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Title: Vitry-en-Artois  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Vitry, Vitry-En-Artois Airport, Maurice Benjamin, Battle of Barking Creek, Brunhilda of Austrasia
Collection: Communes of Pas-De-Calais
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Vitry-en-Artois is located in France
Country France
Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Department Pas-de-Calais
Arrondissement Arras
Canton Vitry-en-Artois
Intercommunality Osartis
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Personne
Area1 18.78 km2 (7.25 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 4,441
 • Density 240/km2 (610/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 62865 / 62490
Elevation 41–72 m (135–236 ft)
(avg. 48 m or 157 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.

Vitry-en-Artois is a commune and in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Population 3
  • Places of interest 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Vitry-en-Artois is situated some 12 miles (19.3 km) northeast of Arras, at the junction of the N50, D39 and the D42 roads. The river Scarpe flows through the town, which is also served by the SNCF railway. The World War II German airfield was later used by the Americans, then after the war, was put to commercial use as the local aerodrome.


The origin of the name comes from the Celtic, ‘’Vic’’ which means "castle" and ‘Ac’’ which means "at the water's edge". It appears later as "Victoriacum" mentioned in the 7th century. Middle stone age tools have been found in the area.

It was occupied by the Romans, until around the year 360 AD when Saint-Martin built a church here.

Aerial photography has revealed an isolated circular ditch monument at Vitry.[1] The Merovingian villa of Vitry was an important Neustrian seat, preferred to Arras. At Vitry, even as the nobles of Neustria were raising Sigibert I in triumph on his shield, he was murdered by hirelings of his brother Chilperic's third wife, Fredegunda, November–December 575.[2] His son, the infant Clotaire II was taken to safety from the palace at Cambrai to Vitry to be raised in seclusion and security, according to Gregory of Tours.

In the Middle Ages, Vitry became a strategic place, because the river could be used to flood the defensive border of the city of Douai and ensure the functioning of its windmills.

During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, French General Faidherbe briefly established his headquarters in Vitry-en-Artois (from 25 to 31 December 1870) after the battle of Pont-Noyelles.

During the First World War, the population took refuge in the network of shelters and tunnels of the town. The destruction sustained on April 12, 1917 left the town completely destroyed, with 768 buildings gone and only 5 left standing.

On 23 September 1920, the town received the Croix de guerre.


Historical population of Vitry-en-Artois
Year 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006
Population 3389 3593 4748 4738 4732 4606 4441
From the year 1962 on: No double counting—residents of multiple communes (e.g. students and military personnel) are counted only once.

Places of interest

  • The church of St.Martin, rebuilt, along with much of the village, after World War I.
  • The war memorial.

See also


  • INSEE commune file
  1. ^ Discoveries
  2. ^ Gregory of Tours, IV.51 and V.1. He was buried nearby at Lambres before being transferred to the Neustrian sedes regiae at Soissons

External links

  • Vitry-en-Artois on the Quid website (French)
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