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Levallois-Perret

 

Levallois-Perret is a French commune located on the right bank of the Seine, in the Hauts-de-Seine department in the Île-de-France region, bordering the north-west of Paris.

 

History

Until its official creation in 1867, the history of Levallois-Perret merges with that of Clichy to which it was incorporated. In 1215, the abbey of Saint-Denis, owner of the royal palace of Clichy, acquired a plot on the site known as “the vineyard for priests” to practice viticulture.

From Prehistory to Antiquity
At the end of the 19th century, prehistorians identified for the first time in the gravels of the Seine at Levallois a method of debitage which consisted in extracting shards of predetermined shapes from a core. This method, called the Levallois method, appeared in the Acheulean in Africa before being generalized in Europe in the Middle Paleolithic, about 300,000 years ago.

In 52 BC the plain of Clichy-Levallois is the site of the Battle of Lutetia which pits the Gallic tribe of Parisii against the Roman troops of Caesar led by his lieutenant Titus Labienus.

Middle Ages: golden age of Clippiacum
625: first traces in the chronicles of the Royal Palace of Clippiacum (Clichy). Clotaire II, father of Dagobert I, has in fact installed his main residence and his court there since 614. The Ecole du Palais, which is divided between the Latin quarter of Paris and the plain of Clichy-Levallois, trains all the children of great dignitaries of the kingdom (Saint Éloi, Saint Ouen, Saint Didier…). It was in this school that Prince Dagobert met all these saints who would administer the kingdom of the Franks a few years later.

626: Dagobert I moved to the Merovingian palace of Clippiacum (Clichy) and married there a Goth princess named Gomathrude.

626: the Council of Clichy forbids clerics and laity to practice usury. The result is an explosion in interest rates throughout the kingdom.

630: birth of Saint Sigisbert (Sigebert III), son of King Dagobert I, at the Clichy palace.

633: at the end of an exceptional assembly of lay people and ecclesiastics, Sigebert III is appointed king of Austrasia (Eastern France), Aquitaine and Provence.

684: a few years after having skillfully negotiated peace between Neustria (Western France) and Austrasia (Eastern France) in Cologne, the diplomat Saint Ouen retired to his villa in Clichy, where he died.

717: Chilpéric II donates to the abbey of Saint-Denis the forest of Rouvray (today only the Bois de Boulogne remains) which extends from Neuilly-sur-Seine (today Saint- Cloud) in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis).

885: the Normans destroy the Palace and the surrounding villages.

1193: Philippe Auguste detaches Clichy from the Domaine de la Couronne and offers it to Gaucher de Châtillon.

1215: the Levallois part of the seigneury of Clichy specializes in viticulture. It must supply the Abbey of Saint-Denis on which it depends with mass wines. Levallois then identified with the site of “la vigne aux prires”.

1429: Joan of Arc gathers her army on the plain of Clichy-Levallois for the levée de Montjoie (the banner of the lords of France). This episode precedes the unsuccessful assault on Paris, Porte Saint-Honoré (today 15 rue de Richelieu).

Clichy and Levallois in the shadow of Saint Vincent de Paul
According to Abbé Lecanu, historian of Clichy, there is a very close relationship between Saint Vincent de Paul, parish priest of Clichy between 1612 and 1625, Saint Louise de Marillac, Antoine Portail and the parish of Clichy.

“Providence gave Saint Vincent de Paul the opportunity to meet in Clichy, Mademoiselle Le Gras, Louise de Marillac. She had close ties with the Château de Clichy and went there often. In 1595, his father Louis de Marillac was tutor to Alexandre Hennequin and the Sieur de la Bazinière, co-lords of Clichy. He often lived at the Château de Clichy with his young daughter ”
- Abbot Lecanu, History of Clichy-la-Garenne

It was in Clichy that "Monsieur Vincent" met Antoine Portail, his dearest and oldest companion in the Congregation of the Mission. After having been his pupil during catechism, Father Portail is his first assistant, the first secretary of the Congregation and the first director of the Daughters of Charity. He died in 1660, the same year as two other Clichois: Louise de Marillac and Vincent de Paul.

Nicolas Levallois had such veneration for Saint Vincent de Paul that he founded the village of Levallois on September 27, 1845, a Catholic liturgical feast in honor of the patron saint of Clichy.

 

The founder of the city had a Venetian bronze statue executed in 1876 in honor of "Monsieur Vincent". Ironically, this statue was donated to the parish of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul de Clichy, a town from which Levallois had detached itself exactly ten years earlier

Levallois also gives the name of this patron saint to the market and the street leading to it. Finally, he ensures that Vincent de Paul appears on one of the three stained glass windows surmounting the tabernacle of Saint-Justin church. On either side of the stained glass window representing the Ascension of Christ before the Virgin Mary and the apostles, we can see, on the right the stained glass window of Saint Justin, patron of Levallois and, on the left, the stained glass window of Saint Vincent de Paul, patron from Clichy.

19th century: towards the creation of Levallois-Perret
At the end of the French Revolution, the current territory of the municipality of Levallois retains a rural character. Two hamlets then exist on the plain: Villiers-la-Garenne, in the town of Neuilly, on the current rue Paul-Vaillant-Couturier, at the level of the current Place de la Liberation, and Courcelles, in the town of Clichy , at the corner of the current rue Paul-Vaillant-Couturier and Président-Wilson. The territory is crossed by a few roads, the most important being the route du bac d'Asnières (current rue Victor-Hugo), the chemin de Neuilly à Clichy (current rue Paul-Vaillant-Couturier), as well as the paths allowing access from Paris to the villages of Villiers and Courcelles (rue de Villiers and now rue du Président-Wilson).

During a good part of the nineteenth century, the territory of the future commune "Levallois-Perret" belonged to the family of a close friend of Napoleon Bonaparte.

In 1806, Count Jean Bérenger bought a large property in the hamlet of Courcelles (Clichy), at a place called La Planchette. At that time, the village of Levallois did not yet exist. The deed of sale was signed in 1806 for 51,000 francs, but the value of this property skyrocketed to reach 100,000 francs when Bérenger died in 1850.

This Count of Empire, close to Lucien Bonaparte, Stendhal and Benjamin Constant, played a decisive role in the success of the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire. Appointed State Councilor for life by the emperor, he took a considerable part in the work of preparing the Civil Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Commercial Code, the Code of Criminal Investigation, and the Penal Code. During most of the empire, he was the patron of the Caisse d'Amortissement (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations), for example in this post responsible for the erection of the Arc de Triomphe in homage to the Grand Army. It was also Bérenger who wrote and delivered to the emperor the imperial decree of 1807 reorganizing the Court of Auditors. He will also have an important role in the aftermath of the Three Glorious Days of 1830, or “July Revolution”, which will overthrow Charles X.

On the Bérenger plot, there is a beautiful outbuilding of the castle (the current Club de la Planchette).

Twenty years after purchasing this house, one of Bérenger's daughters, wife of the stockbroker Henri Lhuillier, acquired one of the outbuildings of the Courcelles farm with a house and two hectares of land. The Bérenger family thus finds itself at the head of one of the largest estates in the region.

In 1814, Paris defends itself against the Russians. General Moncey established his headquarters at the Clichy barrier. In 1815, Clichy, evacuated, was plundered by the Prussians and the English who camped there and ransacked their homes.

The project of a city on the future site of Levallois-Perret was born in 1822 when a subdivision operation was launched at a place called Champerret (the stony field) by Jean-Jacques Perret, a wealthy landowner. This locality is located in the town of Neuilly, east of rue de Villiers, south of the old town of the village. He is trying to subdivide sixty lots over twenty hectares. But his operation failed because the land was poorly served and the plots too large.

In 1837, the territory of the current Levallois-Perret was physically separated from the village of Clichy by the new line from Paris-Saint-Lazare to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. A station opened on July 5, 1838, it closed on August 13, for lack of travelers. Between 1842 and 1844, a new attempt also ended in failure, the land retaining an essentially rural character.

 

Perret's project was taken up by Nicolas Eugène Levallois, with the help of a surveyor friend Rivay, and this time the operation was a great success. The village of Levallois was officially born on September 27, 1845, the feast day of Saint Vincent-de-Paul (former priest of Clichy). It corresponds to the day when Nicolas Eugène Levallois bought his first plot, “la vigne aux priests”, located in the south-eastern hamlet of Courcelles, on Chemin du Bois (now rue Jean-Jaurès), in Clichy.

In 1845, when Nicolas Levallois drew up the plans for “his city”, he unhesitatingly incorporated the property of Jean Bérenger. But he categorically refuses any intrusion into his domain, and does not want to sell his property. Nicolas Levallois will have to wait until his death in 1850 to start breaking up the place called La Planchette. It will take almost half a century. The family of Count Bérenger will be expropriated of his last plots (the current Parc de la Planchette but also the land used to build the Place des Fêtes, now Place de Verdun) in 1924.

A decree of 1857 erected the Church of Levallois as a branch of the parish of Clichy. The boundaries of this branch do not correspond to the current municipal boundaries because the part of the current municipality then located in Neuilly is not included in this perimeter.

On June 30, 1866, Napoleon III promulgated a law creating the commune of Levallois-Perret, a law taking effect on January 1, 1867. The commune was created from the reunion of the territory of Neuilly-sur-Seine located to the east of the rue de Villiers and part of the territory of Clichy located west of the line from Paris to Saint-Germain. It incorporates the old hamlets of Villiers (Neuilly) and Courcelles (Clichy) and the new housing estates of Champerret (Neuilly) and Levallois (Clichy).

The industrial development of Levallois
In 1903, quai Michelet, the first automobile manufacturing plant was created: Automobiles Clément-Bayard, which closed in 1920.

At the beginning of 1911, Marc Birkigt, chief engine manufacturer of the Hispano-Suiza firm, also founded an automobile production workshop in Levallois, the first model of which was a "15 ch Sport type Alphonse XIII", followed in 1913 by the "Hispano "type 21, 22 and 23, which had some success, the firm opening a factory the same year in Bois-Colombes.

In 1914, the workshop and factory were requisitioned to produce Gnome and Rhône aircraft engines, then in 1915 "Hispano-Suiza" engines, until the end of the conflict (they motorized a number of planes. Spad and Caudron).

The closing date of the workshop is uncertain: before or after 1918? Everything was transferred to Bois-Colombes.

On March 21, 1915, during the First World War, several bombs were launched from a German Zeppelin airship which exploded at no.6 place de Cormeilles and no.8 rue Poccard.

At no.138 rue Victor-Hugo, is an oxylith factory. It is taken over by the company Dunlop. Shortly after, on January 13, 1920, it was destroyed by fire.

In 1921, the Citroën firm leased, then bought in 1929, the 70,000 m2 of the former "Clément-Bayard" factory, to meet the strong demand for vehicles, its factory at the Quai de Javel in Paris not being sufficient. to answer them.

The first car produced will be the 5 HP "Petite Citroën", followed by Citroën Kégresse half-tracks, then ball bearings and spare parts for the brand's vehicles.

From 1949 until February 29, 1988, when the factory closed, it will be the main production center for the famous Citroën 2 CV, the prototypes of which were created here in 1939.