Visiting Roissy-en-France and its St.-Eloi church: from quiet, rural village to metropolitan neighbour
Locality with an interesting and evocative name
This old church building is situated in Roissy-en-France, in France's Val-d'Oise department.
First of all, some comments about the name of the town. Roissy has become well known because it has given its name to Paris's main airport: Aéroport Roissy Charles de Gaulle .
The word France in the name is also significant: the name of the country called France is itself derived from an area in the north of the country known from the Middle Ages as Île de France , from which the kingdom of France gradually developed. Interestingly, at the French Revolution, the phrase en-France in the village's name was dropped for a while.
This solid, stone church building, with a short tower and prominent buttresses, dates from the 16th century. Its site is that of a previous church building dating from the 12th century; however, archeological research has also established that elements remain of a 9th century structure. It is named for Eloi, bishop of Noyon, who died in the year 659. Its choir is described as Renaissance-style.
The building underwent a program of restoration in the 1940s. The church has a noted musical tradition and has been the venue for various concerts of the music, including performances of works by Mozart, Schubert, Vivaldi, Chopin and other composers.
A park known as Parc du Cèdre (Cedar Park) is located in the village. A large château in the village largely did not survive the French Revolution and its aftermath; only a few walls remain.
The village is noted for the tourist hotels situated within its boundaries; many travellers arrive via the nearby Paris-Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport.
Thus what is now a bustling, modern locality on the edge of the Paris metropolitan area (Downtown Paris is only 33 kilometres to the south) is also an historic spot, in what was the cradle of the old kingdom of France.
June 25, 2012
Also worth seeing
Chantilly (distance: 27 kilometres) has an outstandingly remarkable château dating from the 16th century.
Senlis (distance: 28 kilometres): its Medieval cathedral has a particularly impressive spire.
Garges-les-Gonesse (distance: 11 kilometres) has some remains of a former château, including an ornate gateway.
How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Paris (Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle ), from where car rental is available. Paris is at a distance of 33 kilometres from Roissy-en-France . Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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