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Hauts-de-Seine (Department, France)

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Keywords: hauts-de-seine | ile-de-france | general council | ship (white) | fleur-de-lys (yellow) |
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[Hauts de Seine]by Jaume Ollé

Flag of the Department

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Administrative data

Code: 92
Region: Ile-de-France
Traditional province: Ile-de-France
Bordering departments: Paris, Yvelines, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val-d'Oise

Area: 176 km2
Population (1995): 1,405,300 inhabitants

Préfecture: Nanterre
Sous-préfectures: Antony, Boulogne-Billancourt
Subdivisions: 3 arrondissements, 45 cantons, 36 communes.

The department is named after the river Seine.
It was created in 1964 when the former departments of Seine (75) and Seine-et-Oise (78) were divided.

Description of the flag

The department of Hauts-de-Seine was created in 1964. The coat of arms of the department was designed by Georges Weill, the first Director of the Archives of the Department. The coat of arms blazons:

D'azur à la fleur de lys d'or et à la nef antique d'argent, au chef d'argent chargé d'une fasce ondée d'azur.

G. Weill was asked to design a coat of arms for the department by the first Prefet of Hauts-de-Seine, Claude Boitel. Weill had a degree from the famous Ecoles des Chartes, the national school for archival studies and paleography, but lacked experience in heraldry. He drafted the coat of arms after having consulted heraldry books and one of his fellows from Ecole des Chartres who had specialized in heraldry.
Weill first searched for the coats of arms officially adopted by the municipalities incorporated in the new department. He found that the only geographical link between Genevilliers, the northernmost municipality, and Antony, the southernmost one, was the river Seine (via its affluent the Bièvre, today mostly gone underground due to urban development works).

The first draft had in chief a fasce ondée (wavy fess), from the coat of arms of Nanterre, the prefecture of the department, representing the river Seine. The field of the shield was quartered and charged with attributes from the coat of arms of the main cities of the department: a nef (ship) for Boulogne-Billancourt, sous-préfecture, symbolizing the location of the city on the river Seine ; bezants for Antony, also sous-préfecture, and a huchet (horn) from the arm of Sèvres. The quarters also reflected that nine communes of the new department, including Sévres, were formerly in the department of Seine-et-Oise, whereas the remaining ones were formerly in the department of Seine. The fourth quarter was charged with a fleur-de-lys to recall that the department historically belonged to the domain of the Capetian kings and that a fleur-de-lys was shown on the coat of arms of the royal abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in Paris, whose abbott was made lord of Antony by Charlemagne.

The Prefet found the design a bit too complicated and asked Weill to propose two new drafts, one with the attributes of the municipalities of Boulogne-Billancourt and Antony, the other one with the horn of Sèvres instead of the bezants.

On 1 June 1970, the General Council adopted a modified version of Weil's first new proposal. The red (gules) field of the coat of arms of Boulogne-Billancourt was changed to blue (azure).

Source: Interview of Georges Weill, on the website of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine

Brian Timms gives the following English blazon for the coat of arms of the department:

Per pale azure a fleur de lis or and gules a lymphad argent overall a chief argent a fess wavy azure.

Timms erroneously claims that the arms were designed by Robert Louis and that the lymphad represents Paris. The first error seems understandable since Louis designed several departmental coat of arms, but the second error is against logic, since Paris is not in the department of Hauts-de-Seine. Paris is now a department and was formerly in the department of Seine, along with some municipalities now in Hauts-de-Seine.

Ivan Sache 14 January 2004

Flag of the General Council

[General Council Hauts de Seine]by Jaume Ollé

The coat of arms of the department, in white and blue, was used after 1982 in the flag of the General Council, which also bears the number 92 (code of the departement).

Source: Lucien Philippe, Les drapeaux de la région d'Île-de-France. Emblèmes et pavillons [eep] #17 (January 1989)

Jaume Ollé, 26 December 1997

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