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Carqueiranne (Municipality, Var, France)

Last modified: 2014-04-24 by ivan sache
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Flag of Carqueiranne - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 12 July 2013

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Presentation of Carqueiranne

The municipality of Carqueiranne (9,886 inhabitants in 2010, 1,446 ha; municipal website) is located on the Mediterranean coast, 15 km east of Toulon.

Carqueiranne was originally known as Caracairana, the first mention of the modern name dating back to 1626. Marius Coulomb, Mayor of the Town in 1953-1971 questioned in 1958 the popular etymology based on the French word calcaire (limestone), claiming that Carcairana was indeed the Greek name of Carthago. Fond of archeology, Coulomb supported his theory on local excavation of the remains of a military post, which he assigned to Hannibal on his way to Rome. However, Coulomb's "Phoenician" archeological site was never seen by anyone else and it is quite established that Hannibal's troops never crossed the area.

The first known (1217) lords of Carqueiranne are Guillaume de Carcairana and his son Pierre. In 1456, Count of Provence René d'Anjou granted Carqueiranne to Jean-Baptiste de Morans. In 1481, Morans was among the signatories of the codicil of Charles III de Maine's testament; this document was the legal act of incorporation of Provence to the Kingdom of France.
In the middle of the 16th century, Carqueiranne was partially incorporated to the neighbouring town of Hyères; the consuls of Hyères used the title of lords of Carqueiranne until 1789.
In 1873, the Municipal Council of Hyères appointed a Special Deputy Mayor for Carqueiranne, which was the first step towards municipal emancipation. The establishment of the municipality of Carqueiranne was requested in 1885 by a Decree of the Prefet of the Department of Var and prescribed by the Law of 26 December 1894; the new Municipal Council met for the first time on 3 February 1895. The borders with the municipalities of La Crau and Hyères were fixed in 1910-1911 and 1934, respectively.

Carqueiranne was awarded the title of Sea Resort in 1990; the place, however, had been a famous winter, and, subsequently, summer resort for more than 150 years.
The first famous winter tourist in Carqueiranne was the historian Augustin Thierry (1797-1873), who overwintered in 1827-1830 in the Saint-Vincent manor, owned by the Swiss physician Marc-Jacob D'Espine (1806-1860). In her salon, Mrs. D'Espine invited noted guests, such as Princess Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso (1808-1872), an Italian patriot who had crossed river Var to escape the Austrian police, Alphonse Denis (1794-1876), a wealthy erudite from Paris who was Mayor of Hyères (1830-1848) and Representative of the Var at the Chamber (1837-1846), the physicist André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836), founder of electromagnetism, and his son, the historian and writer Jean-Jacques Ampère (1800-1864).
Princess Galitzine, member of a famous Russian family of Lithuanian origin, settled in Carqueiranne in 1851 to have tuberculosis treated. The historian Jules Michelet met her in 1858, and described her in La Mer (The Sea) as "a young foreign princess came here to increase somewhat her failing life". The Russian writer Leon Tolstoi met in 1860 the cured princess and recommended his brother Nicholas to move to Carqueiranne.
Anna Maria Helena Coesvelt, Countess of Noailles and member of the wealthy Baring family, purchased in the 1890s the Saint-Nicolas estate, where she would oversummer until her death in 1908. Catherine Brunat-Provins (1872-1952), a painter, calligrapher and writer, visited Carqueiranne during her honeymoon in 1896; she purchased in 1923 the Clos du Pin estate.

Carqueiranne was in the late 19th - early 20th century a nest of Provencal landscape painters, such as Pierre Letuaire (1798-1885), Vincent Courdouan (1810-1893), Paulin Bertrand (1852-1940), Louis Gaidan (1847-1925), Stany Sassy (1875-1954) and José Mango (1866-1935). In 1920, the painters Jean (1894-1984) and Valentine (1887-1968) Hugo invited the writer Raymond Radiguet (1903-1923) to stay in the Salettes fishing port, which he did in February-April 1921; he was soon joined by his lover Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) and his friend Juan Gris (1887-1927), a cubist painter. Roger de la Fresnaye (1885-1925), another cubist painter, joined them and painted there a famous portrait of Radiguet.
After the Second World War, Mayor Marius Coulomb invited in the town Édouard Herriot (1872-1957), President of the Council of Ministers and Mayor of Lyon. He also welcomed the President of the USA Harry Truman (1884-1972), who had been recommended "to eat a bouillabaisse [traditional fish soup] at Justin's, in Carqueiranne". Today, the most famous citizen (of honour) of Carqueiranne is the popular, although somewhat controversial, cyclist Richard Virenque (b. 1969).

Carqueiranne played a significant role in the early development of aviation. Professor Charles Richet (1850-1935; awarded in 1913 the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine for the discovery of anaphylaxis) purchased the domain known as Carqueiranne castle. Together with the engineer Victor Tatin (1843-1913), who had invented a motor powered by gas and steam, Richet designed a monoplane aircraft. The first test failed in Le Havre in 1890 but succeeded in Carqueiranne, the aircraft completing two flights of 70 m (May 1896) and 140 m (June 1897) The aircraft, without a pilot and made of light wood (2.5 m in length, 6 m in width, 33 kg) was powered by a two-pale screw propeller. In 1907, Richet designed the first gyroplane with Louis et Jacques Bréguet; they founded the next year the Société d'Aviation Bréguet-Richet, which was the beginning of Louis Bréguet's career.
Charles' son, Albert Richet (1888-1918) was hired as an engineer and pilot by Bréguet. Commander of the Bréguet squad No. 118 during the First World War, he was shot in Picardy on 29 August 1913 during a raid targeting the Hindenburg line.

Ivan Sache, 12 July 2013

Flag of Carqueiranne

The flag of Carqueiranne, as seen in July 2013, is white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle. The name of the municipality is written in black letters beneath the coat of arms.

The coat of arms and motto of Carqueiranne (municipal website) were designed in 1907 by Maurice Raimbault (1865-1942), Deputy Archivist of the Department of Bouches-du-Rhône and Curator of the Paul Arbaud Museum in Aix-en- Provence. Also a noted heraldist, Raimbault was elected in 1895 Majoral (one of the 50 life members) of the Félibrige, the Provencal cultural association founded in 1854 by seven young poets.
The arms are "Vert a plough argent a chief or three tulipans gules. The chief surmounted by a three-towered mural crown or. Beneath the shield a scroll argent inscribed with the motto 'Pêr la voio et pêr l'araire'".

The green field and the plough, as well as the Provencal motto, reading "Through Work and Plough", recall that Carqueiranne once lived mostly from agriculture.
The flowers represented in chief are early-flowering tulips (in Provencal, tulipans), belonging to the species Tulipa raddii Reboul (invalid synonym, Tulipa praecox Ten.). Once common in the region, the early-flowering tulip was registered on 20 January 1982 on the French list of protected plants. Among the first flowers to blossom in spring, the tulipans were selected as a symbol of the "early renewal" favoured by the mild local climate.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 12 July 2013