Le Billet d’Humeur
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The hamlet of Migneaux, which owes its existence to the little brook delivering water to the mills, used to have guingettes (open-air cafés with dancing) and cafés in the early 20th century, in front of which conscripts used to enjoy having their photographs taken. Today, rue de Migneaux and old rue du Vieux Moulin meander through green, unspoilt countryside from La Coudraie to the railway track. There are some beautiful properties hiding at the end of the driveways.
The hamlet of La Maladrerie: A leper colony is said to have existed on this spot from the 12th century. This building, which was used to isolate people suffering from leprosy from the rest of the population, was nevertheless situated on the so-called “route de quarante sous”, a major traffic route, joining Paris to Mantes. The chapel, placed under the invocation of Saint Lazarus, has been listed in the Supplementary Inventory of Listed Buildings since 1937. It is a private property and is in danger of falling into ruin unless it is maintained. The hamlet of La Maladrerie stretches alongside the national road to the entrance of the A14 motorway.
The hamlets of Béthemont and La Bidonnière. These hamlets are situated on the plateau between Chambourcy and Orgeval and for a long time they made a living from agricultural activities and tree culture. In 1967, the recession caused by competition and urbanisation led to the gradual disappearance of the orchards, which were replaced by small red berries on many of the plots. These two hamlets nevertheless still provide a valuable green lung for the town.
Béthemont golf course, built in the forest in 1989, can be compared to some of the old golf courses. Its challenging 18-hole course, lying between woods and stretches of water, is designed by the architect Bernard Langer and attracts the most demanding of players. The tower of Béthemont, perched at a strategic height, was one of the essential links in the Valley of the Seine’s defence system during the Middle Ages. With a height of 20 metres, it was captured from the English by Joan of Arc’s troops in September 1429, an episode in the Hundred Years’ War which is illustrated in a stained-glass window in the Collegiate church. It was retaken by the enemy a little later. Its ruins, which are located on the land belonging to the golf course, can still be seen in winter from the motorway. The château of Poncy, which was converted into a fortified farm, formed part of the defence system protecting the route between Rouen and Paris from the 12th century. The farm is still in operation and is surrounded by agricultural land (fields and orchards) that is protected within the town’s urban planning documents.
There are over 70 hectares (about 173 acres) of parkland available for nature lovers. La Charmille Park, Meissonier Park and the banks of the river Seine are the most spectacular and popular.