Last modified: 2018-01-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: chesnay (le) | parly 2 |
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Flag of Le Chesnay, two versions - Images by Ivan Sache, 4 November 2009 - coat of arms by Didier Dudal
The municipality of Le Chesnay (28,512 inhabitants in 2015; 424 ha; municipal website), closely bordering Versailles (some streets have one side in Le Chesnay and the other in Versailles), is located 15 km west of Paris.
Le Chesnay was once "a place planted with oaks". The old names of the
village refer to the oak either by its Latin name, quercus (Quercetum), or by its Gaul name, cassanus (Canoilum, 1122; Cheneum, Chesnetum, 13th century). In modern French, a place planted with oaks is called a chênaie, from chêne, "an oak"; the Gaul root is also dominating the Latin root in French toponymy.
In the 12th century, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey, located in the middle of the pastures (prés) then surrounding Paris, granted a part of its domain in Le Chesnay to the Canons of the Saint-Benoît abbey, also located in Paris, provided they would build a church there. Nearly suppressed during the Hundred Years' War and by epidemics, the village, inhabited by a few lumberjacks and farmers leaving in clearings, was very loosely controlled by the Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey.
In the middle of the 17th century, the building of the Palace of Versailles by Louis XIV caused the reestablishment of the parish and the increase of the village. Pierre Le Pelletier des Touches, Councillor of the King, and Charles Maignard, lord of Bernières, successively owned the castle of Le Chesnay. Other nobles built manors close to the park of Versailles; the Castle of Parc Aubert is said to have been designed by Mansart and Le Nôtre, Louis XIV's architect and landscape designer, respectively. Louis XIV eventually purchased the domain of Le Chesnay, which was settled by officers, guards, seamen, gardeners and servants employed in Versailles.
On 1 July 1815, Le Chesnay and the neighbouring municipality of
Rocquencourt were the place of the last battle fought by Napoléon's Grande Armée.
In 1870, the village had 600 inhabitants, mostly farmers and cattle- breeders living in the lower part of the municipality ("plain"). In 1910, the upper part of the municipality ("plateau") developed around the new St. Anthony church. Urbanization and industrialization started after the First World War, with the population of the town climbing from 4,000 in 1920 to 9,000 in 1953. The lower and upper villages were eventually merged into a single, urbanized entity.
Ivan Sache, 4 November 2015
The flag of Le Chesnay is green with the municipal coat of arms in the
middle (photo,, municipal gazette Évènements, No. 204, January 2009.
The special issue of Évènements dedicated to the new municipal library / theater, June 2009, shows a photo of the flag flying in front of the former Fenwick factory, that is before 2000. On this flag, the coat of arms is surmonted by a blue cartouche bearing the name of the municipality in white capital letters.
The coat of arms of Le Chesnay is "Gules an oak eradicated or inescutcheon azure a bend argent three cinquefoils gules".
The oak makes the arms canting. The escutcheon represents the arms of the Maignard de Bernières family.
According to François-Alexandre Aubert de La Chesnaye des Bois' Dictionnaire de la noblesse, contenant les généalogies, l'histoire et la chronologie des familles nobles de France, Volume 9 (1775), the Maignard de Bernières family stems back to Richard Maignard, Governor of Vernon (Normandy) in 1447. His son, Guillaume Maignard (d. 1514), Councillor at the Parliament of Rouen, was the first lord of Bernières in the family. Five generations later, Charles III (1612-1662), the owner of the castle of Le Chesnay, was Councillor at the Parliament of Paris and State Councillor. His son Louis-Charles (d. 1710) was erected Marquis of Bernières in 1678.
Ivan Sache, 4 November 2009
Flag of Parly 2 - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 August 2017
Parly 2 (corporate website) is a regional shopping mall (90,000 m2, some 250 shops, c. 20 million visitors every year) established in the municipalities of Le Chesnay and Rocquencourt.
The shopping mall is adjacent to the Chesnay-Trianon condominium, also called Parly 2. The biggest condominium in Europe, Parly 2 is made of 278 buildings grouped into 36 residences, housing nearly 20,000 inhabitants.
Parly 2, "a genuine town inside the town is a pioneer urban model imagined in the 1960s by two visionaries, Jean-Louis Solal and Robert de Balkany". Their dream was "to elaborate an 'eldorado' based west of Paris, on the model of the American Way of Life. The synthesis of the best of the town and modernity in the heart of a preserved natural environment, Parly 2 was thought as the extension of the Paris posh boroughs in the countryside".
Parly 2 was inaugurated on 4 November 1969 in the presence of the tout-Paris - members of the government, celebrities, and the iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel, as the first shopping mall in Île-de-France [but second in France, the Cap 3000 mall having been inaugurated close to Nice on 21 October 1969]. The imposing, avant-gardist architecture designed by Claude Balick was inspired by the Southdale shopping mall in Minneapolis (USA). Rich stuff was used, such as marble and mahogany, to increase the prestige of the place.
The name of Parly 2 was constructed on "Paris", representing the town, and "Marly", representing the natural environment via the neighboring Marly forest, once a Royal hunting domain. The corporate website conveniently conceals that Parly 2 was indeed a second choice; the shopping mail was originally named Paris 2, but the Municipal Council of Paris strongly opposed to the use of the name of the town for a commercial purpose. This did not prevent the "gates" and "squares" of the mall to be named for famous places in Paris: Concorde, Vendôme, Luxembourg, Saint-Michel, Saint-Germain.
The poshest companies from Paris, such as Dior, Chanel, Lanvin, Hédiard and Lenôtre, soon opened shops in Parly 2. The organization of fashion shows by Dior made of Parly 2 a "cultural symbol"; the cultural reputation of the mall was eventually achieved with a straightforward reference to Parly 2 in Le domaine des dieux (1971), opus 17 in the series Astérix le Gaulois: Julius Caesar refuses that the new housing estate, to be built near the Gaul village, is named "Rome II".
More seriously, Parly 2 was described an analyzed in great detail by the sociologist Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) in his best-seller La société de consommation, ses mythes, ses structures (1970; excerpts).
An Y-shaped extension was inaugurated in 1987, designed in the style of the time and connected to the original building by the Arts' Footbridge. The historical part of Parly 2 was revamped in 2010-2011 in the "sixty-posh" spirit, as was in 2016-2017 the extension. Indeed, Parly 2 is a permanent building site, with an ever-increasing demand in buildings, access roads and parking lots.
The flag of Parly 2 is orange with the mall's logo, which was adopted in 2011 - probably for the inauguration of the renovated historical building.
Ivan Sache, 19 August 2017