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Chauny (Municipality, Aisne, France)

Last modified: 2024-01-06 by olivier touzeau
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Flag of Chauny - Current and former flags - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 5 July 2020

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Presentation of Chauny

The municipality of Chauny (11,653 inhabitants in 2019; 1,328 ha) is located half way (40 km) of Laon, Soissons and Saint-Quentin.

The inhabitants of Chauny are nicknamed "singes" (monkeys), recalling that the town earned national fame for its jugglers who trained dogs and monkeys. The jugglers' ceremony was celebrated every 1st of October until 1678. A tradition says that the "monkey" nickname dates from the early 17th century, when the newly created harquebusiers' company adopted a monkey as their emblem, probably as a reference to the jugglers' ceremony.
Another story tells that the inhabitants of Chauny once ordered swans ("cygnes") in Paris, but wrote "cynge" for "cygne" on the order, and were therefore delivered monkeys.
The Chauny jugglers were indeed so famous that François Rabelais quoted them: Gargantua s'amusait moult voir les bateleurs surtout ceux de Chauny en Picardie, grands jaseurs et beaux bailleurs de balivernes en matière de singes verts (Gargantua much enjoyed watching jugglers, especially those of Chauny in Picardy, great prattlers and nice tellers of balony related to green monkeys).
[Maximilien Melleville. Histoire de la ville de Chauny. 1851]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 8 February 2022

Flag of Chauny

The flag of Chauny (photo) is white with the municipal logo. The former flag was white with the former municipal logo (photo). The former logo was deemed obsolete after the incorporation of former Region Picardie into the new Region Hauts-de-France.
[L'Aisne nouvelle, 25 April 2016]

Blue and yellow are the main colors of the municipal arms, "Azure a tower or port and windows sable orled by seven fleurs-de-lis or", which illustrate the town's Latin motto, "Lilia Calnacis validae sunt turribus arces" (The fleurs-de-lis are strong defenses for Chauny's towers). Shown in the Armorial Généralimage)> and suppressed during the French Revolution, the arms were re-established by an Ordinance signed on 7 December 1818 by King Louis XVIII.
[Armorial des villes et des villges de France]

The "C" of "Chauny" is modeled on a stained glass window designed in Art Deco style. This refers to the reconstruction of the town after its complete destruction during the First World War.
The association "La Renaissance des Cités" (Rebirth of the Towns) was set up in France in August 1916 to appoint commissions composed of politicians, architects and urban planners aimed at "assisting destroyed towns to adopt esthetic and hygienic planning schemes for the inhabitants' well-being".
In 1918, Deputy Léon Accambray (1868-1934; in office, 1914-1932) established contact between La Renaissance des Cités and the Comité d'Initiative pour la Reconstruction de Chauny. This resulted in the establishment - and funding - of a reconstruction plan, the first one officially designed in France. The plan proposed by architect Louis Rey (1885-1972) was selected in 1919 among 15 proposals, which were shown in an exhibition inaugurated on 30 June 1919 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Art Deco style was highlighted by the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts organized in Paris in 1925; several artists involved in the reconstruction of Chauny took part to the Exhibition.
Charles Luciani (1891-1951) designed the Town Hall, the Fish Market, and the Notre-Dame church (completed in 1930). The church's stained glass windows were designed by Louis Mazetier (1888-2952). Ironworker Edgar Brandt (1880-1960), designer of the honor gate of the 1925 Exhibition, produced the Town's Hall entrance doors, balustrades and stair rails. Régis Jardel (1886-1943) designed the St. Martin church, which was consecrated on 30 January 1927; the church's decoration is credited to Henri Bouchard (1875-1960), who also designed the sculptures (with Paul Landowski) of the Reformation Wall in Geneva, the main altar of the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, and the pediment of the Saint Pierre de Chaillot church in Paris.
[Municipal website]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 8 February 2022