Sub-prefectures : Rambouillet, Mantes-la-Jolie, Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Surface: 2,284 km2
Specialities: spinach in Viroflay, reine-claude plumb from Chambourcy, onions in Mantes-la-Jolie. Paris-Brest. Houdan chicken. Grand Marnier. Noyau de Poissy (liquor).
Sport clubs: Paris-Saint-Germain (train at Camp des Loges in St Germain-en-Laye). Clairefontaine training centre (French national football team)
Competitions: corrida de Houilles, Paris-Versailles (runnin), Golf French Open, horse racing in Maisons-Laffitte. Equestrianism at the 2024 Olympics in Versailles.
Festivals: Fête des Loges in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (late June to mid-August), National antiques and ham fair.
Economy: automobile (PSA, Renault, BMW, Mercedes, Fiat, Ford, Nissan), aeronautics, space industry, defence (Astrium, Airbus, Matra, Messier-Bugatti), Thales, electronic equipment (Alcatel, Bouygues, Nortel, Siemens), cosmetics, perfumes (GlaxoSmithKline, GE Healthcare, Garnier, Rochas), Eco-industry (Saur, Suez, Veolia, SARP, Air liquide). Research (INRETS, INRA). Shopping malls (Parly 2, Vélizy 2). Tourism (Versailles, Thoiry).
Remarkable sites: Versailles palace, châteaux of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Rambouillet, La Madeleine in Chevreuse, Dampierre, Breteuil, Maisons. Haute vallée de Chevreuse Nature Park. Rambouillet Forest. Thoiry animal park. Notre-Dame of Mantes-la-Jolie.
Websites / FB / Twitter : www.yvelines.fr
SARTROUVILLE (Pop: 52,500)
A pioneering aviation city – an airfield existed since 1904 – Sartrouville can now claim to be one of the world capitals of triathlon for the members of the local club.
Espérance Cycliste de Sartrouville Triathlon, grabbed several Olympic medals and world titles in recent competitions. Every year since 1994, the club organises the Sartrouville Triathlon now considered as a reference for the discipline in France.
Sartrouville is also the birthplace of Pascal Lino, 5th of the 1992 Tour de France, who held the yellow jersey for 11 days. Pascal Lino is now a driver for ASO on many cycling races. The main monument in Sartrouville is the St Martin church, which celebrated the thousand years of its foundation in 2009.
Jardin des plantes
MAISONS-LAFFITTE (Pop: 23,400)
Maisons-Laffitte took its name from Jacques Laffitte, governor of the Banque de France and later President of the Council under King Louis-Philippe, who bought the castle of Maisons in 1818 and sold the park to build houses in its place. The town is famous for its horseracing track, which claims the longest straight line in Europe (2,200 metres). Maisons-Laffitte is the birthplace of poet Jean Cocteau: “Maisons-Laffitte is a kind of trainers park scattered with villas, gardens, avenues, lime trees, lawns, patches and water jets on squares. Race horses and bicycles ruled the place,” he wrote in 1947. Four times sprint world champion Gregory Beaugé was born in Maisons-Laffitte in 1985. Britain’s James Moore, the first winner of a bicycle race in St Cloud in 1868, lived in the town where his father was a veterinarian. Actress Emma Watson, known for her part in the Harry Potter film saga, spent her early childhood in Maisons-Laffitte, where her parents worked as lawyers.
SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE (Pop: 42,000)
Saint-Germain-en-Laye was the setting of several important pages of the French history. Its castle was a royal residency before Versailles and the birthplace of several French kings including Louis XIV. Overlooking Paris from the terrace designed by André Le Notre, 19 km from Notre-Dame de Paris, St Germain-en-Laye was always a haven of peace on the outskirts of the forest. During the Revolution, it was dubbed “Mountain of Good Air”. The town is home to PSG’s training centre and hosted a Tour de France stage in 1978, won by Klaus-Peter Thaler. In 2013, it was the start of the first stage of Paris-Nice won by Nacer Bouhanni.
After the Hundred Years War, Henri III ordered the construction of a new castle in 1556. Henri IV enlarged and embellished the property with its famous garden terraces. Several historical events took place in the castle: King Francis I’s wedding in 1514, the birth of Henri III in 1519, a duel known as Coup de Jarnac in 1547, the proclamation of the 1563 edict by King Charles IX, fixing the beginning of the year on January 1 all over the kingdom, signature in 1570 of the St Germain peace treaty aiming at ending the wars of religion, the birth of the future Louix XIV in 1638. St Germain’s expansion was considerable with countless royal feasts, weddings, concerts by Lulli or plays by Moliere. The old castle was then abandoned by the court in favour of Versailles and became the home of exiled King of England James II until his death in 1701. Louis XVI ordered the restoration of the town’s water pipes and gave the new castle to his brother, the future Charles X. After the Revolution, the castle underwent the vicissitudes of history. It was turned into a prison, a hospital, a horse-riding school, barracks and military penitentiary. The creation of the first rail line between Paris and St Germain in 1837 revived the city. The castle is now home to the Museum of National Archaeology, displaying nearly 30,000 items. The terrace of the castle, built by Le Notre between 1669 and 1674, stretches over 2,400 metres. It links the centre of St Germain to château du Val.
POISSY (Pop: 37,000)
An old royal city which was the birthplace of Louis IX and Philippe the Bold, it was supplanted by St Germain-en-Laye in the 15th century. Now a stronghold of the automobile industry, it is home to a PSA factory. Its main monument is the Notre-Dame collegiate church (12th century), remarkable for its two octagonal towers nd refurbished by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century.
FEUCHEROLLES (Pop: 2,940)
A small residential town close to Paris, Feucherolles was home to many PSG football players or showbiz personalities like tennis player Yannick Noah or singers Sheila, Vanessa Paradis and Joe Dassin, who gave his name to the town’s cultural centre.
L’alimentation en eau de la Capitale
The return to the capital is celebrated with champagne, but in everyday life, it is water that Parisians need. Very early this demand was felt, since at least the Romans. Marie de Medici also had an aqueduct built. The most imposing works were those of Baron Haussmann who built an aqueduct that brought water from the Aube, more than 150 km away.
MNHN – Patrick De Wever, professeur
VILLEPREUX (Pop: 10,000)
Saint Vincent de Paul pronounced his first preaches in Villepreux, where he was the preceptor of the Gondi family. The town has a lovely heritage of old buildings like the St Vincent House, the second house of the Daughters of Charity founded by St Vincent de Paul, turned into en exhibition hall, or the domain of Grand’Maisons, a 18th century listed castle turned into a hotel. Villepreux as the destination of a Royal Alley designed by Le Notre and linking the Versailles palace to Saint-Cyr-l’École, Fontenay-le-Fleury, Rennemoulin and Villepreux. The alley is the subject of a huge program of rehabilitation.
ROCQUENCOURT (Pop: 3,200)
A famous hot spot of traffic in the Parisian region, the ill-famed triangle of Rocquencourt, which marks the junction between motorways A12 and A13 is actually located on the commune of Bailly. Rocquencourt was the site of one of the last of Napoleon’s battles on July 1, 1815.
LE CHESNAY (Pop: 28,500)
In the heart of the Versailles Grand Park project, this residential locality saw its population double in the 1970s after the creation of the huge Parly2 shopping mall.
Le Chesnay is the birthplace of footballer Nicolas Anelka and members of French band Phoenix.
Château of Parc Aubert
Louis XIV, seduced by the charm of the estate, added it to his royal properties and asked Mansart to complete the castle while he asked Le Notre to design and build the park. Today, Parc Aubert is open all year round.
LA CELLE-SAINT-CLOUD (Pop: 21,000)
Initially a monastery, then an estate belonging to marquise of Pompadour, refurbished and embellished throughout the years as well as its park, the castle of La Celle Saint-Cloud belongs since 1951 to the Foreign Ministry for the reception of guests of honour. After Louis XV and Louis XVIII or Emperor Napoleon III, hosted by the owners of the time, king Mohamed V of Morocco, Queen Elizabeth or Jackie Kennedy were among the guests accommodated in the chateau. Treaties for Moroccan independence, peace in Laos and Cambodia or a recent ceasefire in Libya were discussed in the castle.
Sub-prefectures: Antony, Boulogne-Billancourt
Surface: 176 km²
Specialities: honey in Levallois-Perret, vines in Suresnes
Sport clubs: Racing 92 (rugby union), Nanterre 92 (basketball).
Competitions: Jardy Eventing Show 2017 / International Three Day Event *** and Event Rider Masters in July, Horse racing day and International Show-jumping in September at Jardy Stud Farm in Marnes-la-Coquette, Racing 92 rugby union Top 14 matches in Colombes, Nanterre 92 Pro A basketball season at Palais des Sports of Nanterre, Marathon of Hauts-de-Seine and Hauts-de-Seine boat race on l’Ile de Monsieur while two sites in the department should be used for the 2024 Olympics (Stade Yves du Manoir in Colombes and U-Arena in Nanterre).
Festivals and cultural events: Seine Musicale (Boulogne-Billancourt), Chorus Festival, La Défense Jazz Festival, Petites Nuits de Sceaux, European Heritage Days, exhibitions in the museum of the departmental domain of Sceaux, in the house of Chateaubriand/Domaine de la Vallée-aux-Loups (Chatenay-Malabry). Albert-Kahn garden (Boulogne-Billancourt), Outdoors Opera (Sceaux), Festival de l’Orangerie (Sceaux) and several popular venues (Nanterre-Amandiers Theatre, Gennevilliers Theatre, Théâtre 71 in Malakoff, Les Gémeaux in Sceaux...)
Economy: La Defense business centre (16,000 employees, 400 companies, 20,000 inhabitants, 17,000 students)
Websites and social networks : www.hauts-de-seine.fr / @hautsdeseine.fr / www.facebook.com/hautsdeseine.ledepartement/
MARNES-LA-COQUETTE (Pop: 1,750)
A quiet village, a favourite of Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, who gave her name to the church, Marnes-la-Coquette came to the limelight in December 2017 when the country’s favourite singer, Johnny Hallyday, died in his house, La Savannah. It has now become a pilgrimage for the fans. The least populated town in Hauts-de-Seine was always a haven of peace for celebrities since Maurice Chevalier, Jean Marais, Danielle Darrieux Alain Prost or Hugues Aufray lived here. Maurice Chevalier and Danielle Darrieux are buried in the local cemetery. Louis Pasteur also died in Marnes-la-Coquette where he had a laboratory in a pavilion formerly used by Napoleon III to accommodate his private guard.
LANDSCAPE OF THE DAY
This section of countryside between two hillsides is marked by picturesque villages, ancient farms and royal hunting routes, and was given listed status in 2000. It was a key aspect of the vista designed by Le Nôtre, landscapist for Louis XIV, through the Palace of Versailles and its park, now firmly established as a UNESCO heritage site. Since it received this protection, national and regional authorities have committed to restoring the Park while at the same preserving farming activities.
SAINT-CLOUD (Pop: 29,400)
Saint-Cloud holds a special place in the history of cycling since it is in its park that was organised on May 31, 1868, the first bicycling race. It was won by Briton James Moore. It was also in the park of St Cloud, on the courts of Stade Francais, that were held the French international tennis championships before the construction of the Roland Garros stadium in 1928. The park now hosts the Rock en Seine rock festival every year since 2003 with the greatest stars of the genre. It is in St Cloud that Oasis definitely split during the festival. The park was once contiguous to a castle which was one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s favourite residences. St Cloud is also home to a horseracing track, inaugurated in 1901.
SURESNES (Pop: 48,500)
Linked to Paris by a bridge bearing its name, Suresnes became after the industrial revolution a haven for the aeronautic and automobile industries. This industrial vocation made it a stronghold of the Communist party and a part of the Paris so-called Red Belt. The evolution of Paris west-end turned it into an active and residential suburb at the gates of the capital, renowned for its Jean Vilar theatre and its dance festival.
Mémorial de la France combattante
The Mémorial de la France combattante (Memorial of Fighting France) pays homage to French fighters and Partisans during WWII. The memorial is installed beneath the Mont Valerien fort, where the Germans executed a thousand members of the Resistance during the war.
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