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Blason de Besançon/Arms (crest) of Besançon

Country : France

Département : Doubs
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Official blazon
French D'or à l'aigle de sable, tenant de ses serres deux colonnes de gueules brochant sur les ailes.
English Or, an eagle displayed sable holding two columns palewise gules encroaching upon the wings


The city of Besançon received arms in 1535 by Emperor Charles V. These arms showed the double-headed Imperial Eagle, with the two colums taken from the arms of Spain and the Emperor. They also refer to the old Roman road passing through the city.

At the same time the city also was granted the motto Plus Ultra, taken from the Imperial arms, which was later changed to Utinam (roughly translated as to Please God). The motto is not officially used at present.

The double-headed eagle was rapidly reduced to a single-headed eagle afterwards.

During Napoleonic times, the city received new arms, with a black lion instead of the eagle. In addition to that the city was granted the right to use three bees in the chief, as a city of first rank.

Blason de Besançon/Arms (crest) of Besançon

The arms from 1804-1815

In the beginning of the 20th century the arms were still used with a double-headed eagle (see image below), but the city nowadays uses again a normal eagle.

Image gallery

Literature: Louis, 1949

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