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Vittel (Municipality, Vosges, France)

Last modified: 2021-03-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Vittel - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 8 September 2020


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Presentation of Vittel

The municipality of Vittel (4,951 inhabitants in 2018; 2,412 ha) is located 40 km west of Épinal.

Vittel was divided into two sections by river Petit Vair. Although compact, the village had two justices and two parishes. The Revolution put an end to this division by making Vittel a canton capital.
In 1854, after visiting the nearby spa of Contrexéville, lawyer Louis Bouloumié purchased Fontaine de Gérémoy, the site of the modern-day town of Vittel. Two years later, he built a pavilion from which developed the grand, luxurious architecture which characterises the site. The town was also a recognized spa, bottling and exporting mineral water, now bottled and sold by Nestlé Waters France, under the Vittel brand.

Vittel served as an internment camp for enemy aliens of the German Reich during World War II. Hundreds of American and British families were interned there from September 1942. A few hundred Jewish people, citizens of German enemies, were also sent there by the Germans who hoped to use them to exchange for German prisoners or nationals held elsewhere. Most of Vittel's Jewish detainees were deported to Auschwitz and murdered there in 1944.

Olivier Touzeau, 8 September 2020


Flag of Vittel

The flag of Vittel (photo, photo) is vertically divided red-yellow, charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms, "Quarterly, 1. and 4. Lozengy or and sable (Lignéville), 2. and 3. Gules two keys argent in saltire (Remiremont). Inescutcheon per bend sinister wavy gules and or".

Before the French Revolution, Vittel was composed of two parts. The Grand Ban / Ban Henrion, located on the left bank of river Vair, was owned by the Nobles Dames of Remiremont, while the Petit Ban, located on the right bank of the Vair, belonged to the Lignéville family.
The first and fourth quarters of the arms feature the arms of the Lignéville family, while the second and third arms feature the arms of the Nobles Dames of Remiremont. The escutcheon represents the two bans separated by the sinuous Vair.
[Armorial des villes et villages de France]

The Lignéville family was among the highest noble lineages in the Duchy of Lorraine. The Châtelet, Haraucourt, Lenoncourt and Lignéville formed the Grands Chevaux (Big Horses), the topmost class of the social hierarchy of the time. Just below the Grands Chevaux, the Armoises, Beauvau, Choiseul, Custine, Ficquelmont, Gourcy, Ludre, Mitry and Raigecourt formed the Petits Chevaux (Small Horses).
Members of the Grands Chevaux had the privilege to wear high heels at the court. Émilie du Ch√Ętelet (1705-1749), philosopher and physicist, mistress of Voltaire from 1734 to her death, was the star of the court of Duke Stanislas in Lunéville, where she never missed an opportunity to clap her heels to emphasize her rank. The aspiration of Petits Chevaux to update their rank to Grands Chevaux is the origin of the French expression Monter sur ses grands chevaux, lit. "to climb on big horses", meaning "to vehemently defend a point of view".
[Couleur XVIIIe, 26 February 2015]

Olivier Touzeau & , 9 September 2020