Last modified: 2012-04-21 by ivan sache
Keywords: eure | vernon | fleurs-de-lis: 3 (yellow) | watercress |
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Flag of Vernon - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 13 October 2002
The municipality of Vernon (25,323 inhabitants in 2009; 3,492 ha) is located on river Seine.
Vernon was built in the 9th century by Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy. Located near the border between Normandy and (Île-de-)France and watching the Seine, Vernon was heavily fortified. Vernon, mentioned for the first time in 1049, was incorporated in 1196 into the Kingdom of France by the Treaty of Goulet, eight years before the complete incorporation of Normandy. King of France Philip III Augustus (1180-1223) fortified the castle, from which only the Archives Tower has been preserved. The town was built on the left bank of the Seine but the bridge, built in the 12th century, was protected on the right bank by the Tournelles Castle and fortified water mills.
The castle of Bizy, located 4 km west of Vernon, was built in 1740 by Coutant d'Ivry for Marshal of Belle-Isle, grand-son of Surintendant Fouquet, Louis XIV's rival and victim. The castle later belonged to Duke de Penthièvre, King Louis-Philippe (who restored the park of the castle) and Baron de Schickler. It is now the property of Duke d'Albuféra, descendant of Empire Marshal Suchet, and Marchioness de Grammont.
An even more famous place, located 2 km south-east of Vernon, is the village of Giverny (600 inhabitants). The Impressionnist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926) bought a house in Giverny where he lived from 1883 to his death. A visit to the white-bearded patriarch became a classical pilgrimage in the beginning of the 20th century. Monet painted in Giverny the series of Nymphéas, exhibited in the especially designed Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, and most of his late paintings, now exhibited in Musée Marmottan, in Paris, too. The workshop where he painted the Nymphéas as well as the "pink and green" house, with Monet's personal collection of Japanese prints, are worth being visited, but the climax of the pilgrimage is the garden. The part of the garden close to the house is the Clos Normand, reconstituted after Monet's drawing. On the other side of the road, the Japanese water garden can be reached via a tunnel.
Ivan Sache, 13 October 2002
The flag of Vernon is white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.
The coat of arms of Vernon was granted by King St. Louis (Louis IX, 1226-1270). The chief of France ("Azure three fleurs-de-lis or") recalls that Vernon was a Royal Town. The three bunches of watercress, tied with gold, recall that watercress was once commonly grown in areas liable to flooding by rivers. Nealry suppressed because of liverfluke, watercress cultivation was reintroduced through a strict procedure of certification. The legend says that St. Louis, once very thirsty when entering Vernon, was offered a bunch of watercress to quench his thirst. So pleased with that present, the King decided that the arms of Vernon would bear watercress bunches.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 13 October 2002