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La Flèche

 

La Flèche is a French commune located in the south of the Sarthe department in the Pays de la Loire region. Sub-prefecture of the department, capital of the district and canton, seat of the community of communes of the Pays Fléchois, it has 14,956 inhabitants according to the last census of 2017 (legal population in force on January 1, 2020), which in fact the second most populated Sarthe town. Located on the Loir, in the heart of Maine Angevin, the town is marked by a very dense hydrographic network.

Born after the year 1000, the city of Fléchoise took off at the beginning of the seventeenth century under the leadership of Guillaume Fouquet de La Varenne, then by the creation of the Henri-IV college, held by the Jesuits, which would become the national military Prytanee by decision of Napoleon in 1808. Important religious center in the seventeenth century with the presence of twelve religious communities on its territory, La Flèche is attached, like seventeen other parishes of the former province of Anjou, to the department of Sarthe . It grew in 1866 with the absorption of the municipality of Sainte-Colombe, then in 1965 with the attachment of the municipalities of Verron and Saint-Germain-du-Val.

Its inhabitants are called the Fléchois.

 

Civil architecture
National military prytaneum
In 1603, King Henri IV ceded his “Château-Neuf” at La Flèche, an important family house that his grandmother Françoise d'Alençon had built in 1540, to establish the “Royal College Henri-le-Grand there. C 26. The king entrusts its creation to the Jesuits. Became a “military Prytaneum” in 1808 under the leadership of Emperor Napoleon I, it now houses within its walls one of the six military lycées in France, called defense lycées since 2006. All of the buildings in the Prytanee are successively classified as historical monuments since 1919.

Of classical architecture, the Prytanee takes the form of three successive large courtyards dominated by the imposing stature of the Saint-Louis church, whose construction began in 1607. The work followed a plan drawn up by Louis Métezeau, architect of the King of France, with adjoining courtyards of roughly the same size. The church was completed in 1621, and all of the work was completed in 1655 with the construction of the main gate, with the bust of Henri IV on the pediment.