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Persan (Municipality, Val-d'Oise, France)

Last modified: 2016-11-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Persan - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 19 August 2016


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Presentation of Persan

The municipality of Persan (11,809 inhabitants in 2013, 514 ha; municipal website) is located on river Oise, 40 km north-west of Paris.
With the neighbouring municipalities of Beaumont-sur-Oise (9,607 inh.), Bernes-sur-Oise (2,600 inh.), Chambly (9,817 inh.), Mours (1,354 inh.) and Ronquerolles (857), Persan forms the urban unit of Persan - Beaumont-sur-Oise. Defined by the INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques) for statistical purpose, a urban unit is based on territorial rather than administrative continuity. Here, Chambly belongs to the department of Oise (Region Hauts-de-France) while the five other municipalities belong to Val-d'Oise (Region Île-de-France).

Persan was once known as Parcenco, Perseng, and Persent. The today's name of the town was eventually fixed in January 1791. The domain was ruled from the 15th century to the Revolution by the Doublet family; short before the Revolution, Persan was inhabited by 55 households, that is, c. 300 inhabitants. The population did not significantly increase (350 inh. in 1841, 501 inh. in 1851, 718 inh. in 1856) until the inauguration of the railway station of Persan-Beaumont in 1877.
Factories were established on former arable lands located between the railway and the river; in the beginning of the 20th century, the population of Persan reached 2,000 inhabitants, including 1,750 blue and white collars employed by diverse factories producing carpets, bricks, silk, brandy, caldrons, wrought iron, rubber, padding, paper, etc. Several workers were also employed at the locomotive depot, active from 1917 to 1970.

Persan is the home town of the mechanical engineer Félix Théodore Millet (1844-1929). On 22 December 1888, Millet patented a tricycle powered by an engine made of a rotating group of five cylinders arranged in a star pattern and placed inside the front wheel (named "sun wheel"). In 1895, he set the engine inside the back wheel of an "automobile bicycle" (description, photo), starting production two years later. Miller's invention, too ahead for the time, was not successful and fell into oblivion. Millet's innovations were rediscovered decades later: the star-shaped engine equipped the first airplanes designed 30 years later, while the central stand and the front telescopic suspension were not generalized on motorcycles until the 1950s.

Ivan Sache, 19 August 2016


Flag of Persan

The flag of Persan (photo, Town Hall, 13 February 2010) is white with the greater municipal arms, surmounted by "VILLE DE PERSAN", written in blue letters in an arch.

The arms of Persan are "Azure three dragonflies or in bend 2 and 1". In the greater arms, the shield is surmounted by a mural crown and supported by two lions of the same. The shield is placed on a bridge made of bricks gules over three waves azure.
These arms were the canting arms of the Doublet, Marquis de Persan. Rarely used in French heraldry, a dragonfly is called a doublet, probably because of its double pair of wings. The bridge and waves represents the bridge that connects Persan to Beaumont, crossing river Oise.

Doublet de Persan was a noted family of Nobles of the Robe. The root of the lineage is Louis Doublet, born near Troyes (Champagne) and died in 1601, listed as Procurator at the Parliament of Paris in documents dated 1583, 1598, and 1600. His son, Nicolas Doublet (1587-1654), was one of the most famous lawyers of the time. Nicolas' elder son, also called Nicolas (1616-1693), appointed Secretary of the King on 19 November 1670, was the root of the Doublet de Persan branch. His elder son, Nicolas (1659-1728), Councillor at the Greater Chamber of the Parliament of Paris, was erected Marquis de Persan. He was succeeded by his son, Nicolas (1691-1757), Councillor at the Parliament of Paris (1713), Master of Requests (1718), Intendant of Commerce (1736), and State Councillor. The title of Marquis de Persan was confirmed to his elder son, Anne-Nicolas Doublet, Councillor at the Parliament of Paris, by Letters Patented signed on 12 May 1764; his single son, Anne-Nicolas, Colonel in the cavalry, died without heir in 1828. The title of Marquis de Persan was transferred to Henri Doublet de Persan (1816-1887), the grand-son of Bon-Guy Doublet, Knight of Persan (c. 1730-1802), himself brother of the first Anne-Nicolas Doublet; the marquis married in 1845 Georgine de Preissac d'Esclignac (1827-1911), daughter of Charles Philippe Auguste de Preissac d'Esclignac (1790-1873), Grandee of Spain (1st class) and Pair of France [full name: Charles Philippe Cécile Claire Henry Emeric Sanche Othon Xavier Auguste d'Esclignac-Preissac-Fezensac d'Aquitaine d'Aragon de Marestang d'Ormesan de Firmarçon-Lomagne, duc d'Esclignac], and grand-daughter of Princess Elisabeth of Saxony (1768-1844).
[Gustave Chaix d'Est-Ange. Dictionnaire des familles françaises anciennes ou notables à la fin du XIXe siècle (1903-1929)]

Ivan Sache, 19 August 2016