PONTOISE, a town of northern France, capital of an arrondissement of the department of Seine-et-Oise, 18 m. N.W. of Paris on the railway to Dieppe. Pop. (1906), 7963. Pontoise is picturesquely situated on the right bank of the Oise where it is joined by the Viosne. The traffic on the main river is large, and the tributary drives numerous mills. Of the many churches that used to exist in the town two only remain: St Maclou, a church of the 12th century, altered and restored in the 15th and 16th centuries by Pierre Lemercier, the famous architect of St Eustache at Paris, and containing a fine holy sepulchre of the 16th century; and Notre-Dame, of the close of the 16th century, which contains the tomb of St Gautier, abbot of Meulan in the 12th century. At the top of the flight of steps by which St Maclou is approached is the statue of General Leclerc, a native of the town and husband of Pauline Bonaparte. Grain and flour are the principal staples of the trade; a well-known fair is held in Xovember. The town has a sub-prefecture, tribunals of first instance and of commerce and a communal college. At Meriel, near Pontoise, there are interesting remains of the Cistercian abbey of Le Val. Pontoise existed in the time of the Gauls as Brim Isarae (Bridge of the Oise). It was destroyed by the Normans in the 9th century, united with Normandy in 1032, and acquired by Philip I. in 1064. Capital of the French Vexin, it possessed an important stronghold and played a conspicuous part in the wars between the French and the dukes of Normandy and in the Hundred Years' War. The English took it in 1419, and again in 1437. In 1441 Charles VII. took it by storm after a three months' siege. After belonging to the count of Charolais down to the treaty of Conflans, it was given as a dowry to Jeanne of France when she was divorced by Louis XII. The parlement of Paris several times met in the town; and in 1561 the statesgeneral convoked at Orleans removed thither after the death of Francis II. During the Fronde it offered a refuge to Louis XIV. and Mazarin. Henry III. made it an apanage for his brother the duke of Anjou. At a later period it passed to the duke of Conti. Down to the Revolution it remained a monastic town.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)