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The Town Hall Square
The Town Hall Square
Coat of arms of Fismes
Coat of arms
Fismes is located in France
Coordinates: 49°18′28″N 3°40′53″E / 49.3078°N 3.6814°E / 49.3078; 3.6814Coordinates: 49°18′28″N 3°40′53″E / 49.3078°N 3.6814°E / 49.3078; 3.6814
Country France
Region Grand Est
Department Marne
Arrondissement Reims
Canton Fismes-Montagne de Reims
Intercommunality CU Grand Reims
 • Mayor (2001-2020) Jean-Pierre Pinon
Area1 16.75 km2 (6.47 sq mi)
Population (2009)2 5,377
 • Density 320/km2 (830/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 51250 /51170
Elevation 57–179 m (187–587 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Fismes [fim] is a commune in the Marne department in the Grand Est region of north-eastern France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Fismois or Fismoises [1]

The commune has been awarded three flowers by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.[2]


Fismes is located some 25 km west by northwest of Reims and some 12 km east by southeast of Braine. Access is by National Highway N31 from Reims through the heart of the commune and the town and continuing west to Soissons. There is also the D967 road from Longueval-Barbonval in the north to the town and continuing southwest to Chery-Chartreuve. There is also the D386 going south from the village to Saint-Gilles. Apart from Fismes there are three hamlets: Fismette and Baslieux are continuations of the urban area of Fismes while Villette is in the east of the commune. There is also a railway station in the village on the line from Reims to Soissons.[3]

The Veste river flows through the commune from east to west with the Ruisseau du Moulin and the Ruisseau Saint-Marie flow from the north into the Veste. The Ardre river flows from the south to join the Veste west of the town.

Neighbouring communes and villages[edit]



Fismes, on the right bank of the Vesle, developed from a Gallic ancient city named, during the Gallo-Roman era, "Ad Fines Suessioium" (limit of the Suession people’s territory) or "Ad Fines Remorum" (limit of the Rèmes people’s territory) as the city was situated on the boundary of the two Gallic tribes Suessions and Rèmes.

As Charles Rostaing indicates, the Latin word "fines" is a translation from the Gallic toponym equoranda which essentially means "boundary" or "limit".[4]

Middle Ages[edit]

The barbaric period did not spare Fismes. During the first half of the Middle Ages, the Normands and the Hungarians, destroyed the city of Fismes multiple times. These ravages pushed the agglomeration of the city towards the heights of the Vesle’s right bank.

In 1226 Thibault IV, the Chansonnier (songwriter), helped Fismes become a free city, thanks to hard work of natives that participated in the war led by Thibault. By a charter and a seal that bears the emblem of the commune and under the aegis of a mayor and two deputies, Fismes became autonomous. Thus, the village was able to develop its artisanship, businesses, festivals and markets.

The walls of the city continued to expand; a church of stone, a château which occupied the current plaza of the post office and would one day house as governor, the poet Eustache Deschamps, as well as the City Hall, that continues to occupy the same place, were all constructed in this formative epoch.

The Hundred Years War between the English, the Germans, the Italians, the Dutch and many more, brought, once again, the city of Fismes to ruins. Later the religious wars and the Fronde completely destroyed the walls of the city and the chateau of Fismes.

Modern Era[edit]

From Louis XIII to Charles X almost all the future Kings of France passed through Fismes which was their last stop on the way to their coronation at the Cathedral of Reims.

In 1646, Louis II de Bourbon acquired the manorial rights to Fismes and bestowed them on César de Costentin de Tourville for his good services to the King. In 1647, the land was passed on to the eldest son of Cesar, François-Cesar.

During the Fronde, the ramparts of the city and the chateau were completely destroyed.

After the revolution, a time of much inner conflict among the people of Fismes, Napoleon came to Fismes in order to sign two important declarations. Following Napoleon and the French Revolution, 30,000 Prussians arrived in Fismes and, once again, plundered the village.

Memorial Bridge for the 28th Infantry Division (United States).

In the 19th century, France experienced the rapidly expanding industrial revolution. Sugar beet, porcelain of Fismes (which was rare and expensive), the foundry, the railway, hat making, tanneries and mills mark the advancements of the region and the economic history of this century.

The 20th century began in worse conditions than the preceding finished. Fismes was greatly affected by the First World War. The Germans invaded the city, then remained on the Chemin des Dames before they completely demolished the city in 1918.

Fismes attempted to reconstruct itself slowly. Unfortunately, due to its position as a railway town through which passed trains filled with deportees being sent to Germany, the city suffered during the course of the Second World War. 14 residents of Fismes, who were seized for acts of resistance, died in Nazi concentration camps. Among them was the mayor of Fismes, Doctor Genillon.


Arms of Fismes

Quarterly, 1 and 4 of Gules a dexter arm of argent armed with a sword the same surmounted by a helmet of azure quarter turned from profile; 2 and 3 barry of argent and azure of 10 pieces debruised by 3 chevrons of gules, the first écimé; over all an inescutcheon of azure with 3 persons armed in Or: at dexter with a lance, at centre with a sword and at sinister with a halberd, bordered in argent charged with the legend SIGILL. MAIORIS ET IURATORIUN COMMUNIE DE FIMES in capital letters plain of sable.


Administrative situation[edit]

The town has been the capital of the Canton of Fismes since its inception during the French Revolution. It belongs to the arrondissement of Reims (district of Reims until 1801).[5]

Fismes is part of the community of communes of the Canton of Deux Vallées of the Canton de Fismes.

List of Successive Mayors[6]

Mayors from 1937
From To Name Party Position
1937 1944 Fernand Genillon Arrested in the exercise of his duties. Died for France at Buchenwald in 1944
1944 1945 Ernest Guyomar
1945 1947 Henri Bertho
1947 1948 Edmond Launoy
1948 1971 Marc Olivier
1971 1977 Aimé Bouchez
1977 2001 Paul Caffe PS Teacher
2001 2020 Jean Pierre Pinon PS Craftsman carpenter retired, General Counsel for the Canton of Fismes

(Not all data is known)


In 2009 the commune had 5,377 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]

Population change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
2,025 2,129 2,139 1,938 2,110 2,120 2,366 2,422 2,371
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
2,505 2,705 2,840 2,717 3,218 3,275 3,238 3,303 3,343
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
3,355 3,411 3,330 2,338 3,186 3,151 3,111 3,029 3,222
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2009 -
3,490 3,634 4,233 4,674 5,286 5,313 5,351 5,377 -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

Population of Fismes


A train of the Chemins de fer de la Banlieue de Reims at Fismes station before the First World War, next to a large sugar refinery.

The local economy was dominated by the presence of a sugar factory which ceased operations in 1978. The activity of light metalworking has also been present for a long time.

Since 2008 the commune of Fismes has been integrated into the production zone for Champagne. The parcels of land authorized for planting vineyards are not yet known.

The main business enterprises are Campa (manufacturing premium electric heaters), Finaxo (methods for water treatment and waste), Profinox, Fimaluplast (Aluminium Joinery and PVC), and Experton-Revollier (wire mesh surfaces); a family group recently took over the Ghent company.

Culture and heritage[edit]

Civil heritage[edit]

The commune has a number of buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments:

  • The Laplanche Foundry (19th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[7]
  • The Ets Déodat Fancy Goods Factory (20th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[8]
  • The Ets Beucher Wire Works (20th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[9]
  • The Goumant Sugar Refinery (20th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[10]
  • The War Memorial (20th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[11] This First World War memorial was sculpted by François Mourgues with the help of architect Edward Veis and marbler Mr. Renaud
  • The Ets Gantois Wire Works (20th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[12]
  • The Roland Flour Mill (20th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[13]
Other sites of interest
  • The Town Hall
  • The Town ramparts
  • The Royal Milestones on the route to Soissons which was the route to the coronation
  • Heurtevin House where the kings of France often spent their last night as prince;
  • The American Memorial Bridge in honour of the 28th Infantry division from Pennsylvania;
  • The Bread Museum

Religious heritage[edit]

The Church of Saint Macre
  • The Church of Saint Macre (12th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg is registered as an historical monument.[14]
  • The Pillar of the door on Saint Gilles;

Picture Gallery[edit]

Fismes Memorial '18[edit]

The Fismes Memorial site will be located along the Vesle river, near the memorial bridge that was constructed with the help of the State of Pennsylvania.[15]

The Battle of Fismes and Fismette that occurred during World War I sparked a lasting friendship between the City of Fismes and the United States, particularly the State of Pennsylvania. This bloody battle took place from the third of August to the first of September 1918, and it was the last major German attack on the Allies during World War I. The 32nd American Division lost 2,000 men during its first attempt to cross the Vesle and attack the Germans. The 28th American Infantry Division, consisting of soldiers mostly from Pennsylvania, replaced the former division, forced the Germans to retreat, and proceeded to liberate Fismes.

As a result of the aid Fismes received from the American armies during World War I, the city has decided to construct a memorial to honor the lives of the men in the 28th American Infantry Division. The main intentions of this memorial are to commemorate the soldiers' sacrifices and strengthen the ties that exist between Fismes and the United States, specifically the State of Pennsylvania. This bridge will enrich the history of Fismes during World War I as well. The memorial site is supported by the City of Fismes in partnership with the Fismes Office of Tourism and its region. The Association of Leisure and Recreation Services will also be involved with the project.[16]

The memorial will consist of four exterior panels visible to the public. Each panel will display a different representation of Fismes during the First World War and its assistance and liberation by American soldiers in the 28th Infantry Division. The memorial will be officially inaugurated in September 2018.[17]

Notable people linked to the commune[edit]

  • Athanase Coquerel (1820-1875), theologian
  • Félix Billet
  • Camille Auguste Mercier (1848-1881), scholar
  • Sophie Manéglier (1803-1892), writer
  • Albert Uderzo, French cartoonist and co-creator of Astérix, born in Fismes.
  • César de Costentin de Tourville (died in 1647), Count of Fismes, military officer, father of Marshall Anne-Hilarion de Tourville, vice-admiral of France.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002 [1], the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" which allow, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.


  1. ^ Inhabitants of Marne (in French)
  2. ^ Fismes in the Competition for Towns and Villages in Bloom Archived December 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (in French)
  3. ^ Google Maps
  4. ^ Les noms de lieux, PUF, coll. Que sais-je ?, Paris, 1969
  5. ^ Notice for the commune of Fismes, consulted on 12 May 2013. (in French)
  6. ^ List of Mayors of France
  7. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA51000140 Laplanche Foundry (in French)
  8. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA51000136 Ets Déodat Fancy Goods Factory (in French)
  9. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA51000135 Ets Beucher Wire Works (in French)
  10. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA51000139 Goumant Sugar Refinery (in French)
  11. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA51000558 War Memorial (in French)
  12. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA51000225 Ets Gantois Wire Works (in French)
  13. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA51000141 Roland Flour Mill (in French)
  14. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00078711 Church of Saint Macre (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  15. ^ Husson, Jean-Pierre. "Le Pont-monument de Fismette à Fismes (Marne)". Supplément du Bulletin municipal. Retrieved 2016-06-17. 
  16. ^ Pinon, Jean-Pierre. "Project for the Establishment of a Memorial Site in Fismes 1914-1918". County Centennial Committee of the First World War. Hôtel de Ville à Fismes. 
  17. ^ Pinon, Jean-Pierre (2016-05-19). "Creation of a Memorial Site of the « Battle of Fismes » August-September 1918". Hôtel de Ville. Hôtel de Ville. 

External links[edit]