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Villiers-sur-Marne (Municipality, Val-de-Marne, France)

Last modified: 2015-04-04 by ivan sache
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Flag of Villiers-sur-Marne - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 28 May 2014

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Presentation of Villiers-sur-Marne

The municipality of Villiers-sur-Marne (27,446 inhabitants in 2014; 433 ha; municipal website) is located 15 km east of Paris. Oddly enough, the municipal territory is not watered by river Marne.

Villiers must have been named for a Gallo-Roman estate (villa). The village was mentioned for the first time, as Villaricum, in the book of charters of the Saint-Maur-des-Fossés abbey, dated 1024. The lord Guido de Villaribus was recorded in the 13th century. Abandoned during the Hundred Years' War, the domain was re-established in 1445 by Dreux Budé, the grandson of Guillaume II Budé, ennobled in 1399 by King Charles VI. Dreux Budé was allowed in 1448 to fortify the town. The Budé family kept the domain until 1707, when sold to Paul Poisson de Bourvalais, lord of Champs and Noisy. Short before the French Revolution, Villiers was acquired by Louis-Alexandre de Boislecomte.

In the beginning of the 19th century, Villiers was a rural village (671 inhabitants in 1806). More than half of the inhabitants lived from wine-growing, vineyards covering 40 ha. Those vineyards were progressively transformed into arable land. The inauguration in 1857 of the railway station, on the Paris-Mulhouse-Basle line, increased the transformation of Villars into a small town. While vineyards definitively disappeared, fresh vegetable and fruit production remained the main source of income until the 1950s.

Ivan Sache, 28 May 2014

Flag of Villiers-sur-Marne

The flag of Villiers-sur-Marne, hoisted in front of the Town Hall, is white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.
The arms of Villiers-sur-Marne are "Argent a chevron gules cantonned by three bunches of grapes purpure. The shield surmounted by a mural crown or and surrounded by two laurel branches vert fructed gules". Adopted in 1946 by the Municipal Council, these arms are those of the Budé family.

The most famous member of the Budé lineage is the humanist Guillaume Budé (Latin, Budaeus; 1467-1540), grandson of Dreux Budé. Appointed in 1522 curator of the Royal Library of Fontainebleau by King Francis I, Budé urged the king to found a college where Latin, Ancient Greek and Hebrew would be taught; established in 1530, the Collège des lecteurs royaux, renamed Collège de France in 1870, is still one of the most prestigious higher education and research establishments in France.
Interested in theology, law, mathematics and philology, Budé has remained famous as the pioneer of Hellenic studies in France; upon Erasmus' request, he published the Commentarii linquae graecae (1529, 1549), a series of lexicographic comments on Ancient Greek that would be useful to French scholars for the next centuries. "Budé collection" or "Budé" is the nickname of the "Collection des universités de France", a series of more than 800 bilingual (Latin / French, Ancient Greek / French) reference books published since 1920 by the publishing house "Les Belles Lettres", which is patroned by the Association Guillaume-Budé. The collection started with the first volumes of Lucretius' De rerum natura (Latin) and of Plato's complete works (Greek). Hippocrate's Prognosis, the 500th volume of the Greek series, was released in November 2013.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 28 May 2014