Tour de France 2020

The Heraldry of France
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Chris Green » 11 Sep 2020, 13:00

Friday's mountainous stage started at Châtel-Guyon in the Département of Puy-de-Dôme. It's arms, for reasons unknown (to me), are those of the historic region of Auvergne.

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Blazon: D’or au gonfanon de gueules frangé de sinople.


The arms of the Département are those of Auvergne with an inescutcheon (whether the emblazonment is correct I know not, but it doesn't match the blazon).

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Blazon: d’or au gonfanon de gueules frangé de sinople, sur le tout aussi d’or au griffon coupé de gueules et de sinople.


The finish is at Puy Mary one of the extinct volcanoes of the Mounts of Cantal. The nearest commune seems to be Le Falgoux (pop. 150) which doesn't seem to run to a coat of arms. The arms of the Département of Cantal are once again those of Auvergne, this time with an inescutcheon featuring scallop shells. These were apparently the arms of a family name d'Aurillac. Aurillac is the principal town of Cantal and was once a way-point on the Camino de Santiago/Way of St James from Clermont-Ferrand to Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims would have brought the shells back from the beaches of Galicia.

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Blazon: 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


Once again the inescutcheon (écu en coeur) isn't mentioned as such, so perhaps French blazon takes that as given if one says "sur le tout".
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Chris Green » 12 Sep 2020, 07:58

The Tour continues from Clermont-Ferrand today (Saturday) and travels eastwards to Lyon (why do Anglo-Saxons spell it "Lyons"?).

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Blazon: D'azur à la croix d'or chargée d'une croix de gueules, cantonnée de quatre fleurs de lys aussi d'or.


Note that the French blazon considers the cross gules to be sitting on a cross or, rather than being fimbriated or.

The arms of Lyon(s) are usually depicted with the Légion d'Honneur (awarded 1949) and two war medals pendant from the shield. This is a standard practice in France where whole communities can be awarded recognition of their suffering and heroism in wartime.

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Blazon: De gueules au lion d'argent; au chef cousu d'azur à trois fleurs de lis d'or.


In the case of Lyon(s) the "bonne ville" chief was granted by King Philippe V in 1320, though originally with France Ancient rather than France Modern.
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Chris Green » 13 Sep 2020, 11:28

Leaving Lyon the Sunday stage first heads due East, passing swiftly through Charvieu-Chavagneux, possessor of one of the most awful civic coats of arms in France, if not in Western Europe.

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Blazon: La poignée de mains, signifie le rattachement des deux communes le 1er mai 1961, pour le reste, la terre et l'industrie, le tout sous un beau soleil.


Had I not known that these arms are French and created in 1961, I would have guessed that they originated somewhere in the Soviet Union, perhaps in the 1930s. The perpetrators of these arms may well be related to the thieves referred to in this article which I found on Facebook.

On the night of August 6 to 7, 2020, a group of criminals exploded the ticket distributor of La Poste de Charvieu-Chavagneux, then entered the premises by forcing the service door. This mischief - caused by poorly intelligent criminals because they should know that the banknotes thus vandalized are automatically maculated with ink and therefore made unusable - penalized the population of Charvieu-Chavagneux.


The FB entry revealed that the commune seems to have abandoned the 1961 arms in favour of this logo.

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Why a dolphin? Because the area was once part of Dauphiné.

Passing rapidly on to the next commune, Saint-Romain-de-Jalionas, I was in hope of an heraldic improvement, and I suppose these arms must be considered better than the previous disaster area, but only just.

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Blazon: D’azur à la barre rocheuse d’or en fasce mouvant des flancs, sur une terrasse de sable, à la tour crénelée de quatre pièces d’argent, ajourée de sable, à dextre, et au clocher aussi d’argent, essoré de gueules, ajouré et croiseté aussi de sable, à senestre, les soubassements des deux édifices sommés d’une double corniche ouverte du même, à la filière de gueules brochant sur ces soubassements, à l’amphore romaine du même, sa base mouvant de la pointe de l’écu et brochant entre les deux monuments sur la filière, chargée en chef sous le col de l’inscription « VILLA LVCINIVS » en lettres.


The Fess rocky (which is what "rocheuse" means) must surely be unique.

The peloton pedals frenetically eastwards, searching desperately for a commune with genuine heraldry. It arrives at Morestel. Nom d'un griffon! Real heraldry but an egregious tincture error!

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Blazon: D'azur au griffon rampant de sable.


Heraldry of the World (All hail to Heraldry of the World!) does give the arms as D'argent au griffon de sable, but gives no source for this sensible alternative. The commune's website is silent on matters heraldic.

Turning northwards, the race passes Belley, whose arms are - yippee - heraldic (we hasten to forgive the poor emblazonment!).

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Blazon: D’argent au loup ravissant de sinople.


Even here there is mystery. Heraldry of the World (All hail to Heraldry of the World!) gives the blazon as: D'argent à la louve ravissante de sinople. - i.e. a she-wolf, which the emaciated animal above clearly isn't. H of the W also shows examples of the arms with the wolf passant as well as rampant.

I couldn't allow the riders to reach the finishing line without revealing that they have been cycling up and down the moutainside of Grand Colombier in the Département of Ain. The arms of the Département are a refreshing change from the poor heraldry which we have endured up to now.

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Blazon: Écartelé : au premier d’azur au lion contourné d’hermine (Bresse), au deuxième d’azur aux trois morailles d’or rangées en pal et au chef d’argent chargé d’un lion issuant de gueules (Pays de Gex), au troisième d’azur aux trois fleurs de lys d’or et au bâton péri en bande de gueules (Dombes), au quatrième de gueules au lion d’hermine (Bugey); sur l’écartelé la croix tréflée d’argent (Bourg-en-Bresse).


Q3 are actually the arms of the Princes de Condé and Ducs d'Enghien, but not of the Ducs du Maine (who held the title "Prince Souverain de Dombes").

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Zut!
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Arthur Radburn » 13 Sep 2020, 14:08

Thanks for the tour, Chris.

The wreath of leaves around the shield of Lyon is unusual. Mulberry leaves, with silkworms and cocoons. Appropriate, of course, Lyon being the "silk capital", but we don't often see worms and cocoons on heraldic wreaths or garlands.

Charvieu-Chavagneux's device is just plain awful. Even the person who wrote the blazon found it indescribable, and had to settle for vague wording about "for the rest, the earth and industry". I first thought the red shapes in base were stylised rifles, until I realised that it was supposed to be a pink factory with a sawtoothed roof.
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Chris Green » 15 Sep 2020, 08:11

After Monday's rest day the Tour restarts with a mountainous stage around Grenoble. The start line is in the commune of La Tour-du-Pin whose arms are simple and obvious.

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The route skirts Grenoble passing through one of its eastern suburbs, the commune of Montbonnot-Saint-Martin whose arms are a sort of heraldic map.

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Blazon: Taillé: au premier d'or à un dauphin contourné d'azur, crêté, barbé, loré, peautré et oreillé de gueules; au second de sinople à deux sapins de sable disposés en barre; à une onde en barre d'agent et d'azur; brochant sur le tout un losange d'azur en coeur contenant un M majuscule d'or.


The bend sinister is the River Isère, the dolphin is for Dauphiné, and the tincture "rule" defying sable trees on a field vert for the forested countryside.

The finish is at the ski resort of Villard-de-Lans, host of the luge events at the 1968 Winter Olympics at neighbouring Grenoble. The bear in the commune's arms are shown here as half and half (though not per fess) argent and sable, but the French blazon suggests a less clear-cut division. "Ombré means shadowed.

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Blazon: D'or à un ours en pied d'argent ombré de sable dans sa partie inférieure, au chaussé d'azur chargé à dextre d'un sapin d'argent et à sénestre d'un sapin de sable.
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Chris Green » 16 Sep 2020, 10:19

Another mountainous stage today (Wednesday), staring from Grenoble and heading eastwards to Méribel in the Savoy Alps, site of the 1992 Winter Olympics. The link between cycle racing and winter sports is not immediately obvious until one remembers that both rely for much of their thrill on steep slopes, cycling in Summer, Winter sports in ...

Grenoble's arms are classically simple with no bears, trees, or chamois to suggest proximity to the mountains.

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Blazon: D'or aux trois roses de gueules.


The race finishes in the mountains behind the town of Moûtiers, whose arms might be expected to have something to do with the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. There were indeed close links to both. In 1171 Pope Alexander III recognised the Archbishopric of Tarantaise (the old name for Moûtiers) as an immediate dependent of the Holy See. And just fifteen years later in 1186 Emperor Frederick Barbarossa recognised the Archbishop as an immediate vassal and Prince of the HRE. What popular prelates the Archbishops must have been. Indeed three, all Cistercian monks, were made saints during the 12th century.

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Blazon: Parti : au premier de gueules à deux clefs d'or passées en sautoir, liées du même, au second mi-parti d'or à l'aigle bicéphale de sable, becquée et membrée du champ.
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Chris Green » 17 Sep 2020, 07:49

The last day in the mountains sees the race starting from Méribel and grinding its way northwards to La-Roche-sur-Foron through the Département of Savoie. As its name, and its arms, imply this Département was once part of the Duchy of Savoy.

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Blazon: De gueules à la croix d'argent.


The stage passes through the commune of Bourg-Saint-Maurice whose arms seem to have been designed by a committee which could not bear to leave anything out. Q3 seems to have become the parking place for all the charges that the minority of the committee simply could not do without, not least Asterix's helmet.

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Blazon: D'azur à la croix d'argent chargée d'une croix tréflée de gueules, cantonnée au premier des lettres S et M onciales d'or, au deuxième d'une étoile du même, au troisième d'une aigle aussi d'or accostée de deux clochettes aussi d'argent et soutenue d'un casque de Ceutron du même, au quatrième d'un sapin arraché d'or.


The last stop in the mountains is La-Roche-sur-Foron. No heap of assorted charges here.

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Blazon: Cinq points d'or équipolés à quatre d'azur.


Now I would have blazoned these arms: Or a Cross quarter-pierced Azure, following Boutell (p48). But the English blazon I found was this: Chequy of nine points or and azure. I do not recall having come across chequy/checky of a given number of squares before, and why "points"? Simply a direct translation of the French)?
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 17 Sep 2020, 20:56

I'm enjoying this Tour Heraldique! - Thanks!
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Chris Green » 18 Sep 2020, 15:35

A flatter day today (Thursday) starting at Bourg-en-Bresse in the Département of Ain (whose arms we saw some days ago).

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Blazon: Parti de sinople et de sable à la croix tréflée d'argent brochant sur la partition.


The race heads North through Lons-le-Saunier whose arms looks as though the committee ran out of ideas. The upper half were the arms of the Principality of Orange-Châlon (the princely house that gave its name to the Royal House of the Netherlands). The bottom half are allegedly to honour the importance of the local salt-mines (this strikes me as somewhat far-fetched, but I know of no other explanation). Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760–1836), composer of La Marseillaise, was born here.

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Blazon: Coupé : au premier parti de gueules à la bande d'or et d'or au huchet d'azur, embouché, virolé et enguiché de gueules, au second d'argent plain.


The finish is at Champagnole whose arms feature a castle set on a natural mount rather than an heraldic one. The area was once known for iron-working, including the Forges de Syam, which provided most of the scythe-blades used in France.

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Blazon: D'azur au château fort d'argent érigé sur un mont au naturel, au chef cousu de gueules chargé d'un agneau arrêté aussi d'argent.
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Re: Tour de France 2020

Postby Chris Green » 19 Sep 2020, 07:25

Last day but one today (Saturday), each rider individually over a 37 km route from Lure to La Planche de Belles Filles.

The arms of Lure.

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Blazon: D'azur au soleil d'or.


La Planche de Belles Filles is a ski-resort in the middle of nowhere. It hosted the finishing line of a stage in the Tour last year, so this explanation may be familiar to many. 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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Blazon: Tiercé en pairle: au 1er de gueules à la clé contournée d’or, au 2e d’argent à la feuille de nénuphar (bouterolle versée) de sable surmontée de deux pics de mineur du même, passés en sautoir, au 3e d’argent au four enflammé au naturel.
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