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Étalle (Municipality, Province of Luxembourg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-06-21 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Etalle]

Municipal flag of Étalle - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 4 November 2005

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Presentation of Étalle and its villages

The municipality of Étalle (5,389 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 7,810 ha) is located in the massif of Ardenne, in the center of the region of Gaume, 15 km west of Arlon. The municipality of Étalle is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Étalle, Buzenol, Chantemelle, Sainte-Marie, Vance and Villers-sur-Semois.

In the Gallo-Roman times, Étalle was a staging post called Stabulum, located on the way linking Reims to Trier.
The ruins of the castle of Montauban, now lost in the middle of the Ardenne forest, recall the once famous Chanson des Quatre Fils Aymon, aka Chanson de Renaut de Montauban, named after his main character, Baron Renaut de Montauban.
The chanson was written at the end of the XIIIth century and became quickly a best-seller, read all over Europe in all social classes. It is difficult to summarize the complicate and long (18,000 verses) story, which is an often incoherent accumulation of supernatural episodes. As for most chansons, the story begins with a silly event having disproportionate causes. Bertomaï, Charlemagne's nephew, hit Renaut de Montauban during a chess play. Upset Renaud complained at Charlemagne, who decided to turn a blind eye and protected his nephew. Renaud had no other solution (!) but killing Bertomaï. The murder caused a vendetta opposing Charlemagne to Renaut and his three brothers, Barons Alart, Guichart and Richart. They were the sons of Aymes de Dordone, therefore their collective nickname of Fils Aymon. The early episodes of the story take place in the Ardenne, where the Aymon fought Beuve d'Aigremont and were besieged in Montauban. Afterwards, the story is even more complicated, probably because unrelated sections were added to the early manuscript: Renaut went to Constantinople and Jerusalem with the magician Maugis, came back to France and eventually to Cologne, dressed as a beggar. He contributed there to the building of the cathedral and was killed by workers. His tomb was a place of miracles and the popular cult of St. Renaut was born. The chanson had sequels in Spain and Italy (Renaut being Italianized as Rinaldi) until the XVth century.
Another important brother-in-arms of Renaut is the mighty and clever horse Bayard, which is recalled by different places in the Ardenne. Bayard carried away the four Fils Aymon from Charlemagne's wrath; its trace can be seen on the Rocher Bayard, near Dinant; the Rocher des Quatre Fils Aymon, near Monthermé in France, is made of four quartzit spurs recalling the four barons riding on Bayard.

Joseph Philippe Hyacinthe, first Duke de Coorswaren-Looz (1689-1777), was lord of Sainte-Marie and was buried in the village church, along with the second Duke, Lamoral de Coorswaren-Looz (1736-1785).

In Sivry, the stone cross known as Croix Lepage bears the date 1815. Two members of the Lepage family, Pierre-Louis and Henri-Joseph, were members of Napoléon's Grande Armée and promised to build a cross if they came back alive to their village. They indeed came back since they are listed as war veterans on a decision released by the Municipal Council of Vance on 14 March 1848. Another tradition says that a Lepage built the cross after having been miraculously saved from the last pack of wolves seen in the Ardenne.

Source: Étalle tourist office website

Ivan Sache, 4 November 2005

Municipal flag of Étalle

The municipal flag of Étalle is made of five horizontal white-red-white-red-white stripes. The white stripes is charged with six bells of blue vair.
The flag follows the proposal made by the Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Community, described by Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones as:
Cinq laizes longitudinales, la première et la troisième blanches avec six cloches de vair bleues, la deuxième et la quatrième rouges, la cinquième blanche.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 4 November 2005