Tour de France 2019

The Heraldry of France
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JMcMillan
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby JMcMillan » 26 Jul 2019, 18:49

Chris Green wrote:The finish is at Vallois whose arms feature what is described in the French blazon as an aiglette, which seems to be no more or less than an eagle displayed, but very small as it has to fit onto the fess.


English blazonry has the term "eaglets" (usually plural), as the avian equivalent of lioncels.

I have inveighed on many occasions about using noble charges such as lions rampant and eagles displayed in miniature. They deserve better. The detail is totally lost at any distance.


Certainly so in the emblazonment depicted, but as always the competence of the artist matters. Too many online images are carelessly pasted together from clipart designed for other spaces. Here are the arms of Vallois with a wider fess and an eagle pulled from the chief of a German civic coat of arms, just quickly slapped together. An artist working with brushes or markers on a blank piece of paper could do better.

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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 27 Jul 2019, 09:21

The Tour is in some disarray after yesterday's bad weather, which though very localised put paid to the final climb. The prospect of more of the same on today's stage has led the organisers to shorten the course. Instead of a wide sweep to the East from Albertville, the riders will go directly South, rejoining the original route at Moûtiers and finishing (God willing) as originally planned at Val Thorens.

The arms of Albertville, a town founded by King Charles Albert of Sardinia, Duke of Savoy, in 1836, are confusing. Either they are these, where the dexter half is clearly Savoy with a tower in Q4:

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or these, where the dexter coat is per pale argent and gules rather than just gules (Parti d'argent et de gueules, à la croix d'argent brochant sur la partition et cantonnée au 4e d'une tour de même; coupé d'argent et d'azur, à l'ancre de sable chargée d'une gerbe d'or et brochant sur le tout):

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Either way it is unclear (to me) what is the origin of the arms with an anchor and wheatsheaf. Albertville is far from the sea and on a minor river unsuitable for commercial boat traffic.

As to the version per pale, it simply doesn't work, even with a clear line of division. Moreover it pretty much loses the link to the Duke of Savoy.

PS: Any guess as to the pointy object between the two shields? A sample of local wrought-iron work?

The revised route meets the original route at Moûtiers, once known as Tarantaise. The arms reflect the former importance of the Archbishop of Tarantaise. In 1186 Emperor Frederick "Barbarossa" elevated The Archbishop to an immediate vassal and Prince of the Holy Roman Emperor, a status that survived over 150 years and is reflected in the coat of arms.

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Unusually only the sinister half is dimidiated.

The finish (with any luck!) is at Val Thorens, which has only seen a Tour de France stage finish once before, in 1994, when a Colombian won. The race leader today is also a Colombian, so perhaps Egan Bernal will make it 2 for 2. Val Thorens is in the commune of Les Belleville an agglomeration of three small communes of which only Saint-Martin-de-Belleville had arms, and quite simple ones too (drawing a veil over the tincture "rule" violation - we've seen worse!).

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Arthur Radburn
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Arthur Radburn » 27 Jul 2019, 15:30

Chris Green wrote:The arms of Albertville, a town founded by King Charles Albert of Sardinia, Duke of Savoy, in 1836, are confusing. Either they are these, where the dexter half is clearly Savoy with a tower in Q4 ... or these, where the dexter coat is per pale argent and gules rather than just gules
According to Massimo Ghirardi, the version on two shields was the predecessor to the current impaled version.

Either way it is unclear (to me) what is the origin of the arms with an anchor and wheatsheaf. Albertville is far from the sea and on a minor river unsuitable for commercial boat traffic.
Ghirardi (via Google Translate) quotes the official explanation as "The main element of the landscape are the streams, represented by the blue, descending from the mountains, indicated by the silver of the upper part. From these waters comes the prosperity of the city, thanks to the transport of timber through them, which we wanted to recall with the anchor and thanks to the extension of agriculture, represented by the sheaf of golden wheat, which was followed by indigence of the Isère."

As to the version per pale, it simply doesn't work, even with a clear line of division. Moreover it pretty much loses the link to the Duke of Savoy.
A mistake on the part of a 19th-century seal engraver, who forgot to engrave the vertical lines to indicate that Q 1 and 3 were Gules!
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 28 Jul 2019, 08:23

Today sees the final stage of the Tour de France, starting from Rambouillet, to the South-West of Paris, as far again as is Versailles. Like Versailles, Rambouillet was once a royal residence, being conveniently placed for hunting in the nearby forest. The château is still the official Summer residence of French Presidents and has been the site of several international conferences.

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The inescutcheon looks, at first glance, as though it is that of the Condés. But no, the baton is sinister not dexter. These are actually the arms of Louis Alexandre de Bourbon, Comte de Toulouse and Duc de Penthièvre. An illegitimate son of King Louis XIV and la Montespan, he was legitimised at the age of 3, made Grand Admiral of France at 5, Marshal of France at 18 and commander of the French armies two years later. His biggest battle was however at sea (perhaps surprisingly given that his Admiral title was purely honorary). On 24 August 1704 his fleet engaged an Anglo-Dutch fleet under Admiral Rooke fresh from the capture of Gibraltar. The result of the Battle of Vélez-Málaga was inconclusive. Much damage was inflicted but neither fleet lost a ship. The French considered that they had won, as the allies declined to come to grips on day 2, and returned to Toulon claiming a great victory. As things turned out it was a serious strategic defeat as the French fleet was bottled up in Toulon and never able to sortie again.

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The arms of Rambouillet once again exhibit a dimidiated half and a non-dimidiated half. No idea what the dexter half represents. The sinister half is obviously a representation of the areas blessings: hunting, sheep farming and forestry.

The Tour skirts Versailles and, just before reaching the Seine, passes through Meudon whose arms most surely were not designed by a communal committee. Were they the arms of the local lord? Qui sait?

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As ever, the stage becomes a race only when the riders reach the Jardin des Tuileries and the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. (I wonder how many tourists know what the Elysian Fields were and for that matter where.)
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby JMcMillan » 28 Jul 2019, 15:05

Elysian Fields? Everyone knows that! It's a long wide street running from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. I think the one in Paris was named after it. ;)

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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 28 Jul 2019, 15:43

Elysian Fields? Everyone knows that! It's a long wide street running from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. I think the one in Paris was named after it.


And I thought that Americans (Chicagoans at least) would imagine that Elysian Fields was wife of Marshall Fields. :mrgreen:
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 28 Jul 2019, 20:35

The Tour de France is over and won for the first time by a Colombian: Egan Bernal, a member of the British team Ineos (formerly Sky). He comes from Bogotá whose arms are:

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I am afraid that I am not at all sure what the flowers are, but I am sure that Bernal will receive many on his triumphal return to Colombia.
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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Iain Boyd » 29 Jul 2019, 05:01

Re the arms of Bogata -

The flowers are stylized pomegranates.

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Re: Tour de France 2019

Postby Chris Green » 29 Jul 2019, 07:03

It turns out that the world's press has been lazy in saying that Egan Bernal was born in Bogotá. He was in fact born in Zipaquirá which is 48km/30 miles away. The city has arms that are in a style not uncommon in Hispanic civic heraldry.

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Q4 represents the cathedral. There is a second "cathedral" built in the underground salt-mines.

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