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Gaillard (Municipality, Haute-Savoie, France)

Last modified: 2012-04-10 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Gaillard]

Flag of Gaillard - Image by Ivan Sache, 13 November 2011

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Presentation of Gaillard

The municipality of Gaillard (11,270 inhabitants in 2009; 402 ha) is located half distance (3 km) between Geneva (Switzerland) and Annemasse (France), being part of the big cross-border conurbation surrounding Geneva. Gaillard is made of a rural area (70 ha) located near river Arve, mostly dedicated to the cultivation of fresh vegetables supplying the Geneva markets, and of a dense urban area inhabited by more than 90 nationalities. Half of the inhabitants of the municipality work in Switzerland; moreover, Gaillard, with three road border posts, is crossed every day by some 40,000 cars.

Gaillard developed in the 13th century around the fortress of Chastel Gaillard, built by the Bishops of Geneva. To control the road and river access to Geneva, a garrison of 3,000 men was permanently stationed in the fortress. In 1401, the Duke of Savoy purchased the County of Geneva, which did not include the town of Geneva but a large area around the town. In 1536, the Catholic partisans of Canon Pierre Verly came from Fribourg and gathered in Gaillard, aiming at attacking Geneva, then a stronghold of the Reformation. Aware of the plot, the Geneva militia besieged and seized the fortress of Gaillard. Occupied by the King of France in 1600, the Bailiwick of Gaillard was given back to Savoy the next year. In 1602, the disastrous operation known as L'Escalade sounded the knell of the Savoy ambitions on Geneva, whose independence was recognized in 1603.
In 1815, the municipality of Chêne-Thônex, which included Gaillard, was split into Thônex, allocated to the Geneva Republic, and Gaillard, allocated to the Kingdom of Sardinia. The new municipality of Ambilly-Gaillard was erected on 7 April 1817. On 3 August 1843, a Royal Decree erected Gaillard as an independent municipality, made of the villages of Gaillard proper, Mouillesullaz / Moëllesullaz, Vallard and Vernaz.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 13 November 2011

Flag of Gaillard

The flag of Gaillard is purple with the municipal arms in the middle. The flag is hoisted on the Naz tower (photos), located, together with a manor built in the early 19th century, on the site of the medieval castle of Gaillard. The manor and the tower were purchased in 1993 by the Municipal Council and transformed into an annex of the Town Hall.

The arms of Gaillard (municipal website) are "Or a bend gules and azure".
These were the arms of the Naz family, which disappeared in the 16th century. Beforehand, the municipality used the arms of the Rossillon family, lords of Gaillard, "Sable a cross argent". This family, from the Country of Gex, increased its domains around Geneva from the early 12th century to the 18th century, when the family got extinct. They eventually moved the headquarters to Savoy. Pierre de Rossillon married Françoise de la Naz around 1380, becoming lord of Gaillard. The Rossillon owned the Gaillard castle and the Terreaux domain, located in Bas-Vernaz. St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) was a regular visitor of the Terreaux castle; the Escalade operation started from the castle. The Terreaux borough in Geneva and the Terreaux square in Lyon recall, indirectly, the former fame of the Rossillon family.
The municipality of Gaillard decided to adopt the arms of the obscure Naz family instead of those of the famous Rossillon family because the Naz were of genuine local origin.

Ivan Sache, 13 November 2011