Last modified: 2016-02-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of Élancourt - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 10 April 2004
The municipality of Élancourt (27,577 inhabitants in 2006; 979 ha; website) is located near Versailles.
Élancourt was mentioned for the first time in the 9th century, as Aglini Curtis, which probably means "Aglin's enclosed farm". The name of the place evolved to Ainlecurtis (1003), Herencurtem (1144), Erancourt
(1206), Elsencourt (1249), Elencuria (1250), Ellencourt (1472), and
Élancourt (fixed in 1757).
The Villedieu commandery was founded in 1180 in Élancourt by Gui II de Chevreuse, who donated it to the Knights Templars. Villedieu was indeed a fortified estate located on the Way of St. James, where pilgrims could spend the night in safety. Villedieu increased in size and wealth due to several donations by local lords in the 12th-15th centuries. After the eradication of the Templars by Philip IV the Fair, the Villedieu commandery was transferred to the Hospitalers of Louviers-Vaumion. Looted during the Hundred Years' War, Villedieu was progressively abandoned. In 1474, the St. John Lateran Hospital in Paris transformed it into a farm. In the 19th century, the farm became a distillery.
The remaining buildings of Villedieu, restored in 1971-1978, are used today as a center for art exhibitions, concerts and workshops.
The France Miniature miniature park (website), located in Élancourt. shows more than 150 of the most famous French monuments reduced on a 1/30 scale. The models, realized with great care and reproducing the monuments in great detail, are placed on a giant "map" of France, which is decorated with miniaturized trees and crossed by miniaturized trains. Access to the park goes through the Alps (9 m high) while the center of the map is materialized by a 10 m high Eiffel tower. The models have acquired a patina with age, which makes them strikingly true to the real ones.
Ivan Sache, 10 April 2004
The flag of Élancourt is horizontally divided blue-green with the municipal arms placed near the flag's hoist.
Since Élancourt has no known historical arms, the municipality
launched a public contest in 1973, resulting in five proposals.
The awarded proposal is "Vert a chevron or an escutcheon per pale argent and sable a cross coupee gules a chief azure three bezants argent 2 + 1 surrounded by two fleurs-de-lis or".
Green stands for the countryside while the yellow chevron stands for the roads. The escutcheon stands for the Knight Templars.
"Azure three bezants argent" was the coat of arms of Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey in Paris, the bezants representing the Byzantine currency used during the Crusades; the two fleurs-de-lis represent the Kingdom of France and the Royal abbey of Saint-Denis.
Arnaud Leroy & Ivan Sache, 10 April 2004