Lésigny (French pronunciation: [leziɲi]) is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne département in the Île-de-France region in the south-eastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is 20 km (12 mi) from Paris.
The town is well known for its affluence and for the Château de Grande Romaine, which hosted the Brazilian national football team during FIFA World Cup 1998, as well as famous European football teams such as Paris Saint-Germain FC, Olympique de Marseille, AS Monaco FC and Chelsea FC. Since becoming residential, Lésigny has hosted many celebrities. Many movies and advertisements were filmed in Lésigny's Americanized districts.
Lésigny is 22 km to the east of Paris in the department of Seine-et-Marne. It is a suburban area bordering the forest of Notre-Dame. 267 hectares of the forest's 2200 hectares are in the territory of Lésigny.
Inhabitants are called Lésigniens.
William Levitt (1907–1994), born Jewish and originally from Russia and Austria, was an American real estate developer known as the founder of the modern American suburb, "suburbia". The 1920s was the beginning of commercial aviation. William's dreamed of becoming a pilot ... But the voice of reason naturally joined the family business: Levitt & Sons. Proponents of long standing, they have built their reputation by building high-class homes for the most part "on and around" of Long Island in New York.
During the Second World War, William served as lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers of the U.S. Navy "SEABEE." It leverages its expertise in testing a full-scale construction project necessary military barracks for the troops on the move in the Pacific. His "Service Record " note however, that William shine more ... by his attendance at the bar mess officer that his presence on the ground, but there is a man very close to his men, some would join after the war, the family business.
After the war, William Levitt became aware of making available affordable housing for veterans. This is the beginning of "The American Way of Life". In 1947 he became the sole developer can build an entire city. "Levittown" in the state of New York is the first of many. His fame grew and he built up to 1968 more than 140,000 homes.
In the mid-60, the developer decides to export its projects in Europe. He crossed the Atlantic and planted the American flag on French soil. The time is favorable. The state seeks to effect innovative projects corresponding to the needs of the population changing social, economic. "L'Oree de Lésigny" and "Le Parc de Lésigny" are his most famous.
These programs are very daring for its time and culture, then give him the nickname "The De Gaulle of home building." These French investments years are emotional. Indeed, a great lover of art works, he uses his trips to France to buy old master paintings (Degas, Matisse,...). On this occasion, he met Simone Korchin, a French art dealer for over 20 years his junior. He then falls in love: "I have no more space on my walls. I think I'm going to marry you! "... She became his third wife.
Momentum, William Levitt sold his shares to ITT (International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation), while continuing to serve on the board. He became one of the richest men in the United States. And then came the 1970s with their oil crises and stock market. Investments lose over 90% of their values. The businessman tries to rebound in the amount of real estate programs, but will only be a result of failures.
William Jaird LEVITT, "the man who built a house every 16 minutes," ends, ironically, ruined in a hospital funded entirely by its charitable giving! In 1994, suffering from cancer and unable to pay his care, he died in the settlement total. In the early 1960s, France is a real home building site.
Programs across vertical cities are mushrooming. These include housing developments available to families repatriated from Algeria after independence, known as “Pieds Noirs”. But over time, these programs do not age well and are deserted. It should then propose something else. The evolution of habitat change in France. The first subdivisions appear ... Some dare to innovation by providing new models
In 1968, Lésigny decides to leave his country purely through the initiation of neighborhood residential areas. William Levitt Jaird becomes the "pilot". And it is under the mandate of Jean Magne, then mayor of Lésigny, the joint becomes the reference of the "American Way of Life Made in France". In seven years, in our municipality, the population increased from 375 to 6567 people!
Lésigny offers middle-class families visiting the "first model homes," an original way of living, meeting the needs of a social class, with the characteristic elements of the North American suburbia.
The product touted by American promoters, is indeed unique: a "private residence" with a "private garden, park in a giant house with a fitted kitchen with a refrigerator brand IGNIS, stove , of built-in wardrobes in each room, more restrooms, ... "
For each of the residences, William Levitt establishes rules of common life and customs similar to Anglo-Saxon. It prohibits garden sheds ... visible signs of the proletariat, as drying clothes outdoors, growing vegetables and long-term parking of caravans. Unique, the residences are autonomous and sole owner of the roads and infrastructure.
This set of rules makes the difference. For the first inhabitants of residences “L'Orée de Lésigny” and “Le Parc de Lésigny”, as the Americans of the previous century, live in a community subject to a strict building regulations, is not devoid of sense gratifying to play a pioneering new way of life and belonging to an elite included.
Although these houses are adapted to living with the French living space and smaller roads, this is all for this time of a bold challenge to offer luxury goods at the time the price of a simple apartment!
William Levitt certainly brings a different lifestyle but also innovative construction technologies. Indeed, at that time that could have bet on half-brick houses, half-wood, built with drywall partitions. Houses based on floor-reinforced concrete slab with no crawl space, directly on a compacted embankment and isolated? No more costly foundations. For the French builders of that time and developers, this project can only be doomed to failure.
With an advertising campaign and the very powerful “viva voce”, the operation is a success. They appeared in the early 1970s. First, is built "Le Parc" with its 600 homes on land up to 1000 m2, with a "recreation center" including a private swimming pool and tennis. A shopping center was created along the road, enlarged for the occasion.
Then a second project of 276 homes being built, "L'Orée." Originally the project "L'Orée de Lésigny" does not include the “Recreation Centre. Place Crecy, on the plans, gives access to individual houses instead of tennis courts and swimming pool. The remarks are potential buyers, however, change the project. The houses are disappearing in favor of a Recreational Centre offering a range of services similar to that of the residence of “Le Parc”.
And surprisingly, the developer replaces the same sovereign right of the state, providing turnkey school two sets: a nursery school at the entrance of “L'Orée” has since become an associative complex city and a primary school in “Le Parc”, dedicated to the residents.
While the suburbs South-East is less "chic" that the West of Paris but this program real estate near Orly airport and CDG airport future seduces a particular category of French airline staff. They are the same, a certain lifestyle with unfenced gardens "Open Garden" on the front of houses, garages included, such as covered porches, Louisiana. The entrance doors are carved and stained with the bell typical "proudly made in USA-OHIO-Dayton", all handles and locks are made of brass, all these attributes "made in USA" can be a great reminder rubbed in their long overseas stays.
« L'Orée » and « Le Parc de Lésigny » are still the property complexes often cited as success stories in the textbooks of urban planning and architecture. The visionary spirit of William Levitt is always present, often imitated but never equaled. They evolve with the times, knowing that their half-American sisters, keep this inimitable character who made a reference that is their attraction. Of course, changes in our society and technology requires an adjustment in the application of such specifications must learn to evolve in our time. But philosophy and lifestyle of this piece of American Way of Life "made in France" must keep the essence of his initial success. And all residents must preserve this heritage.
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