he gained the nickname "Eagle of Brittany":

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Re: Tour de France

Postby Chris Green » 11 Jul 2015, 08:14

At kilo 145.5 today the Tour passes the village of Rohan, whence came the noble family of the same name. The CoA of the commune is shamelessly stolen from that of the family (but the family did take its name from the village):

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Gules nine mascles or.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Rohan
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Re: Tour de France

Postby Chris Green » 12 Jul 2015, 07:24

Today (12 July) the Tour departs from the Breton town of Vannes, whose CoA has an unusual charge - a caped ermine proper:

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The blazons given in Wikimedia are, in my opinion, both suspect:

English: Gules an ermine passant with a scarf ermine lined with or.
Français : De gueules à l'hermine au naturel colletée d'une écharpe semée d'hermines, doublée d'or, voletant sur son dos.


The English looks a bit thin; something like Gules an Ermine passant proper, flying from its throat a Scarf ermine doubled or perhaps?

The French is more precise, but shouldn't it be semée d'hermine (no s) rather than semée d'hermines? In "Anglophone" heraldry ermines (with an s) means white tails on black. But perhaps "Francophone" heraldry has different words for the various versions of ermine. Can anyone enlighten us?
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Re: Tour de France

Postby Chris Green » 12 Jul 2015, 07:53

On the way from Vannes to the finish at Plumelec lies Monterblanc. Would anyone like to essay an English blazon of this CoA?

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Here is the French blazon: Taillé, de sinople semé de mouchetures d’hermine de sable, et de gueules à une clef de sable versée posée en barre accompagnée en pointe d’une double arche en ogive du même ; une traverse d’argent brochante sur la partition. Armes doublement fautives. I am completely foxed by the last bit.

I can't say I have ever seen ermine on a green field before. Tincture "rule" would suggest that it is anomalous.
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