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La Seyne-sur-Mer (Municipality, Var, France)

Last modified: 2022-03-05 by ivan sache
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Flag of La Seyne-sur-Mer, two versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 29 August 2017

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Presentation of La Seyne-sur-Mer

The municipality of La Seyne-sur-Mer (64,675 inhabitants in 2014, therefore the second most populated municipality in the Department of Var; 2,217 ha) is located just west of Toulon.

La Seyne-sur-Mer emerged around 1630, when three hamlets (Beaussier, Cavaillon and Tortel) established on the shore of the Bay of Toulon by merchants, farmers, fishers and craftsmen from Six-Fours merged together. The new settlement was named La Sagno, after sagne, the local name of the common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.) once common on the marshy shore. The port was established in 1580, to be protected by a watch tower erected in 1589.
La Seyne was granted municipal status by Letters Patented signed by Cardinal Mazarin in July 1657, separating from Six-Fours. The modernization of the port and the town was achieved in 1691. The first shipyards, building wooden ships, also date from that period.
Population increased to 5,035 in 1790. In September 1793, the Royalists delivered the port to the English fleet, which was expelled the same year (16-17 December) by Napoléon Bonaparte. The fisher's guild was founded in 1802 while paving of the streets was initiated in 1824. Building of iron ships started in 1835.

Population increased to 7,400 in 1852, while the Société des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée was established in 1856.
Officially renamed La Seyne-sur-Mer on 8 April 1888, the town was visited from 13 to 30 October 1893 by a Russian fleet commanded by Rear Admiral Avellan, composed of the flagship Emperor Nicolas I and of the vessels Amiral Nakimoff, Pamyat Azowa and Rynda. Some 20,000 people watched the entrance of the fleet in the port. The Russian Navy was a regular customer of the shipyard, which manufactured the destroyers Iaroslav (1879), Tzarewitch (1898), Bayan (1899), and Admiral Makaroff (1905). On 27 October 1893, the destroyer Jauréguiberry was launched, in the presence of Sadi Carnot, President of the Republic.
During the Second World War, La Seyne was bombed on 23 November 1943 and 11 March 1944. The air raid held on 29 April 1944 by the US Air Force claimed 126 lives and destroyed more than 60% of the town. On 17 August 1944, the German army suppressed the shipyard and looted the port. Liberated on 28 August by the Senegalese and Moroccan tirailleurs, the town was rebuilt from 1944 to 1950.

Close to bankrupt, the Société des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée was succeeded on 1 July 1966 by the CNIM (Constructions navales et industrielles de la Méditerranée). Under the leadership of Marcel Berre, the CNIM experienced a golden decade. On 1 January 1982, the French government restructured shipbuilding, establishing the Normed, as the merger of the CNIM with the shipyards of La Ciotat and Dunkirk. The shipyard of La Seyne was eventually closed on 28 February 1989.
[Archives, souvenirs et écrits divers de Marius Autran (1910-2007).
Marius Autran was teacher in different primary and secondary schools (1932-1966). Member of the Parti communiste français, he joined the anti-German resistance in 1941 and served as a Municipal Councillor in La Seyne (1950-1977) and Regional Councillor (1974-1977). From 1950 to 1977, Marius Autran contributed more than 400 articles to the local press; in 1982, he started a fecund career of local historian, publishing Images de la vie seynoise d'antan (8 volumes, 1987-2001). Several of his works are available on the website he established in 2000, now maintained and still increased by Jean-Claude Autran

Ivan Sache, 10 December 2017

Traditional flag of La Seyne-sur-Mer

The flag of La Seyne-sur-Mer is vertically divided red-blue (photo, photo). More recently, the flag was used with the municipal coat of arms in the center (photo, photo)

The arms of La Seyne-sur-Mer were inscribed on 16 July 1700 in the Armorial Général (image), under "la communauté du lieu de la Seine" as "Azure two fishes argent in fess the second contourned a chief gules charged with three bread round loafs or two and three"
Red and blue were the colors of the cap of the Consuls (town magistrates); they were derived from the colors of Six-Fours, red and black, with blue substituted to black for the sake of differentiation. The fishes recall that La Seyne was founded mostly by fishers. The bread loafs refer to the the Feeding the multitude miracles.

The original arms were surrounded by reeds and surmounted by a Count's coronet itself surmounted by a bishop's cross, since the lords of La Seyne were the Count of Provence and the Abbot of St. Victor (Marseilles). The Republican arms used a mural crown instead and branches of laurel and oak.
With time, different versions of the arms were used concomitantly. The arms engraved on a stone in the Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage chapel probably served as the model for designs with brioches instead of bread loafs in chief.
In 2006, the municipality restored the arms with the bread loafs in chief and appended the Cross of War, awarded to the town on 11 November 1948, to the shield.
[Officially non-official website]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 10 December 2017

Logo flag of La Seyne-sur-Mer


The municipality uses a white flag with the logo adopted in October 2020 (photo, July 2021). The new logo has basically the same central design, this time on a disk representing a yellow sun on a wavy white and blue sea.
[Var-Matin, 8 October 2020]

Logo flag of La Seyne-sur-Mer - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 9 August 2021

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Former logo flags of La Seyne-sur-Mer - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 29 August 2017

La Seyne also used a glaucous/grayish blue flag with the former municipal logo (photo). The logo was presented in the municipal review Le Seynois, No. 5, May-June 2009. The two fishes escape from the coat of arms to sign an "S" for "La Seyne-sur-Mer". A stylized, elegant "S" to highlight all the ambitions of a town that deliberately looks to the future without denying its past.
Before 2009, the flag was white with the previous logo (photo).

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 9 August 2021