History in Poissy, Yvelines 78! Saint Louis!!!

And I am at it again to revive old glories. This is on a cloudy day in my new neck of the woods. I used to lived not far from here, and came often , the shopping and the Church are really nice, and the local liquor fantastic. It is very easy from Paris too, can be done in half a day tour. I am talking about Poissy, in department 78 Yvelines, region of ïle de France.

Here are my previous blog posts on Poissy to help you enjoy the town better.

Royal Town of Poissy

The town of Saint Louis

The town of king Louis IX

Poissy, the other Royal town

The town of Poissy is only about 30 km from Paris and 8 km from Saint Germain en Laye as well as 23 km from Versailles, the capital of the department  (78) Yvelines. It is on the left bank of the Seine river in a stream of water limted by the forest of Saint Germain en Laye on the east and the Seine river on the west. It has a very good train bus terminal with the train on the Paris Le Havre line coming ouf of gare Saint Lazare in Paris and the terminus for the RER A. The regular train Transilien J takes you even to Mantes La Jolie and Vernon (Giverny)

There is the A13 road passing by it on way to Normandy, the river road D153 is nice coming facing the Collegiale Church, and the D190 along the St Germain en Laye corridor as well as the D308; many intersecting roads with good car travel to and from Paris. The parking by the train station is good or along the Seine river park Meissonier.

The town has a long history starting with the Pincerais under the  Merovingians, and thereafter becomes one of the oldest Royal towns in Ïle de France, birthplace of kings Louis IX (Saint Louis) and  Philippe III. It was one of the earliest towns to received city designation in 1200 by king Philippe-Auguste, as well as an important religious town with convents of the Dominicans, Capuchins, and Ursulines before the French revolution.

Here is the bit of history I like

From the time of the Gauls ,Poissy  was a modest town of farmers and fishermen on the limit of the territory of the  Carnutes or  Chartres (Carnutum). They have discovered some tombs on the street of  rue de l’Église  when doing work that is from that period. On the Roman times, Poissy was one of the crossing points of the Seine river. Recently, they have found evidence of Antiquity or the Middle Ages by the area of the Royal Priory. Under the Merovingians, Poissy, was called  Pinciacum, and the territory extended to the north of the Seine river to the limit with the forest of Yvelines all including the valley of the Mauldre. Under the Capétiens, there was already a castle here and the first one old castle next to the collegiate Church was on a site of a hunting meeting place of the Mérovingiens. The second or new castle was built probably by Constance d’Arles, 3rd wife of king Robert II the Fair, and was at the enclos of the abbey next to the old castle. In 1200, king Philippe-Auguste gives this castle to his son Louis VIII on the occasion of his marriage to Blanche of Castile.

Saint Louis was born here in 1214, probably in the castle and was baptised in the parish Church of Notre Dame(today collegiate), later he signed private letters as  Louis de Poissy or  Louis, lord of  Poissy  to remember his baptism here.  In 1297, the Pope Boniface VIII does the canonisation for Saint Louis here.  The king Philippe le Bel, founded an abbey of Dominicans here in honor of Saint Louis that was his grandfather.

In 1245, is born here Philippe III le Hardi, son of king Louis IX , and  Marguerite de Provence , and he ruled from 1270 to 1285.  During the War of Hundred Years in 1346 the king of England , Edward III pillage and burn the city  after landing in Normandy and coming along the Valley of the Seine, and defeat king Philippe VI de Valois at Crécy before his capture at Calais. In 1369, king Charles V ordered destroyed what was left of the castle of Poissy, that was burned in 1346 by the Black Prince son of the king of England. In 1429, the troops of Joanne of Arc takes the tower or tour de Béthemont aux Godons. Poissy is again occupied in 1441 by John Talbot and the English and again pillage the town and the abbey.

It is at Poissy in 1561 that the colloquial of Poissy takes place. This was organized by Catherine de Médicis, to meet Catholics and Protestants held on the refectory room after been restored from the pillages of John Talbot. The failure of the effort of reconciliation gave light to the Wars of Religion. Here in 1567, took place the Battle of Poissy between Calvinists(led by the Prince Condé) and Catholics.

In December 12/13 1840, the flotilla of transports carrying the rests of Emperor  Napoléon Ier made a stop at Poissy and a ceremony was held the Sunday December 13. An interesting anecdote, worth mentioning even if no longer there.  There was a live animal market here very important in the region, on the route Paris to Rouen to provide beef to Paris. It was the right to trade given by king Louis IX in 1245 and the names of some streets tells you of the activity that was here such as  rue de la Triperie (tripes) , rue des Moutons (lambs), rue du Bœuf couronné (beef), ruelle aux Vaches (cows). This concentration of animals also needed great expanse of land that was to be built on it . In 1867, the live animal market of Poissy, was cancelled and transferred to the new market at Villette  in Paris on that year.

During the Franco Prussian war of 1870, the town was occupied for several months in 1870/71. The bridge was mined to slow down the Prussian advance arriving from Saint Germain en Laye; the town was submitted to requisitions and needed to maintained a regiment of cavalry and their horses. During WWI, Poissy was in the field of tranches from Paris and many fortified works were done in town, the town hosted two military hospitals for the battlefront wounded.

f From 1928 to 1931 the architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret dit Le Corbusier  built the villa  Les Heures claires better known as the Villa Savoye. IT was damaged during WWII and taken by the city in 1958 that wanted demolished. A campaign was done with the intervention  of  d’André Malraux ,then Minister of Culture to save the villa,and of course it was succesful. In 2016, a convention between the town of Poissy and the Fondation Le Corbusier was signed to open the museum Le Corbusier.

During WWII the town was again occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1944. The town of Poissy is liberated by the American army in August 26 1944.

Some things to see

The main sight to see is the Collégiale Church of Notre Dame, a Roman style of the 12C with two octagonal bells and restored in the 19C. The old bridge of Poissy dates from the 12C destroyed in 1944; it was 410 meters long with 24 arcs now only 3 remains connecting the left bank of the Seine to the isle Migneaux in the middle of the river . It has been replaced by a new bridge of about 300 meters long. The Porterie of the Priory is what is left of the old abbey of Dominicans where the Colloquial of Poissy was held. The Priory founded by king Philippe le  Bel in the 13C was destroyed i the 18C including the Saint Louis Church. The Porterie houses today a very nice old toys museum.

Poissy

The city hall or Hôtel de ville at rue de la Gare was an old convent of the Capuchins dating from 1620 transformed into city hall/school in 1837. A new city hall was done opening in  1937 with the innovation of integrating a theater.  Renovated in 1991, the theater room has an exceptional accoustic hosting concerts and recordings. The Pavillon de l’Octroi, on an octagonal shape built in 1830 replaces the old gate to Paris (today the tourist office of Poissy).  It has sculptured symbolising the activities of the town at the time such as fishing, agriculture, and live animal market.

The Villa Les Heures Claires  aka Villa Savoye built from 1928-1931 as mentioned above. It is constructed in armored cement with geometrical lines on pylons.  It was occupied by the Nazis and later the Americans during WWII and later abandon for a long period and even in 1958 taken 6 hectares to built a high school lycée Le Corbusier. The STate took over in 1964 and important restorations were done in the 1980-1990 period.

The wonderful delicous Distillerie du noyau de Poissy a herbs liquor with a secret recipe with a store at the rue du Général-de-Gaulle. The Maison Centrale de Poissy or prison been before the convent of the Ursulines from the end of the 17C, renovated since to house the prison. The Château de Villiers, built on orders of the baron Léonce Hély d’Oissel (1803 – 1883). A Louis XIII style building done in stone and brick. In 1976 the town purchase it to open a playcenter; which the presence of the castle makes it very romantic. The Château de La Coudraie, built in 1870  is located in the rue de Migneaux.

The Château de Bethemont,modified in 1858, today host a park and golf course. The manoir normand de Donat Agache built in 1928. The Chapel or Chapelle Saint-Lazare de la Maladrerie,dating from 1120-1140, discovered by an archeologist Edgar Mareuse (1848 – 1926). The tower or tour de Bethemont built in the 14C to 15C damage in 1429 while been reconquered by the troops of Joanne d’Arc and taken by the English that made it uninhabited and of no use.

The 12 hectares park or  parc Meissonier  from city center along the avenue du Bon Roi Saint-Louis (road D153). It has an English style park with a lake of 8 000 m2,a rosary , a theater and a green house.  Owned by the city since 1952 arranged from part of the old enclos of the abbey. The parc de Villard, next to parc Meissonier, own by the city since 1976 ,has a castle, playground and mini farm.

As an anecdote of our memories we came to shop at the Art de Vivre shopping center in Orgeval very close to Poissy and along the A13; it was always a nice family outing; now I read that by 2020 they will demolish the shopping center .There are only a six stores left from the 25 of before and this year the nice bookstore we purchased Gibert Joseph is closing. The site still posted here for the memories. http://www.centrecommercial-orgeval.fr/artdeVivreOrgeval/fr/orgeval

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here which I think is worth a detour are

City of Poissy tourist interest page in French : https://www.ville-poissy.fr/index.php/sport-et-culture/culture.html

Tourist office of Poissy in English: https://www.poissy-tourisme.fr/en/

Dept 78 Yvelines tourist office in French on Poissy: http://www.sortir-yvelines.fr/Art-et-culture/Art-et-culture-dans-les-Yvelines/visite-decouverte-yvelines/visiter-poissy-ville-royale

Ïle de France region tourism on Poissy : http://en.visitparisregion.com/museums-monuments-paris/museums-and-cultural-places/villa-savoye-72095.html

Hope you enjoy it, I did while living nearby; I think is worth a detour.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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