Le Vésinet!!!

Again looking at my travel ,history books in my library I came upon this time that we visited several times while in living in the area you know where. I am shock that could not find any pictures of the town, but nevertheless, need to have it in my blog for the memories of always. Let me tell you about Le Vésinet in my black and white series,no pictures. Hope you enjoy the story as I.

Le Vésinet is located east of the Yvelines department 78 ,in the Île-de-France region. It is a residential town in the west of Paris organized around parks, lakes and artificial rivers, served by green arteries with trees more than a hundred years old, It is 19 km from Paris and 4 km from Saint-Germain-en- Laye. The neighboring towns are Chatou, Croissy-sur-Seine (where I almost lived) , Le Pecq and Montesson. The town of Le Vésinet has not change since king Louis XIV wanted to have a panorama view of Paris from his castle in St Germain en Laye (see post), In fact the current boulevard Carnot was to be extended to the Arc de Triomphe! The town enlarged from its hunting past by creating great road axis such as the Allée du Grand Veneur, rondpoint du Cerf, and Allée de la Meute!

I came here always by car. There are four main axes radiating from the Place de la République located on the site of the forest star rondpoint: the road from Sartrouville (RD 121) towards the north, the road from Montesson (RD 311) towards the northeast , Boulevard Carnot (RD186)(my prefer road) heading east and Route de Croissy (RD 121) heading south-east. Boulevard Carnot connects the Pont du Pecq to the Pont de Chatou and is the main artery of the town. The town is connected to the A86 via the Chatou bridge and to the A13 via the Saint-Germain-en-Laye or Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt interchanges. Le Vésinet is served by two RER A stations: Le Vésinet-Centre and Le Vésinet – Le Pecq, which connect it to Paris via La Défense and to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It also has bus stations in the two RER stations.

A bit of history I like

From the Middle Ages to the reign of Louis XIV, the forest had a bad reputation; however, this did not prevent Louis XIV from hunting there. Cardinal de Noailles had it cleared and built houses and a chapel there for the farmers. Le Vésinet was a hamlet of Chatou before 1726, then of Le Pecq between 1726 and 1874. Under the French revolution, this territory was shared between the new towns of Croissy, Chatou, Montesson and Le Pecq. In 1855, Napoleon III decreed that an asylum would be built south of the Bois du Vésinet for convalescent or mutilated workers in the course of their work. On September 29, 1859, the Imperial Asylum of Le Vésinet was inaugurated. As tradition dictates, the town center features a church, Sainte-Marguerite, consecrated on July 2, 1865, one of the first public buildings made of concrete in France. Also, at Le Vésinet the very first housing estates in France and the sale by auction of the first lots began on October 10, 1858. This was one of the first town planning regulations established in France. On May 31, 1875, Le Vésinet was erected as an autonomous town. You can built and moved here but do not cut the trees a law since creation of the town as well as enclosed the walls, and the hedges cannot be higher than 70 cm (about 28.5 inches).

The Tour de France departed from Le Vésinet in 1925 and then each year from 1927 to 1939 inclusive. The start of the event is in Paris, near the Étoile, but the actual start is given at Le Vésinet and sometimes at night, around two or three in the morning!

Some of the things to see here, me think are:

Wood Cottage at 122, boulevard des Etats-Unis was a factory house built in 1864 by the contractor Tricotel for Mr. Taconnet. Its facades have concrete moldings representing tree branches.

The villa Berthe or La Hublotière at 72, route de Montesson was built in 1896, it is one of the rare creations of the architect Hector Guimard, the creator of the entrances to the Paris metro entrances, See the facade and grille.

The Palais Rose du Vésinet or rose palace at 12, rue Diderot is a villa built on the model of the Grand Trianon of Versailles around 1900 .The palace was inhabited from 1908 to 1921 by the poet and esthète Robert de Montesquiou. In 1912, Robert de Montesquiou had bought adjoining wooded land, where he had a park designed and many vases and statues erected. Above all, he had a rotunda built there, called the Temple of Love, housing the basin that had been the marble bathtub in Madame de Montespan’s apartment at Versailles. The house has been sold many times in its history.

The Vésinet Hospital at 72, avenue de la Princesse as above was a former imperial asylum built in 1859,

The Sainte-Marguerite Church at Place de l’Eglise is the first non-industrial building made of concrete in France. The church was built from 1862 to 1865. In 1866, the parish of Le Vésinet was erected by Napoleon III. In 1896, a sacristy was added in the axis of the choir as well as two side chapels connected by an ambulatory. From 1901 to 1903, Maurice Denis decorated the chapels which were completely restored in 2007-2008.

The Sainte Pauline Church at 55, boulevard d’Angleterre. In 1905, after the separation of Church and State, a local, Mrs. Chardon, offered the bishopric of Versailles the land on which the church would be built. The Sainte Pauline Church was built in memory of her only daughter who died in 1886, also a Pauline. The church was consecrated on July 13, 1913. First attached to Sainte-Marguerite, Sainte-Pauline became a parish on January 15, 1919.

There is another curiosity here already mention on my homage to Josephine Baker, the Franco-American perfomer and resistant of France now at the Panthéon of Paris. She owned a villa that she lived partially too at Le Vésinet well known to me. The house was the Villa Beau-Chêne and she used it from 1929 to 1947. It is at number 52 avenue Georges-Clemenceau, and the current owners have hardly changed the appearance. In this huge house, very turn of the century in appearance, surrounded by a splendid English-style park, Josephine lived surrounded by familiar animals, among which there was even a leopard and a few monkeys, one of which was escaped and was found on the second floor of a neighboring house.

The city of Le Vésinet on its heritage : https://www.levesinet.fr/vivre-au-vesinet/le-patrimoine-de-la-ville/

The Société d’Histoire du Vésinet (historical society of Le Vésinet) : http://www.histoire-vesinet.org/

The Seine Saint Germain en Laye tourist office on Le Vésinet : https://www.seine-saintgermain.fr/en/file/4941469/le-vesinet-une-ville-au-coeur-dun-parc/

There you go folks, a nice chic town with nice history and beautiful architecture all over, worth the detour. Le Vésinet is one to know, and glad now fully in my blog. Again, hope you enjoy the story as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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