Le Vésinet

Le Vésinet

Elegant architecture and flowery environment, that' s the description of Le Vésinet. Indeed, even though it looks like a small village, Le Vésinet is a wealthy town, marked by its history. Initially a hunting ground, Le Vésinet experienced in a very short time, a strong development but above all a gentrification. In fact, the Ibis district inherits its name from its festive past. In the past, the island hosted a casino, a pavilion as well as various sports clubs which made the glory of Le Vésinet. Beyond that, Le Vésinet is a city park, one of the few in France, which gives it an exceptional element. In addition to welcoming celebrities throughout its history, Le Vésinet continues to be prized by the stars mainly for its discretion and charm. To live in this luxury village is to enjoy a privileged life, in a quiet and bucolic area just a stone's throw from Paris.

Originally, Le Vésinet was for a long time a small part of an immense forest, the forest of Yveline, of which the forest of Rambouillet is a small remnant. In 704, a charter lets appear for the first time the name of Vésinet under the Latin name of Visinolium or Vesinolium. King Childebert III confided the lands of Pecq and the forest of Vésinet to the abbey of Fontenelle ( later to become) Saint Wandrille. At the end of the 12th century, it was the property of the de Montfort family. The marriage of Anne of Brittany, heiress of the Montfort family, with Charles VIII gave the ownership of the forest to the kings of France. They use it for hunting. In 1569, the lands of Le Vésinet were ceded to Albert de Gondi, then Henri IV bought them in 1595 to enhance his castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye with a large hunting ground, in spite of the bad reputation of the forest, comparable to the one of the forest of Bondy. Under Louis XIV, the cardinal of Noailles really begins the clearing with the construction of a village and a chapel. During the Revolution, the forest was divided between four communes (Montesson, Chatou, Le Pecq and Croissy), and wilderness exploitation developed there until the Forestry Code enacted by the Restoration (1827) which regulated the exploitation of France's forests. Then, under the Empire, Napoleon attempted to reintegrate it into the Imperial Estate. In 1837, the new railway line from Paris-Saint-Lazare to St Germain was inaugurated and provisionally ended in the commune of Le Pecq, at the "Pont du Pecq" because, technically, the train could not cross the difference in level existing before St Germain; the line was extended in 1848, and the original station was moved to Le Vésinet in 1862. It was under the Second Empire that the town of Le Vésinet really developed; an imperial asylum for workers crippled by labor was inaugurated in 1859. Today it is the hospital. A few years earlier, in 1855, the Duke of Morny, half-brother of Napoleon III, with the aim of financial speculation, organized the exchange of territories located in St Germain for the forest of Le Vésinet, in order to found a new town. It was Alphonse Pallu who carried out the liquidation operation and in 1856, the Pallu company was founded and developed the land. Once this was completed, Alphonse Pallu became the first mayor of the town. The allotments were sold little by little and the strict specifications of its constructions, respecting the origins of the city, attracted many buyers. The city plan takes the example of the English garden cities, as wished by its architect, the Count de Choulot. In 1866 a racecourse was created near the "racecourse lake", which became the Lake of the Ibis, and the church of Saint-Marguerite, which has just been built, was erected as a parish the same year. In 1875, the town became a commune, and its residential site was classified in 1930. Today, five buildings are classified as Historic Monuments, such as the Villa Berthe (Hector Guimard, 1896), or the Palais Rose, a replica of the Grand Trianon, built in 1900. In addition, for about fifteen years, before the war, the start of the Tour de France is given to Le Vésinet. The environment of Le Vésinet seduced many personalities such as Apollinaire or Vlaminck who lived there during their childhood, or the philosopher Alain who died there in 1951. Similarly, Antoine Bourdelle, Joséphine Baker or, more recently, Philippe Bouvard lived there. A development plan is put in place to protect the site and build while respecting the special character of the place. In fact, in 1934, Lake Ibis, its lawns and rivers were classified, as were all the houses in 1970. Also, the site is rewarded by the distinction of the Four Flowers and the Golden Flower thanks to its flowered grounds. During the Second World War, the city was bombed three times, causing some destruction. Then, the post-war period marked the beginning of reconstruction and beautification, making the city one of the few park-cities in France.

The Ibis district

The district takes its name from the Pavilion, the island and the park that make it up. The d'Anterroches company, formerly Pallu, was the owner and dug the Lac du Vésinet there. In 1906, they obtained the right to run a casino and could carry out boat rentals for tourists. Also, the park takes its name from a couple of Egyptian ibis that had been brought as an attraction. In 1914, the city became the owner of the park and had a pavilion built there in 1927, but also formed a skaters' circle and a tennis club. Today, the picturesque character of the place continues to attract Parisians looking for an atypical green space.

The Princess district

The district was a royal hunting ground, and its streets bear names in memory of this past such as " road of the Pheasantry " or " alley of the Pack ". The name of the district originates from the princess of Conti who built a pavilion there, which has now disappeared. Also, this neighborhood accommodates the national asylum founded by Empress Eugénie. The park of this institution became a market garden where farmers occupied Breton-style houses.

Le Pecq

Originally a vast forest belonging to Saint-Germain, Le Nôtre built a terrace there which allowed the construction of houses no more than twelve meters high below in order to preserve the beauty of the place.

Charmettes-Merlettes

Just like the Princesse district, the Charmettes-Merlettes district is a residential area that houses small villas from the 1930s, popular with families. In fact, many businesses have taken up residence there, and children's facilities such as daycare centers and gardens are a delight for the youngest children. Similarly, the Stade des Merlettes animates the district by attracting sportsmen; the fencer Brice Guyard started there.