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Roissy-en-France is a French commune located in the department of
Val-d'Oise in the Île-de-France region. The inhabitants are called
the Roisséens and the Roisséennes.
This village was made world famous in 1974 with the establishment of the international airport which bears its nickname and occupies part of its territory. But away from airport facilities, Roissy remains a characteristic village of the Pays de France.
The country of France has known human occupation since the Lower Paleolithic, hunter-gatherers have left some traces, mainly bifaces and scrapers, found in the neighboring towns of Gonesse or Louvres. Neolithic cultures occupied the site as evidenced by two polished axes, a cut ax as well as a few drills or scrapers found on the territory of the town in the 1950s. During the 1999 extension of the airport, graves of the Second Iron Age have been unearthed at La Fosse Cotheret; in particular two chariot tombs from the 3rd century BC. One of them is called the tomb of the druid and contained a remarkable art object called garniture de Roissy which is in the National Archeology Museum. Fragments of Gallic pottery dating from the 1st century AD and at the beginning of the fifth century have also been found attesting to an occupation of the place during Antiquity and the probable presence of at least one ancient establishment. More than twenty farms and three small towns as well as three fortified squares and an ancient cemetery have been unearthed in the country of France as a whole.
The history of the place during the great invasions and the
Merovingian and Carolingian eras remains obscure, only a few names
of neighboring localities are cited in rare writings. It was not
until the 12th century that the current network of villages in the
country of France appeared. The village is mentioned for the first
time in 1174 in an act relating to a donation by Matthieu de Roissy,
the first known lord, to the Saint-Victor abbey in Marseille.
From the beginning of the 15th century, Roissy was the seigneury of Jean Jouvenel des Ursins, son of Jacques Jouvenel des Ursins, former provost of the merchants of Paris, who became Archbishop of Reims in 1449. But he was dispossessed by the English, before the seigneury did not return a little later to Raoul Juvenel des Ursins, canon of Paris, claiming in 1482 to be Lord of Roissy. The latter succeeded in having King Louis XI grant him the right of high justice, which was not really applied until 1522 following numerous difficulties.
The presence at the beginning of the 15th century of an old castle or manor flanked by round towers is attested. It will be demolished at the end of the 17th century. In 1537, the fief said from above, comprising the castle, the park and five hundred arpents of land was purchased by Jean-Jacques de Mesmes (1490-1569) First President of the Parliament of Normandy. While the lower fiefdom was bought by Richard d'Elbègne, Lord of Hope. Jean-Jacques de Mesmes obtained in 1541 the permission of King François Ier to build a windmill, and in 1544 the right to establish a fair in November and a market every Tuesday. The fair will not disappear until the middle of the 19th century.
His great-grandson, Claude de Mesmes Compte d'Avaux (1595-1650) was the most illustrious member of the family. Councilor of State, Ambassador to Venice, Denmark, Sweden and Poland, he was one of the negotiators of the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Jean-Antoine de Mesmes (1640-1709) had a new castle built from 1704. It has long been thought that this castle was the work of the Swedish architect Nicodemus Tessin. In 1687, on a study trip to Europe, he was received by Louis XIV, and imagined that he could have the honor of finishing the Louvre. But the king, fixed in Versailles, had already chosen his architect for his new projects in the person of Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Fascinated by the Palace of Versailles, he will have the new plans for the Château de Steninge in Sweden accepted. Following preventive excavations carried out on site between 1998 and 2002, accompanied by new research at the National Archives and surveys by the architect Le Rouge (1775), Arsenal library, it was discovered that the Ticino project did not has never been realized. On the other hand, the castle was attributed to another famous architect of the time: Germain Boffrand, nephew and pupil of Hardouin-Mansart. He is the architect of the castle of Lunéville. In 1715, a garden without water and a large park were reported by Pigagnol de la Force.
In 1719, the estate was owned by the financier John Law, then in 1725 by Antoine Portail, first president of the Court of Parliament, whose daughter married Victor-Pierre-François Riquet de Caraman, grandson of Pierre-Paul Riquet director of the Canal du Midi. He thus became lord of Roissy in 1730. The Riquet de Caraman family kept the lordship until the Revolution, when the estate was sold as national property. At the time of the enumeration of the election of Paris in 1709, there were 167 fires, in the middle of the eighteenth century, the universal dictionary of France (published in 1726) estimated the number of inhabitants at 675.
The castle grounds had trees of rare species. Only three cedars of Lebanon remain today. Between the motorway and the RER B railway line, two cedars still guard the entrance to the airport. The third is located on the site of the former Langle farm, now Parc du Cèdre. The story goes that the botanist Bernard de Jussieu brought them back in 1734 from Kew Garden, the botanical garden in London. Two of these trees were planted in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris (one still stands at the base of the labyrinth hill), the others offered to Pierre François de Riquet, Count of Caraman, Lord of Roissy.
The Revolution and the Empire
Roissy was set up as an independent municipality in 1790. The same year the village lost its “en-France” particle. On January 31, 1790, the first mayor was elected to the village school, it was none other than Maurice Gabriel Joseph de Riquet, viscount of Caraman, born in 1765 in Roissy-en-France, son Victor-Maurice Riquet, count of Caraman, last lord of the place. However, he did not keep his mandate for long, resigning, he was replaced by the farmer Pierre Ducrocq on the following June 20.
In 1792, the Count of Caraman emigrated. In September, the castle was placed under sequestration and suffered several thefts and acts of vandalism. During the particularly harsh winter of 1792-1793, the municipality decided to cut down some of the trees in the village to heat the most needy. In each commune, the Convention decided to create a surveillance committee to report suspects and disarm them. In the village, thirteen people were declared suspect. On October 1, 1793, the municipality ordered the three bells to be lowered from the church tower. On October 20, it was the turn of silverware, iron and copper to be requisitioned, "to then bring them to the Convention on the Altar of the Fatherland." Under the Terror, the village experienced one of the most troubled times in its history: requisitions, thefts from farms, taxation, etc. On October 12, 1793, the town received the order to prepare the castle to accommodate a battalion of volunteers. On 27 Nivôse Year II (January 1794), an accidental fire broke out: it destroyed the central body of the building.
In 1814, the rout of the imperial armies caused fear in the village: the imminent arrival of the Prussians and Cossacks was mentioned. On March 23, the Russian and Prussian armies arrived and sacked the entire region, looting and mistreatment of the inhabitants were numerous.
From the Restoration to the 20th century
In 1817, the farmers of the village joined together to buy a fire pump and a dedicated room, the first sign of the existence of a fire department in Roissy. The new mayor elected in 1819, Poiret, son-in-law of the previous mayor Ducrocq, had a section of the cadastre of sixty-six hectares returned to the town by means of a long report called “Canton entrenched”, unfairly attributed to the neighboring town of Tremblay. This restitution was pronounced by the royal decree of March 13, 1822. In 1822, the municipality had 310 elms replanted to replace the wood felled during the harsh winter of 1794.
In 1820, a sugar factory was installed in the surviving right wing of the castle, a former orangery, which was finally destroyed in 1835. The left wing, the castle stable, was transformed into housing, and served as a dwelling until 1930.
In 1832, the cholera epidemic which affected Paris spread rapidly and reached Roissy: between July 21 and September 12, 52 people of the village perished.
In 1836, a new town hall was built, including schools and teachers' homes. In 1852, the village children were registered to receive free primary education: 81 boys and 12 girls received it. The same year, the old parish cemetery surrounding the church was decommissioned and replaced by the current cemetery.