Val d'oise

Name of the Department

Name of the Area

1.253 km2

Culminating point
217 m with the Hillocks of Rosne, close to Neuilly-in-Vexin.

Cergy. 3 districts. 35 cantons, 185 communes.

1.049.598 inhabitants (census of 1990).


It is an area of very old settlement: the paleolithic time appears there constantly by the flints sizes which one discovers in the excavations of building sites, and the Neolithic time especially, by imposing monuments megalithic: Pierre Turquaise out of drill of Carnelle, the alley of Justice has Argenteuil. But the Gallo-Roman time has leaves vestiges even more spectacular: traces of an old road, the roadway Jules Cesar, and especially the sanctuary of Genainville, whose excavations have continued for thirty years, and have gives rise to the important museum of Guiry. On the other hand, a Roman city known by the texts, Petromentalum, is demeuree untraceable. The area was on the road of the first cruel invasions and of the tribes fixerent themselves there sufficiently to print their name there, as has Franconville. And the new order established little by little saw to create royal residences initially there (Merovingiens has Garges or Luzarches), then castles strengthen (Luzarches, Montmelian, the Rock-Guyon). But the first fortifications were out of wood, insufficient to be opposed against a new invader, the Norman ones, which pillerent the area until on several occasions peace was concluded with them into 911, on our territory, has Saint-Clearly-on-Epte. Religious establishment also, with its worship of the relics (Tunic of Argenteuil) and its abbeys and prioresss: The Valley, Royaumont, Maubuisson, Argenteuil, celebrate by the stay of Heloise. Some were rested by Louis saint, and Pontoise remained royal residence until the 17th century. As for the famous family of Montmorency, she played during three centuries a key role in the history of the kingdom. What constitutes today the Val-d'Oise made under the old mode left the general information of Ile-de-France and two of the countries which composed it: French Vexin in the west and Country of France in the east. It was an agricultural area, or the vine held an important place: the wine of Argenteuil was regards as one of best of France. Fairs and steps were flourishing there and the Parisian ones came as a crowd, under Louis XV, with the fair of Bezons, celebree by songs and plays. Residential area also, or rose many castles (one of them sheltered the retirement of the marshal of Catinat, large soldier of Louis XV) and or the passage of many writers is announced: Cyrano of Bergerac, Boileau, Bernardin of Saint-Pierre; the abbot Prevost and especially Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose double stay has Montmorency, with the Hermitage initially, the Mount-Louis then, is capital in his life and the development of sound ?uvre. The only important city of the area was Pontoise, large goes, legal city or the kings exiled sometimes the Parliament when it was disobedient. The scientific rise of the end of the 18th century appeared by the landing of the first balloons has Gonesse or has Nesle-the-Valley, while Daguerre was born has Cormeilles-in-Parisis. In 1789, the parishes redigerent their registers of grievances, and that of Bezons was characterized by its concern of developing teaching It is not nothing more important for a government than education youth, it is the only means of having citizens, patriots, decent people, finally. The Revolution was calm in the area, but much of properties changerent with hands, which was fatal has many castles and of abbeys. Mirabeau remained has Argenteuil until its death almost, while the vogue of sulfurous water of Enghien developed, which will attract in this new city the old king Louis XVIII and a whole new generation of writers: Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Lamartine, Mrs. de Stael and Benjamin Constant, George Sand, Custine. Later, other beautiful spirits will be the hosts of the Mathilde princess has Saint-Gratien. At the same time, the area changed, in consequence of the railway expansion and of industrial development. All the area situee between the drill of Montmorency and the Seine gradually saw disappearing the cultures (vine, sprinkles) with the profit from a suburban habitat and a factory construction to the length of the rivers. Evolution twice arretee by the war (the Germans reached Luzarches in 1914 and occuperent all the area in 1940) and twice taken again on large scales. It is this demographic progression, and a preoccupation with a better administration which entrainerent, in 1964, the creation of the new departments of Ile-de-France, and the realization, here, of this district allongee including/understanding at the same time zones agricultural (covering still today half of the department), industrial and tertiary. Since, the elected officials of the new department are endeavour to affirm of it the personality, while preserving some the site.

Geography and nature

Delimit in the west by Epte and to the south by the heights which dominate the valley of the Seine, the Val-d'Oise extends in length, and its recent administrative form corresponds to the orientation of its geological layers. It presents an undeniable geographical unit besides. The central axis of the territory is mark, on both sides of the valley of Oise, by large synclinal, perhaps formerly occupies by the Marne, inclines soft inclined towards south-east and frames of a series of pilot hillocks. It is prolonged by the valley of Montmorency, in parallel to which another depression extends, in the south of the drill of Carnelle. In Vexin, the synclinal one is mark by the valley of Viosne, which notches the plate deeply, which overhangs the Oise in way very marquee. The orientation of these reliefs and depressions towards south-east, the presence, at all times, of a ford has Pontoise, made area a privileged crossing point, borrows by the Celtic tribes and affirms by the Romans (fitted Jules Cesar), the kings of France (current N14), the 19th century (railway), current times (motorway a 15). Calcareous plate covered with chalk, clay, marnes, silts, of loess, with timbered flat-topped outliers, the area is a fertile ground, from time immemorial devotes to the field crop, cerealiere and fourragere. The landscape does not change there that slowly while going from is in west, since the country of France and its vast fields until Vexin, which announces Normandy. From Triel, wrote Andre Hallays, all grows, very escarpe. Here the cliff which from now on will dominate the river to Le Havre. When the clouds of storm run of the North-West, they would be said sweep by the wind broad, the air takes a maritime savour. The hard layers (meulieres, limestone of Saint-Ouen, fresh water limestone) level on the central surface of the plates, at the top of the hills, the passage of the rivers. Easy Pierre has to work and has to dig in troglodytic dwellings (High-Isle) it was a long time exploitee, and is sometimes still. Does the hydrographic network belong to the northern basin of the Seine, with two principal affluents, the Oise and Epte, which receive themselves, according to the parallel lines of the relief, Esche, Sausseron, Viosne, the Bus shelter of Magny.? This discreetly harmonious landscape is the subject of a vigilant protection and all Vexin, in particular, was registered with the inventory of the sites, necessary barrier in front of the demographic invasion. At the same time, large, effort was made for the adjustment of the drills or at least of the part of those pertaining to the community. Covering, as a whole, 24.200 hectares, that is to say nearly 20% of the surface of the department, they are located especially in the part Is, or are three principal for it: that of Montmorency (3 500 hectares) whose State has the quarter, that of Isle-Adam (1 500 hectares), drill domanial or dominates the oak, that of Carnelle, also state-owned property and or one finds two ponds, of which the lake Bleu. But the walker will find also approval has to traverse the wood of Ecouen, the drill of Orry which is joint of that of Chantilly or the wood which dominate, in Vexin, the curve of the Seine. It is also necessary to walk to the length of the rivers, often wasted by the second home but which, for that which can discover them, still conceals many charms more natural than saved are, 9, for example along both Bus shelter or of Sausseron, which has his/her friends, and its defenders.


The department has a prestigious series of buildings, staging itself over ten centuries. Same the Romance time, often low in Ile-de-France, has there leaves notable vestiges: the nave and the sides of Mourning, with their curious capitals histories, .les bedside very balances of Luzarches and Moussy, the frontage of the large church of Tanks, the gates of Louvres, Haravilliers, of Lierville, decorates sticks breezes. Then it is the rise of the Gothic architecture, or the intersecting ribs shows its elegance and its force in Villetertre, has Herblay, dominee by a beautiful turn-lantern, has Bea umont-on Oise, has Vetheuil (ch?ur), has Gonesse, stakes of an evolution which culminates has Chars (ch?ur), Taverny, Marly-the-City or with the bell-tower of Bessancourt. And this time has also leaves to us, in the same department, of the famous abbeys, with the Valley, has Maubuisson, has Royaumont, has dimension of which it is necessary to quote the curious barn cistercian of Vollerand. Time of assistance, also, with the hospital of Gonesse, and war, with the castle of released which hides with the hollow, of the drill of Montmorency. With 15th, the Gothic is made more flowering ash, more load in its structure and its decoration (ch?ur of the church of Herblay, with its stained glasses; nave and northern side of Clery) and these blazing formulas continue into full 16th, invaded little by little and dominees by the new repertory of the Rebirth. In Louvres, with Isle-Adam, has Magny-in-Vexin, has Vetheuil, the mixture is still apparent, but the new formulas do not delay has to triumph has Villiers-the-Beautiful, with the ch?ur of Maffliers, in Mesnil-Aubry, has Attainville, with the gate of Belloy-in-France, Cergy, Luzarches, of Magny-in-Vexin, with the turns of Tanks, Nucourt, Beaumont-on-Oise. `uvres expressing with such a happiness the principles of creation of the time that one wanted to allot some has prestigious architects, Delorme, Bullant, Grappin, beside a regional manufacturer real good, Nicolas de Saint-Michel. And we still have, for this time of the Rebirth, a bridge, with Isle-Adam, markets, has Luzarches, of the manors strengthen (Nesle-the-Valley), the urban hotels (Pontoise) and a major building, symbol of the time, the castle of Ecouen. The great movement of religious construction slows down much with 17th, and one cannot hardly quote but charming it octagonal vault of Navy, ?uvre of Lemercier, and the troglodytic church of I' High-Isle, curiosity more than architectural construction. But it is the time of the castles: Mery-on-Oise (partly), Guiry, the Villette. In connection with the two last, one has pronounces the name of J.H. Mansart, and they of it are worthy. Tempting the 18th century has strews the current department with all the types of buildings in which east is interested this dynamic and multiform time: abbey building has Herivaux, castles has Champlatreux, Mery (partly), Viarmes, commun runs which are palates with the Rock-Guyon or has Montgeroult, madness has Saint-Brice, Chinese house with Isle-Adam. And the area has same one of our rare buildings of revolutionary age, the temple maconnic of Epone of which, it, the David painter seems, gave the plans. And a century will be enough to pass from individual to the collective: with the astonishing castles declamatoires and overloads of Vigny and Custom, expressing the stone dreams of some disciple of Purple-the-Duke, have succeeds hundred years later the new city of Cergy, the prefecture of Henry Bernard, the airport of Roissy: new functions which generate a new beauty. The sculpture, in Val-d'Oise, is in the museums of archaeology (Guiry), on the places (Cross of Omerville) and especially with the gates, or inside the churches: tympanums (Heaulme), put at the tomb (Pontoise), retables of furnace bridge (Taverny, Nucourt, High-Isle), baptismal font (Magny-in-Vexin), stalls of ch?ur (Presles). But it knew also for a long time to acquire its full independence and it is it which, thanks to Zadkine, celebrates has Auvers the memory of Van Gogh. Because the Val-d'Oise is perhaps before a whole country of painters, whose prize list is prestigious. Daubigny has works on the edges of Oise, Dupre to Isle-Adam, all the impressionists has Argenteuil, Monet has Vetheuil, Pissaro has Pontoise, Cezanne and Van Gogh has Auvers, Utrillo has Sannois. And it is not finished.

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