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Rocquencourt (Municipality, Yvelines, France)

Last modified: 2010-11-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: yvelines | rocquencourt | rock (red) | fleurs-de-lis: 3 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Rocquencourt]

Municipal flag of Rocquencourt - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 27 June 2005

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Presentation of Rocquencourt

The municipality of Rocquencourt (3,251 inhabitants in 1999) is located north-west of Versailles. It is mostly known for the "Rocquencourt triangle", which is the junction of the two highways A12 and A13 and the place of a very "popular" traffic jam in the west of Paris.
Rocquencourt is member of the Communauté de communes du Grand Parc, which includes the municipalities of Buc, Bièvres, Les Loges-en-Josas, Jouy-en-Josas, Fontenay-le-Fleury, Rocquencourt, Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole, Toussus-le-Noble, Viroflay and Versailles.

Rocquencourt was named after its first lord, Roccon (Rocconis Curtum), who was a patrice (higher dignitary) of King of Neustria Thierry III (673 and 675-690 or 691). Thierry III was the son of Clovis II; he was overthrown by his brother Childeric II, King of Austrasia in 673, reconquered his throne in 675 and was defeated in Tertry (c. 687) by Pepin d'Herstal.
The domain of Rocquencourt was given by Thierry III to the abbey of St. Germain l'Auxerrois in Paris in 678. A few years later, Abbot Landebert exchanged the domain with the abbey of St. Denis.

On 1 July 1815, Napoléon I's Grande Armée fought its last battle in Rocquencourt and the neighbouring municipality of Le Chesnay. After the defeat of Waterloo on 18 June 1815, Grouchy's army withdrew to France via Namur and Dinant. The army, including some 28,000 able soldiers, 1,000 casualties and 100 cannons entered Paris on 29 June, a few days before the Prussians. The Brits and the Dutch stayed near Senlis.
Napoléon abdicated on 22 June; on 29 June, he was supposed to surrender to the Brits but he donned his Colonel's uniform and proposed to the provisory government to command the army for the last time. He probably believed he would be able to turn the situation round. However, nobody listened to him and he had to leave the castle of Malmaison in civilian clothes; Prussian cavalrymen arrived a few hours too late to arrest him.
The provisory government led by Fouché appointed Davout General in Chief. The French troops concentrated in Paris had as many soldiers as the invaders and much more cannons. Moreover, the Prussians and the Anglo-Dutch troops were separated. Davout sent to Wellington and Blücher a proposal of armistice but asked Exelmans to muster the cavalry located on the left bank of the Seine and to march against the Prussians, who stayed in Versailles. Exelmans ordered the Piré division to rush to Rocquencourt via Sèvres and Vaucresson in order to block the Prussian line of retreat and commanded himself the central column made of two dragoons' divisions, which rushed straight to Versailles via Plessis-Piquet and Vélizy. The Prussian hussars left Versailles for Plessis-Piquet and were repelled by the French dragoons in Vélizy. They withdrew to Versailles but could not enter the city because of the dragoons chasing them. On their way to Saint-Germain, their first squadron was shot at the entrance of Rocquencourt by Piré's infantrymen hidden in the fields. The Prussian general von Sohr ordered his men to escape through the fields but was himself injured, captured and brought back to Paris. The Prussians were blocked into a small, narrow street in Le Chesnay and attempted to hide in the yard of the Poupinet farm, where all of them were killed or captured. However, the main body of the Prussian army rushed to Saint-Germain; Exelmans resisted until the next day and withdrew to Paris with 437 prisoners and several horses. A few days later, Exelmans attempted to avoid the capitulation of the French army, to no avail. Exelmans was confered the title of Marshal of France in 1851 and died the next year after a horse fall.

The national arboretum of Chèvreloup is located on the municipal territory of Rocquencourt. It was set up in 1927 in a former part of the park of the palace of Versailles and is managed by the National Museum of Natural History. It is used as an annex of the Jardin des Plantes, located in the center of Paris. Its oldest tree is a Japanese sophora planted under King Louis XV. Chèvreloup is mostly known for its collection of conifers, including some weird-shaped trees obtained by breeding.

Rocquencourt houses the oldest of the six campuses of Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique (INRIA), a state agency founded in 1967 as Institut de recherche d'informatique et d'automatique (IRIA). INRIA is run by the Ministry of Research and the Ministry of Industry. It is specialized in the sciences and technologies of communication and information (STIC). INRIA employs in Rocquencourt 480, including 299 scientists working in 41 research teams. INRIA manages AFNIC, the French TLD Internet registry.


Ivan Sache, 27 June 2005

Municipal flag of Rocquencourt

The new city hall of Rocquencourt was inaugurated in February 2005. Pictures of the ceremony available on the municipal website show the municipal flag, which is white with the municipal coat of arms.

The municipal coat of arms of Rocquencourt is D'azur à trois fleurs de lis d'or, au chef aussi d'or, chargé d'un roc de gueules mouvant de la partition ("Azure three fleurs-de-lis or a chief of the same a rock gules").
These arms were designed by Robert Louis after a municipal seal used in 1790, whose cast is kept in the National Archives. They were adopted by the Municipal Council on 2 July 1956 and officially registered in the Armorial of the Cities of the Department of Seine-et-Oise (the forerunner of the department of Yvelines).
The arms are canting (rock); the fleurs-de-lis recall that Rocquencourt is located close to the royal town of Versailles.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 27 June 2005