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Le Tréport (Municipality, Seine-Maritime, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-22 by ivan sache
Keywords: treport (le) |
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Flag of Le Tréport - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 18 September 2005

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Presentation of Le Tréport

The municipality of Le Tréport (4,723 inhabitants in 2018; 677 ha; municipal website) is located on the left bank of the river Bresle and on its mouth into the Channel. The Bresle is the historical limit between Normandy and Picardy, therefore Le Tréport is the northernmost port and sea resort in Normandy. The three neighbouring towns of Le Tréport, the sea resort of Mers-les-Bains located in Picardy just across the Bresle, and the historical town of Eu, located on the Bresle a few kilometers upstream, are known as the Three Sister Towns.

In the Gallo-Roman times, the town of Augusta, built on the Bresle, had a river port in Augum (Eu) and a sea "outer" port, Ulterior Portus, which became later Le Tréport.
The Norsemen landed in Le Tréport around 860. In the 11th century, Robert, Count of Eu and his wife Béatrix founded in Le Tréport the Saint-Michel's Benedictine abbey on the model of the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey. Normandy was then protected by St. Michael on its two maritime borders, in the west against Brittany and in the east against Picardy. The abbey of Le Tréport, very wealthy until the 14th century, was looted several times during the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of Religion (16th century). After a rebirth in the 17th century, the abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution.

Around 1101, Count Henri I of Eu diverted the Bresle and the port of Le Tréport silted up. Dieppe superseded it as the most important port of northern Normandy. The town was burnt down by the English in 1339. In 1360, a storm flooded a part of the town, the church and the cemetery included.
In 1460, Charles of Artois, Count of Eu ordered the opening of a canal between Le Tréport and Eu; this canal was used for the next two centuries. The English attacked the town in 1513 and again in 1545. Accordingly, Francis I of Clèves, Count of Eu, built a big sandstone tower to protect the town. The only remains of this tower are the vaults of the ancient town hall. Francis I of Clèves also increased the port by opening a basin and building wharfs, but the basin was quickly filled up by shingles.

Around 1770, the Duke of Penthièvre ordered to remove the shingles from the port and to build a hunting lock, made in 1776 by engineer Lamblardie.
Short before the Revolution, Le Tréport was, along with Dieppe, the main source of fresh fish and seafood for Paris. Marketable fish is called in French marée, and the swift horse-drawn carriage which brought the marée to Paris early in the morning were known as chasse-marée; their speed became proverbial as train de chasse-marée. The street where they met in Paris was the boulevard Poissonière (lit., female fish merchant), which has kept this name in spite of the suppression of the chasse-marées.
In the middle of the 19th century, King Louis-Philippe increased the port and launched the sea resort of Le Tréport by building there an estate, where he received Queen Victoria in 1843 and 1845. Le Tréport and its region was the king's preferred vacation place. Big hotels were built, such as Hôtel Trianon, which was used as a British military hospital during the First World War and suppressed by the Germans in 1942. The town was liberated on 1 September 1944 after a huge bombing that destroyed most of the sea front; Le Tréport was awarded the War Cross.

The traditional fishers' borough, with its small, high slate-roofed houses with bow windows, is called quartier des cordiers. A cordier is usualy a rope-maker (from corde, rope), but the cordiers cordants in Le Tréport were indeed the poorest fishers who could not buy fishing nets and used long ropes bristled with hooks. Until the 1960s, the inhabitants of those houses rented them to tourists from Paris in summertime and moved down into the basement.
Like many other French fishing ports, Le Tréport has kept seamen's calvaries, which were traditionally saluted by the seamen when they left the port. The 3.63-m high Stone Cross was erected in 1618 during an epidemic of black plague. It was damaged in 1840 by a big carriage and revamped by King Louis-Philippe, who moved it to a less dangerous place. The cross is decorated with fleurs-de-lis and Louis XIII's monogram based on letter "L". After a tragic wreckage of 12 November 1856, the seamen erected on 20 September 1860 a wooden calvary called Terraces' Calvary; it was replaced by a new calvary on 28 August 1887, which was taken down and hidden during the German occupation and reestablished in 1948. The calvary is floodlit every evening and still used by seamen as a marker. The Seamen's Calvary, made by Franconville, ironsmith in Eu, in 1846, was then considered as one of the most beautiful on the French coasts.

Ivan Sache, 18 September 2005

Flag of Le Tréport

The flag of Le Tréport, as seen in August 2005, is white with the municipal logo.
The logo is derived from the municipal coat of arms, "Azure two sailing ships sable with masts sable and sails argent a base vert in sinister chief a mullet and a crescent contourned in fess or in sinister base on a jetty of the third masoned a man of the second holding a flag of the fourth".

The logo has kept the blue sky and the green sea, but only one ship with only one mast; the jetty and the man holding a flag have been removed; the crescent has been mirrored and tilted, as well as the star, which has been moved upwards in relation to the crescent.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 18 September 2005