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Seine-Et-Oise

SEINE-ET-OISE, a department of northern France, formed in 1790 of part of the old province of tie-de-France, and traversed from south-east to north-west by the Seine, which is joined by the Oise. Pop. (1006) 749,753. Area, 2184 sq. m. It is bounded by the departments of Seine-et-Marne on the E., Loiret on the S., Eure-et-Loir on the W., Eure on the N.W. and Oise on the N. It encloses the department of Seine. The Epte on the north-west is almost the only natural boundary on the department. The streams (all belonging to the basin of the Seine) are: on the right the Yeres, the Marne, the Oise and the Epte, and on the left the Essonne (joined by the Juine, which passes Etampes), the Orge, the Bievre and the Mauldre. Seine-et-Oise belongs in part of the tableland of Beauce in the south and to that of Brie in the east. In the centre are the high wooded hills which make the charm of Versailles, Marly and St Germain. But it is in the north-west, in the Vexin, that the culminating point (690 ft.) is reached, while the lowest point, where the Seine leaves the department, is little more than 40 ft. above the sea. The mean temperature is 51 F.

Seine-et-Oise is a flourishing agricultural and horticultural department. Wheat, oats, potatoes and sugar-beet arc important crops. Versailles, Rambouillet, Argenteuil are among the numerous market-gardening and horticultural centres, and wine is grown at Argenteuil and in other localities on the right bank of the Seine. Milch-cows and draught-oxen are the chief livestock, and poultry farming is prosperous, the town of Houdan giving its name to a wellknown breed of fowls. Forests occupy about 190,000 acres, the largest being that of Rambouillet (about 32,000 acres). Oak, hornbeam, birch and chestnut are the commonest trees. Building] paving and mill stones, gypsum, cement, etc., are produced by the department which is very rich in quarries. There are mineral springs at Enghien and Forges-les-Bains. The most important industrial establishments are the national porcelain factory at Sevres; the government powder-mills of Sevran and Bouchet; paper-mills, especially those of Essonnes and its vicinity, which are among the most important in Europe; textile works, flour-mills, foundries and engineering, metallurgical or railway works at Evry-Petit-Bourg, Villeneuve-St Georges (pop. 9508) and elsewhere; agricultural implement factories at Dourdan and elsewhere; sugar-refineries and distilleries; crystal works (Meudon), laundries, large printing establishments, close to Paris; factories for chemical products, candles, hosiery, perfumery, shoes and buttons; zinc- works, sawmills. Seine-et-Oise exports chiefly the products of its farms and quarries. Its imports include coal, raw material for its industries wine, kaolin and wood.

^ The railways of all the great companies of France (except the Southern) traverse the department, but most of the lines belong to those of the Western and Northern systems. The Seine and the Oise, and the canals of Ourcq and Chelles provide about 120 m. of waterway. Seine-et-Oise is divided into six arrondissements (Versailles, Corbeil, Etampes, Mantes, Pontoise, Rambouillet) with 37 cantons and 691 communes. It forms the diocese of Versailles and part of the educational circumscription (acade'mie) of Paris and of the regions of the 1 1 ., 1 1 1 ., IV. and V. army corps, the troops in its territory being under the command of the military government of Paris. Its court of appeal is also at Paris.

The most notable towns in the department are Versailles, the capital, Corbeil, Sevres, Etampes, Mantes, Pontoise, Rambouillet Argenteuil, Poissy, St Cloud, St Cyr, St Germain-en-Laye, Meudon, Montmorency, Rueil and Marly-le-Roi (see separate articles). Other places of interest are Montfort-l'Amaury, which has a Renaissance church with fine stained glass, a gateway of the 16th century and a ruined chateau once the seat of the powerful family of Montfort; Montlhe'ry, which preserves the keep (13th century) and other ruins of a celebrated fortress which commanded the road from Paris to Orleans; Roche-Guyon, seat of the family of that name, which has two chSteaus, one a feudal stronghold, the other also medieval but altered in the 18th century; Vigny, with a Gothic chateau of the 15th century; Ecouen, where there is a chateau of the 16th century once the property of the Cond6 family, now a school for daughters of members of the Legion of Honour; Dampierre, which has a chateau of the 17th century once the property of Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine; Maisons-Laffitte (pop. 8117), with a chateau of the same period once belonging to the family of Longueil. The chateau of Malmaison (18th century) is famous as the residence of the Empress Josephine.

Of _ the churches of the department, which are very numerous mention may be made of those of Jouy-le Moutier (nth and 12th centuries); Beaumont-sur-Oise (l3th century) ; Taverny (12th and 13th centuries) ; Longpont (remains of an abbey-church dating from the mh to the 13th centuries). Near Cernay-la-Ville are interesting remains of a Cistercian abbey and near Ldvy-St-Nom those of the abbey of Notre- Dame de la Roche, including a church (13th century) with stalls which are among the oldest in France and the tombs of the LeVis-Mirepoix family.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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