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Échirolles (Municipality, Isère, France)

Last modified: 2022-03-06 by ivan sache
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Flag of Échirolles - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 11 September 2021

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Presentation of Échirolles

The municipality of Échirolles (36,932 inhabitants in 2019; 786 ha; municipal website) is located just south of Grenoble.

Échirolles was allegedly named for Latin scuriolus, "a place inhabited by squirrels", referring here to woody hills. Another possible etymology relates Échirolles to léchirolle, "a place planted with sedges [laîches]", here the marshy plain of river Drac that once covered the whole municipal territory and was subsequently drained. Another, local etymology claims that Échirolles was derived from Latin "ex Cularo", "out of Grenoble". In the 13th century, the Knight Templars established a commandery in Échirolles; they cleared and drained the neighborhood, so that Échirolles increased its size far beyond the hills where it had already been founded.
Established as a parish in 1825 by separation from Bresson, Échirolles was granted on 25 December 1833 the municipal status. In 1926, the Société Nationale de la Viscose built an artificial silk factory, complemented in 1927 by a workers' housing estate, which boosted the urban development of the town.

Count Hilaire de Chardonnet (1836-1924) invented the first artificial silk thread, made from wood pulp. In 1925, Louis Chatin and Edmond Bizot founded the Société Nationale de la Viscose (SNV) for the industrial production of viscose thread. The first rayon thread was produced in the Échirolles factory on 7 May 1927. The factory soon hired up to 1,000 workers, half of them being women. Working environment was so harsh that most local workers refused to work there, being replaced by immigrant workers, who soon represented 90% of the manpower. The SNV was taken over in 1951 by the Société de la Viscose fran├žaise, in 1956 by the Compagnie Industrielle des textiles artificiels et synthétiques, and eventually, in 1971, by Rhône-Poulenc. The factory was eventually closed on 2 March 1989, being remembered by the Viscose Museum inaugurated in 1992 (website).

Ivan Sache, 17 September 2021

Flag of Échirolles

The flag of Échirolles (photo, photo), is white with the municipal logo adopted in 1994. The letters of different size represent a town's skyline with diverse architecture. The squirrel, borrowed from the former logo, was stylized to emphasize the town's dynamism and its orientation to the future. The red lines connect the graphic element and the lettering, like the town that aims at reconciling tradition and modernity.
[municipal website]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 17 September 2021