CambraiCambrai (, ; Kimbré ; Kamerijk ), formerly Cambray and historically in English Camerick or Camericke, is a commune in the Nord department and in the Hauts-de-France region of France on the Scheldt river, which is known locally as the Escaut river.
A sub-prefecture of the department, Cambrai is a town which had 32,518 inhabitants in the Census of 2009. It is in the heart of the which, with 47,138 inhabitants, ranks as 7th largest of the department. Its , a more extensive range, included 65,986 inhabitants in 2009. With Lille and the towns of the former Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, it is also part of the which has more than 3.8 million inhabitants.
Towards the end of the Roman Empire, Cambrai replaced Bavay as the "capital" of the land of the Nervii. At the beginning of the Merovingian era, Cambrai became the seat of an immense archdiocese covering all the right bank of the Scheldt and the centre of a small ecclesiastical principality, roughly coinciding with the shire of Brabant, including the central part of the Low Countries. The bishopric had some limited secular power and depended on the Holy Roman Empire until annexation to France in 1678. Fénelon, nicknamed the "Swan of Cambrai", was the most renowned of the archbishops.
The fertile lands which surround it and the textile industry gave it prosperity in the Middle Ages, but in modern times it is less industrialised than its neighbours of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
Cambrai was the Duke of Wellington's headquarters, for the British Army of Occupation, from 1815 to 1818. Occupied and partly destroyed by the German army during World War I, Cambrai saw unfold in its vicinity the Battle of Cambrai (20 November 1917 – 3 December 1917) where tanks were massively and successfully used for the first time. A second Battle of Cambrai took place between 8 and 10 October 1918 as part of the Hundred Days Offensive. World War II was followed by reconstructions and a rapidly developing economy and population, abruptly reversed by the 1973 oil crisis.
Cambrai today is a lively city and, despite the past destruction, maintains a rich monumental heritage. Cambrai is affirmed as the urban centre of Cambrésis. Its economic life is strengthened by its position on the main local highway and river.
LocationThe town of Cambrai is located in the south of the Nord Department, of which it is chef-lieu of the arrondissement. It belongs to the dense network of the cities of the area which are separated by a few tens of kilometres: Douai is only 24 km}}, Valenciennes is and Saint-Quentin , Paris is
The Leprince-Ringuet plan was only partially achieved, but the streets were removed, others expanded, and new paths were created as the Avenue de la Victoire [Avenue of Victory].
Further destruction due to the Allied bombing of April–August 1944 again required a reconstruction. It was especially, in the years following World War II, to rehouse the victims and to cope with the expanding population. Priority was given to detached houses, and new quarters appeared, such as the "Martin–Martine" subdivision south-east of the city. In the 1980s the municipality worked to restore and develop the ancient heritage.
HousingCambrai had 16,256 housing units in 2007, of which 14,745 were occupied as primary residences.
The proportion of individual housing is stronger than in the rest of the country (61.5% versus 56.8%). One can see both a regional tendency (73.9% of individual housing for Nord-Pas-de-Calais) and as a consequence of the presence in Cambrai by the headquarters of the Maison Familiale group, a national developer of detached houses which was particularly active in the years 1960 to 1980. Due to the relatively small size of the city and the high proportion of detached houses, Cambrai has few "estates" where any social problems could be concentrated.
Primary residences dominate with 90.6%, versus 83% for the rest of the country, and one can especially note the very low proportion of secondary residences in Cambrai: 0.3% compared with 9.2% for the national average.The proportion of owners, at 46.4%, is lower than in the rest of the country (54.7%) or the region (55.1%). The tenants are much more numerous, 50.5% in Cambrai, against little more than 40% in the region and in France. Among rental housing, the proportion of HLM housing, at 19.2%, follows the regional trend of 20.4%, which is significantly higher than the national average of 16%.
The age of the accommodation in Cambrai is distinguished from both regional and national averages. Housing is older, on average, in Cambrai than in the region or the country. The proportion of (pre-1949) "old" housing, is close to the regional average (40.6% at Cambrai against 39.9% for the region) but significantly higher than the French average of 32.9%. Meanwhile, dwellings built between 1949 and 1974 account for 42.9% of the total in Cambrai, significantly above the 31.5% of the region and 33% of the country. This proportion can probably be explained by the necessary reconstruction which followed the destruction of World War II, as well as programmes of Maison Familiale group homes, mentioned earlier, in the 1960s and 1970s. More recent housing is relatively less in the city than in the rest of France or even in the region: 11.8% of accommodation in Cambrai was built between 1975 and 1989, compared with 21.7% in the region and 23.7% in France; 4.6% have been built since 1990, compared with 6.8% in the Nord department and 10.4% in France. This is probably a consequence of the less dynamic economy and population of the city in recent years.
Finally, the accommodation is slightly better equipped than in the rest of the region in Cambrai, but rather less well than the French average: 3.8% have no bath or shower (2.3% in France, 4.7% in the region), 86.6% have central heating (78.2% in the region, 84.1% in France), and 4.3% have two bathrooms (4.4% in the region, 10% in France).
The agglomeration community seeks to improve the quality of the accommodation by various means: Encourage rehabilitation of vacant properties, expand available accommodation which is suitable for elderly or handicapped people, increase the supply of rentals and promote the construction of more energy-efficient housing. The creation of 960 new social houses was provided over six years, from 2008 to 2014.
The signed in 2007 with the city and the urban community was the first of the Nord department. Five quarters, not classified as "sensitive urban areas", are concerned: The old centre where old habitat remains, the l'Amérique and La Forêt estates, consisting primarily of multi-family housing, and the d'Esnes and de Guise estates dominated by single-family housing.
Development projectsIn 2010, the projects of the municipality include:
On the other hand, the revolves around eight themes: "Cambrai, an urban centre in the countryside", "Preserve and enhance the natural, rural and agricultural space", "Reclaim and restructure", "Render Cambrai fully in its urbanity", "Build upon the city of history", "Save and protect the environment, improve the quality of the living environment", "Ensuring economic and sustainable development", and also "Mastering travel or promoting changes in modes of transport".
ToponymyThe location is attested as Camaracum in the 4th century in the Peutinger Table and Cameracum (no date). It recognises the Gallo-Roman suffix of Celtic origin "place of", "property of", preceded by an element not identified with certainty. Albert Dauzat and Charles Rostaing offered the Gallo-Roman type name of a person called Camarus.
This is also found in the anthroponym of Chambray (Eure) (Cambracus 1011, Cameragus to 1025). Variants Cambarius and Camarius would also explain Cambayrac, Chambry in Aine and the same in Seine-et-Marne, Chamery, Chémery, etc. François de Beaurepaire notes that it may also be a pre-Latin camar or cambar theme. However, Xavier Delamarre cited the personal name Cambarius, which he considers as based on the Gallic word cambo- "curve" (cf. old Irish camb, camm "curved", "bent" or "twisted"). Camarus would be a variant of this Gallic nickname meaning "that which is curved".
The Cambrai shape is Normanno-Picard with a hard "C", characteristic of the north of the Joret line and therefore corresponds to the form of Francien type Chambray. In addition, the name of the town was written Cambray until the French Revolution.
It is known under the name of Kamerijk in Dutch and formerly Kamerich in German and Camberick/Cambrick in English.
Little is known with certainty of the beginnings of Cambrai. Camaracum or Camaraco, as it was known to the Romans, is mentioned for the first time on the Peutinger table in the middle of the 4th century. It became the main town of the Roman province of the Nervii, whose first Roman capital had been at Bagacum, present-day Bavay.
In the middle of the 4th-century, Frankish raids from the north threatened Bavay and led the Romans to build forts along the Cologne to Bavay to Cambrai road, and thence to Boulogne. Cambrai thus occupied an important strategic position. In the early 5th century the town had become the administrative centre of the Nervii in replacement of Bavay which was probably too exposed to the Franks' raids and perhaps too damaged.
Christianity arrived in the region at about the same time. A bishop of the Nervii by the name of Superior is mentioned in the middle of the 4th century, but nothing else is known about him.
In 430 the Salian Franks under the command of Clodio the Long-Haired took the town. In 509 Clovis undertook to unify the Frankish kingdoms by getting rid of his relatives. One of them was Ragnachar, who ruled over a small kingdom from Cambrai.
Middle AgesCambrai began to grow from a rural market into a real city during the Merovingian times, a long period of peace when the bishoprics of Arras and Cambrai were first unified (probably owing to the small number of clerics left at the time) and were later transferred to Cambrai, an administrative centre for the region. Successive bishops, including Gaugericus (in French Géry), founded abbeys and churches to host relics, which contributed powerfully to giving Cambrai both the appearance and functions of a city.When the Treaty of Verdun in 843 split Charlemagne's empire into three parts, the county of Cambrai fell into Lothaire's kingdom. However, upon the death of Lothair II, who had no heir, king Charles the Bald tried to gain control of his kingdom by having himself sacred at Metz. Cambrai thus reverted, but only briefly, to the Western Frankish Realm. In 870 the town was destroyed by the Normans.
By 925 Henry the Fowler had regained control of Lothair's former domains. Cambrai henceforth belonged to the Holy Roman Empire, in an uncomfortable position on the border with France, until it was annexed by France eight centuries later after being captured by Louis XIV in 1677.In the Middle Ages the region around Cambrai, called Cambrésis, was a county. Rivalries between the count, who ruled the city and county, and the bishop, ceased when in 948 Otto I granted the bishop with temporal powers over the city. In 1007, Emperor Henry II extended the bishop's temporal power to the territory surrounding Cambrai. The bishops then had both spiritual and temporal powers. This made Cambrai and Cambrésis a church principality, much like Liège, an independent state which was part of the Holy Roman Empire. The spiritual power of the bishop was exercised over a vast diocese, which stretched on the right bank of the Scheldt to Mons, Brussels and Antwerp. In 953, the Magyars besieged Cambrai, which resisted all their attacks.
In 958 one of the first communal uprisings in Europe occurred in Cambrai. The inhabitants rebelled against Bishop Bérenger's power and abuses. The rebellion was severely repressed, but the discontent flared up again in the 10th and 11th centuries. Between 1077 and 1215, the burghers had a charter franchise on at least four occasions. Each time, these were eventually withdrawn by the combined efforts of the bishops and emperors. In 1227, following another period of unrest, the burghers of Cambrai finally had to give up their charters and accept the bishop's authority. However, the Loi Godefroid promulgated by the bishop, in fact or in law, left the people a number of freedoms won in the management of communal affairs.
Cambrai is also known for its Irish homily.
In the Middle Ages the city grew richer and larger thanks to its weaving industry which produced woollen cloth, linen and cambric. Cambrai, and in particular the drapery, experienced an economic decline from the 15th century. Other composers included Nicolas Grenon, Alexander Agricola, and Jacob Obrecht. In the 16th century, Philippe de Monte, Johannes Lupi, and Jacobus de Kerle all worked there.
Hundred Years' WarEven though the bishop tried to preserve the independence of his small state of Cambrésis, the task was not easy, wedged as the county was between its more powerful neighbours the counts of Flanders, of Hainaut and the kings of France, especially during the Hundred Years' War. In 1339, in the early stages of the war, the English king Edward III laid siege to the city but eventually had to withdraw. By the 14th century the county was surrounded on all parts by Burgundy's possessions and John of Burgundy, an illegitimate son of John the Fearless, was made bishop. However, what looked like an impending annexation of Cambrésis to the states of Burgundy was made impossible by the sudden death of Charles the Bold in 1477. Louis XI immediately seized the opportunity to take control of Cambrai, but left the city a year later.
The legend of Martin and MartineMartin and Martine are two legendary characters who have come to represent the city which they are said to have saved. There are different versions of the story. The most commonly accepted version runs as follows: around the year 1370, at the time of Bishop Robert, Count of Geneva, Martin, a blacksmith of Moorish descent established in Cambrai, was among the burghers who left the city to fight the lord of Thun-Lévêque, who was then reputed to ransom the population around the city and generally to afflict the region. Martin, armed only with his heavy iron hammer, soon came face to face with the enemy. He dealt such a heavy blow on his opponent's head that, although the helmet of the lord did not break, because it was made of good steel, it was driven down to his eyes. Dazed and blinded, the lord of Thun quickly surrendered. Today the automatons of Martin and Martine, standing at the top of the town hall, strike the hours with a hammer as a reminder of that mighty blow.
Early Modern eraAs the economic centre of northern Europe moved away from Bruges, the area became poorer, with an associated period of cultural decline. However the city's neutrality and its position between the possessions of the Habsburg Empire and France made it the venue of several international negotiations, including the League of Cambrai, an alliance engineered in 1508 by Pope Julius II against the Republic of Venice, concluding in the . The alliance collapsed in 1510 when the Pope allied with Venice against his former ally France. The conflict is also referred to as the War of the League of Cambrai and lasted from 1508 to 1516. Cambrai was also the site of negotiations in 1529, concluding in the , which led to France's withdrawal from the War of the League of Cognac.
In 1543 Cambrai was conquered by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and annexed to his already vast possessions. He had the medieval monastery of Saint-Sépulchre demolished and a citadel built in its place.
In 1595, the city was taken by the Spanish in the eighth and last French Wars of Religion.
In 1623, the community of nuns of the English Benedictine Congregation was founded at Cambrai. Expelled in 1793 as a result of the French Revolution, its successor community has since 1838 been established at Stanbrook Abbey, near Malvern.
In 1630, Richelieu, wishing to counter the power of the Emperor and Spain, renewed the alliance of France with the United Provinces. The main effort of France had to focus on the Spanish Netherlands, and a sharing plan was established with the Dutch, with France to receive the Hainaut, Cambrésis, Artois, a large part of Flanders and Luxembourg and the County of Namur. War was declared against Spain in 1635: It was followed by a long series of wars which, compounded by subsistence and epidemics, caused crises which would bruise the Cambrésis.
Mazarin tried unsuccessfully, in 1649, to seize the city which was being besieged by Henri de Lorraine-Harcourt and the Vicomte de Turenne. A Spanish regiment, which came from Bouchain succeeded in entering the city and the siege was lifted. In 1657, the Vicomte de Turenne captured Cambrai. Again 4,000 horsemen under the command of Condé, in the service of the Spain, manage to penetrate, and Turenne abandoned the city.
In 1666, in the greatest secrecy, Louis XIV prepared new conquests by making plans of the Spanish fortifications, and then began the War of Devolution. If the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle from 1668 allowed the Kingdom of France to obtain a large number of strongholds, Cambrai was not a part, nor Bouchain, Valenciennes or Condé-sur-l'Escaut.
The annexation by FranceIn 1672, hostilities resumed against the Protestant Republic of the Netherlands and continued in the following years. In 1676, Louis XIV, in an effort to "safeguard the tranquility of his borders for ever" ("assurer à jamais le repos de ses frontières"), focused most of his efforts against Spain and occupied Condé and Bouchain. On 17 March 1677, the French troops stormed Valenciennes and moved toward Cambrai, the strongest place of the Netherlands, which was reached on 20 March. On 22 March, Louis XIV was in the city in person. On 2 April, the French invested in a part of the place. By 5 April, the city surrendered, given the same benefits as Lille in 1667, Louis XIV named the Marquis de Cesen as governor, and appointed 14 new aldermen while keeping the same .
By the Treaty of Nijmegen of 1678, Spain had relinquished Cambrai, which has remained as a part of France, to this day.
French influence would transform the architecture and urbanism of the city. The gables of the houses on the street were blocked and the city was embellished with mansions. The fortifications were reinforced with advanced works. The first archbishop appointed by the king of France was François Fénelon. He came to be known as the "Swan of Cambrai" ("le cygne de Cambrai"), in opposition to his friend and rival Bossuet, the "eagle of Meaux" ("l'aigle de Meaux"), and he wrote his Maxims of the Saints while residing in the city. He had a relentless zeal to enlighten the faithful and to convert the unfaithful.
The French RevolutionThe city suffered from the Revolution: Joseph Le Bon, sent by the Comité de salut public, arrived in Cambrai in 1794. He was to set up an era of "terror", sending many to the guillotine, until he was tried and executed in 1795. One of his most famous victims was François III Maximilien de la Woestyne, 3rd Marquess of Becelaere.
Most of the religious buildings of the city were demolished in that period: in 1797, the old cathedral, which had been dubbed the "wonder of the low countries", was sold to a merchant on 6 June 1796 who left only the tower, after exploiting the cathedral as a stone quarry. The main tower was left standing until 1809, when it collapsed in a storm. However the cathedral's archives have been preserved (they are now at the Archives Départementales du Nord in Lille) and a new cathedral was later provided.
19th centuryThe Franco-Prussian War of 1870 widely spared Cambrai. It also showed the futility of the fortifications which the city obtained permission to demolish, at its expense, in 1892. The outer boulevards were constructed and off to the location of the walls, between 1894 and the beginning of the 20th century. The appearance of the city was radically transformed, and the works stimulated the city's economy.
Main articles: ,
In 1914, the German army occupied the city: This occupation, which lasted for four years, was marked by scenes of looting, requisitions and arrests of hostages. From 20 November to 17 December 1917, the vicinity of the town of Cambrai was the theatre of the Battle of Cambrai, which saw the massive use of tanks for the first time.
In 1918, the Germans burned the city centre before leaving, destroying the city hall and the municipal archives. In total, more than 1,500 buildings were totally destroyed, of the 3,500 which consisted of Cambrai. The centre was to be rebuilt, a task which was entrusted to the architect .
World War II also struck Cambrai. The city was bombed by the Luftwaffe on 17 May 1940, during the Battle of France, before falling the next day at the same time as Saint-Quentin. The remains of the 9th French Army and General Giraud were taken prisoner by the Germans.
From 27 April until 18 August 1944, 18 Allied air raids were directed against the railway tracks, killing 250 people and destroying 1,700 buildings, or more than 50% of the city. The first American tanks entered the city on 2 September.
After the war, the priority again was reconstruction. A municipality of the "union of the left" was elected in 1945, led by who would remain at the head of the city until 1981, promoting moderate Socialism. As early as 1947, the city submitted to a development project of the Ministry of Reconstruction. The municipality gave priority to the construction of houses: The Maison du Cambrésis [House of le Cambrésis], later Maison Familiale group, an HLM cooperative society, contributed substantially to the reconstruction of the city. The population of the city progressed, while the arrondissement tended to be depopulated. At the same time, the city lost industrial jobs and moved towards the tertiary sector, but it was public administrations which provided the bulk of jobs.
Politics and administration
Political trends and results
Overall, voting in Cambrai is little different from the national vote, but the abstention rate is often higher: For example, it was 34.86% in the 2005 referendum (against 30.63%); 22.07% in the first round of the 2007 presidential election (compared with 16.23%) and 38.13% in the first round of the legislative elections of 2002 (compared to 35.58%).
Cambresiens voters seem also more cautious with regard to the European Union and the French in general: The referendum on the ratification of the Treaty on European Union of 1992 was rejected by 53.35%, while at the national level it was approved by a narrow majority of 51.04%. In 2005, the draft law on the ratification of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was rejected more widely in Cambrai (59.8% of voted "No") than at the national level (54.67%).
In the presidential election of 2007 the results of the second round were very close to national figures: 54.07% for Nicolas Sarkozy and 45.93% for Ségolène Royal, against respectively 53.06% and 46.94% at the national level. In the first round Jean-Marie Le Pen achieved a slightly better result at Cambrai (13.28%) than France (10.44%), while François Bayrou was in a reversed situation (16.77% against 18.57%). Arlette Laguiller (2.02%) and Olivier Besancenot (4.77%) were the only other candidates to exceed 1.5%. In the second round of the presidential election of 2002 Jacques Chirac arrived largely in the lead in Cambrai as in the rest of the country but Jean-Marie Le Pen's result was higher (21.11% against 17.79%).
In the legislative elections of 2007, François-Xavier Villain, the candidate related to the UMP and who was also the incumbent Mayor of Cambrai, achieved 57.42% in the first round (48.03% in the constituency). All the other candidates were below the national percentage of their party. For example, the Socialist Party achieved 22.91% against 24.73%, the Communist Party at 3.10% compared to 4.29% and the UDF at 6.21% against 7.61%. The decline of the National Front was also more marked in Cambrai (4.14%) than elsewhere (4.24%). One finds a situation close to the 2002 elections.
In the first round of the presidential election of 2012, the four candidates in the lead in Cambrai were Nicolas Sarkozy (UMP, 28.29%), François Hollande (PS, 27.56%), Marine Le Pen (FN, 20.81%) and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Left Front, 10.14%) with a turnout of 72.61%. In the second round, François Hollande was in the lead with 50.75% of the vote, with a participation rate of 73.09%.
Municipal governmentCambrai is the chef-lieu of one of the six arrondissements in the Nord department. Cambrai is also the seat of the canton of Cambrai, which consists of 27 communes (including Cambrai).
Since 22 December 1992, Cambrai is the seat of the which includes 33 communes and approximately 68,000 inhabitants. The city also adheres to the following intercommunal structures:
Cambrai was merged with the commune of Morenchies in 1971.
List of mayors
Since 1945, Cambrai has had three mayors. The city, after having constantly re-elected a Socialist mayor from the Liberation until 1977 in the person of Raymond Gernez, has since been administered by mayors from RPR or the related UMP: Jacques Legendre until 1992, then François-Xavier Villain. The latter was elected to the 18th constituency in Nord on 16 June 2002 and re-elected in 2007 and 2012.
Judicial and administrative authoritiesCambrai was for a short time the seat of the Parlement of French Flanders, from 1709 until its transfer to Douai in 1713.
The city is now within the jurisdiction of the . It is the seat of a whose jurisdiction coincides with the boundaries of the arrondissement, a Tribunal d'instance and an , installed in the restored . With the reform of the judicial map launched in 2007 the city has lost its and is linked to that of Douai.
Environmental policyBeginning 2010, the city's environmental policy seems difficult to read: There is a Directorate for the Environment at the mayor's office but the site fails to deliver any information.
The environmental policy is one of the competences of the .
International relationsCambrai is twinned with:
Population and society
DemographyIn 2012, the commune had 32,847 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses carried out in the town since 1793. From the 21st century, the communes with more than 10,000 inhabitants have a census take place every year as a result of a sample survey, unlike the other communes which have a real census every five years.The urban unit of Cambrai had 47,138 inhabitants in 2009, and the urban area 65,986 inhabitants. In other less populated regions, Cambrai would be an important city, but in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, densely populated and urbanised, the city and its suburbs come far behind Lille (1,143,125 inhabitants), Douai-Lens (552,682), Valenciennes (399,677), Dunkirk (265,974) and Maubeuge (125,000), and tied with Armentières (58,706).
The population of Cambrai increased little over the centuries: Estimated at 10,000 souls in the 15th century, it is, according to a memorandum of intendant who described it as "very diminished", at 12,000 in 1698. At the end of the Revolution, in 1801, it was still only approximately 15,000 inhabitants.
It increased slowly but steadily throughout the 19th century with a net decline in the early 20th century: the birth rate, as everywhere else in France, declined. At the same time, infant mortality remained high (20.3% in 1900, 10.2% on the eve of the war), which explains the low natural growth.
The population growth resumed at a rapid pace between the end of World War II and the beginning of the 1970s (the Trente Glorieuses), through natural increase (baby boomers and sharp decline of infant mortality) and the rural exodus, which slowly emptied the villages of Cambrésis of their population (partial) towards the town of Cambrai. This dynamism, however, showed however signs of stalling since 1968: in fact, the progress of jobs (+27.5% from 1952 to 1975) did not follow that of the population (+44.2%).
The curve was brutally reversed by the 1973 oil crisis. The city's population plummeted from the 1975 census, net migration which was largely positive in the 1960s became negative, while the natural balance, which remains positive, tends to shrink. Many traditional activities have disappeared (chocolate production, brewery, chicory, weaving, metallurgy, etc.), representing several thousand jobs.
Age structureThe graphics below represent the age structure in 2007 of the population of the commune of Cambrai, and of the Nord department population.The age structure of Cambrai at the census of 2007 was quite close to that of metropolitan France, and the Nord, with a greater deficit in the 0–14 years age group and to a lesser extent the age group of 30–44 years, a possible consequence of a negative migration balance.
Population distributionThe population distribution of Cambrai (active population aged 15 or more in employment) by showed an under-representation of managers and higher intellectual professionals (11.15%) with the French average (15.82%), in 2007, and vice versa slightly higher proportions of manual workers (25.47% compared with 23.08%), of employees (31,37% against 28.40%) and (26,41% 24.76%). The percentage of farmers is naturally low in Cambrai (0.42%).
The distribution of the population over the age of 15 years, and not enrolled in study, showed rates comparable to those of metropolitan France, in 2007, for level III and IV (Baccalauréat or Bac+2 years of study). However, it was behind the French average, and even the region, in relation to higher education (levels I and II).
EducationCambrai is the seat of a pool of training divided into three districts (Cambrai-North, Cambrai-South and Cambrai-Le Cateau) and dependent on the of Nord and the Academy of Lille.
SchoolsThe city administers twelve , and eleven .
The department manages four : Jules-Ferry, Fénelon, Lamartine and Paul-Duez.
The Nord-Pas-de-Calais region operates four : Fénelon, Paul-Duez and the vocational Louise de Bettignies and Louis-Blériot. Cambrai also has a private institution, the ensemble of Saint-Luc, bringing together three former private schools merged in September 2009: Collège Jeanne d'Arc, Institution Notre Dame de Grace (college and high school of general and technological education) and the vocational high school La Sagresse.
University lifeCambrai hosts two branches of the University of Valenciennes and Hainaut-Cambresis (UVHC), and Lille-2.
UVHC antenna prepares eleven diplomas, which include of DUT, IUP, Master Pro, professional licenses (including "Cultural Actions and Promotion of Heritage" and "Trades of Archaeology") and licenses.
The branch of Lille-2 prepares to obtain a license "mention droit" or "mention economic and social administration", as well as three professional licenses: For management of small-medium businesses, for transportation of goods and for security professions.
Finally, Catholic teaching. The whole of Saint Luc de Cambrai was a centre of higher education (Sup'Sagesse) from Bac+1 to Bac+5: BTS optician, BTS insurance, NRC, MUC, AG and AM, two professional licenses ("Operational Marketing Manager" and "Contingency Insurance and Management of Goods") and finally a Professional Master of "Entrepreneurial Strategy and Management", opened to the entrepreneurs.
With nearly 500 students in alternation, learning or school track, Sup'Sagesse is a real city centre campus, incorporating a boarding school.
Other institutions of higher education in Cambrai are the and the Institute of Nursing Education.
Among the alumni of the École des Beaux-Arts of Cambrai are Marie-Anne and Ludovic Belleval who are now both the Lamour Mill's owners and curators in Briastre.
Cultural events and festivitiesOn 15 August is the communal festival of Cambrai, and one of the highlights of the popular local life. This great festival (or ) extends for ten days in the Place de l'Hôtel de ville [City Hall Square]. The day of 15 August is punctuated by the traditional parade of the giants , symbols of the city, and a fireworks display. This festival, originally a procession which took place the day after Trinity Sunday, dates back to 1220. It was embellished over time with fireworks, banquets and cavalcades, and was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the Cambrésis. Over the centuries the festival has changed, reflecting the concerns of the contemporary: Since attachment to France it has been celebrated on 15 August, festival of the Assumption, in response to the wish of Louis XIII to devote the Kingdom to the Virgin; in 1790 it celebrated the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Fête de la Fédération; in 1802, with the signature of the concordat, the image of Our Lady of Grace was again carried in procession, reinforced by the bust of Fénelon. Under the First Empire it celebrated his Imperial Majesty Napoleon I. In the 19th century, finally, interests turned more to local life, and the progress of science and industry.
Musically, the town of Cambrai receives two festivals. Firstly, the Juventus classical music festival. The Juventus association mark young talented European soloists. They are appointed, if they accept it, "Juventus Winners" during their first participation in a Juventus festival. Every summer the old and the new winners gather for a fortnight at the festival to prepare chamber music concerts in exceptional conditions. Juventus, established in 1991 at the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans, was set at Cambrai from 1998 with the help of the General Council of the department. Meanwhile, is an alternative music festival, which has been organised since 2003. It is organised during the month of April. Les Féodales is a street show which represents the Middle Ages. The last edition took place in 2008.
The Cambrai city hall is the national headquarters of the Union for the horse breed of the "Trait du Nord". The Trait du Nord national competition is traditionally held during the last weekend of July at the Palais des Grottes. Bringing together the elite of the breed, it ends on Sunday afternoon on the Place de l’hôtel de Ville with a grand parade, the most important festive presentation in France of a breed of draft horses.
HealthMedical density is quite good at Cambrai, when compared with the regional and national averages. In the agglomeration community there are 2.04 general practitioners per 1,000 inhabitants (Nord Pas-de-Calais region and metropolitan France 1.65), and 1.98 specialist doctors per 1,000 inhabitants (region: 1.39, metropolitan France: 1.74).
The Saint-Julien hospital, which housed the poor and the sick, was founded in 1070. Today it remains as a chapel adjoining the municipal theatre. Over the following centuries, other hospitals were founded: The Saint-Lazare Hospital for lepers, the Charité Hospital, Saint-Jean Hospital, the Saint Jacques au Bois Hospital to welcome the pilgrims, the general hospice of La Charité founded in 1752 to accommodate the elderly, beggars and the marginalised.
After World War II the construction of a modern hospital was envisaged.
The Central Hospital of Cambrai has a capacity of 770 beds and 108 seats. It employs a staff of 150 officers and has a non-medical staff of 1,200. Three annex buildings are reserved for medium and long stay, maternity (1982) and Psychiatry (1983–1884) patients. A Nursing Training Institute was opened in 1967.
The work for the construction of the present site began in 1959, the installation of the patients being carried out between 1966 and 1968. In 2007, the work to modernise and expand the central hospital was undertaken.
The 2010 prize list of "the safest hospitals" places the Central Hospital of Cambrai as the 11th best in the national ranking.
Cambrai has three private clinics: The Sainte-Marie Clinic, Saint-Roch clinic and the Cambrésis Clinic.
SportsCambrai has over a hundred clubs or sporting associations, including the playing in the Women's field hockey Championship of France, as well as the team of which plays in the League (2nd division) and is the only professional club of le Cambrésis.
Facilities include six gymnasiums, two swimming pools, of which the Liberty Swimming Centre was rebuilt and reopened in 2008, the Arsenal de Balagny, which was built between 1581 and 1595, abandoned by the army in 1967 and then rehabilitated as a gym, a leisure centre, a hockey stadium, a rugby stadium and many football pitches, including the Liberty Stadium, home of AC Cambrai.
Cambrai has a rowing club that goes under the name of Union Nautique de Cambrai. The club is regularly present to the Rowing French Championships. In the early 2000s, one of its feminine team members made it to the World Championships. Since then, the club has been in the phase of beginning a new cycle based on renewed team members, especially youngsters. Every year, the club is home to the Regattas of Cambrai, during which clubs from Northern France gather for sprint-races on a 1000m distance.
The game of is practiced traditionally in regions of Cambrai and Douai.
Cambrai was the departure point for Stage 4 of the 2004 Tour de France and once again the departure point of Stage 4 in the 2010 Tour de France. Cambrai hosted the finish of Stage 4 in the 2015 Tour de France, on 7 July, with a route from Seraing.
In 2010, the newspaper L'Equipe ranked Cambrai among the top five cities as the most sporty in France with more than 20,000 inhabitants, along with Lorient, Colmar, Antibes and Tarbes. The special prize of "Sport and Disability" was awarded to the city for its access to sport for people with disabilities.
MediaThe La Voix du Nord regional daily publishes a local edition. The L'Observateur du Cambrésis is a weekly local news and announcements. The municipal newspaper Le Cambrésien is distributed in all the mailboxes of the city.
Cambrai is part of the territory served by radio BLC, a community radio station whose programmes are broadcast from Caudry. The inhabitants of Cambrai also have, in addition to some national radio stations, the programmes of France Bleu Nord, Chérie FM Cambrai and RFM Nord.
The city is covered by the programmes of France 3 Nord and the national DTT channels. It also received the regional channel of . Oxygen TV is a web TV channel "100% of Cambrai" devoted to local information.
WorshipThe people of Cambrai have places of Catholic, Protestant and Muslim worship.
Cambrai is the seat of a Catholic archbishopric, suffragan of Lille since 29 March 2008. Until then, it was the opposite situation with the Archdiocese of Cambrai as the metropolitan archdiocese and Lille and Arras as its suffragans. The Archdiocese of Cambrai includes the arrondissements of Cambrai, Valenciennes and Avesnes-sur-Helpe. The deanery of Cambrai brings together 13 churches grouped into two parishes: Our Lady of Grace and Saint Vaast-Saint Géry.
The Baptist community has an Evangelical Baptist Church, just as there is a parish of the Reformed Church of France.
The Moroccan cultural and religious association of Cambrai manages the Al Mohssinine Mosque of Escaudain.
In early 2010, there was no synagogue in Cambrai.
EconomyCambrai is the seat of the . In April 2007, it decided to merge with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Arras, a decision which was called into question on 4 October 2007, by the Ministry of Supervision of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
As a result of the planned closure in 2012 , Cambrai and Cambrésis are classified from 1 January 2010 and until 31 December 2012 in the free zone "Zone of Defence Restructuring", allowing enterprises to create, settle or develop tax and social security exemptions.
Economic historyAs early as the Middle Ages, Cambrai was both an agricultural market for its region, which produces mainly cereals and wool, and a centre of weaving (sheets, woad, cloth, linen, chiffon). This dual role would persist for a long time. The drapery declined at the end of the 13th century but it was replaced by batiste, a speciality of the city, which experienced its greatest trend in the 17th century. Production declined, in turn, in the following century, but in 1775 there were still 58,000 pieces of batiste marked to Cambrai.
Economic activity declined under the First Empire due to the wars and the British blockade. In the 19th century, the textile industry remained as the dominant activity of the city, with 2,546 workers, men, women and children, in 1848. Batiste made the bulk of Cambrai's trade with other productions such as soap and refined sea salt. The food industry grew: Brasserie, chicory; the Bêtise de Cambrai was invented in 1850.
After the World War II reconstruction stimulated the building industry. New enterprises were created from 1950: Hosiery, mechanics and carpentry employed several thousand people, while traditional manufacturing was disappearing: Chicory, chocolate, brewery and weaving. The economic crisis, of the 1970s, seriously degraded the employment situation.
Business and shopsThere are four zones and parks of activity in the agglomeration:
Income of the population and taxationIn 2009, the median was €15,302, which ranks Cambrai at 25,917th place among the 31,604 communes with more than 50 households in metropolitan France.
In 2008, 263 Cambrai tax households performed the solidarity tax on wealth, for a mean wealth of €1.665 million and an average tax amount of €5,017.
EmploymentAccording to the results of the 2006 Census, the economically active population aged 15 and over of the commune included 14,597 people, 18.4% were unemployed (France: 11.5%) and 81.6% were employed (France: 88.5%). Among the unemployed, most affected were "less than 20 years" (44.39%) and "20–24 years" (31.81%).
The distribution of jobs by sector of activity shows the predominant weight (more than 80%) of the tertiary sector. This distribution reflects the role which the administrative and commercial centre plays in the commune for the surrounding countryside.
The distribution of jobs by socio-professional categories shows under-representation of "executives and intellectual professions", and "farmers", as well as an over-representation of the "intermediary professions" and "employees".
The journeys to work are mostly by car (73.93%, France 70.2%) and one can note the low weight of transport (4.57 per cent against an average of 13.53% in France).
Local culture and heritage
French sartorial heritageThe city was a pivotal center of mulquinerie
Sites and monuments
Main article:A large part of the monumental heritage of Cambrai has disappeared over the centuries. It was firstly Charles V, in order to build a citadel at the Mont-des-Bœufs, who ordered the destruction of the Abbey Saint-Gery of Gothic style in 1543.
During the French Revolution all of the religious buildings of the town were sold as national property and destroyed, including the old cathedral. Only four churches, a converted attic, a hospital, a Temple of reason and a prison, were spared.
The dismantling of the fortifications, from 1894, led to the disappearance of many gates. Some have been preserved thanks to the interventions of the Society of Emulation of the city.
World War I was again responsible for significant destruction, the German army undermined and torched the city centre before retirement in September 1918: A total of 1,214 buildings are destroyed, including the city hall which was rebuilt in neoclassical style before the Revolution by the architects Jacques Denis Antoine and Nicolas-Henri Jardin.
Finally at the end of World War II, in April 1944, and then again in May, July and until 11 August, Cambrai suffered Allied bombardments: A total of 55% of the buildings were heavily damaged and 13% were completely destroyed.
Despite this considerable destruction, the city kept an important monumental heritage. Cambrai has been classified as a City of Art and History since 1992, the first town of the Nord department to obtain this prestigious label.
Religious heritageThe Our Lady of Grace Cathedral, completed in 1703 in the classical style of the time, replaced the admirable Gothic Cathedral from the 12th century after the Revolution of 1789. There is no trace on the present Place Fénelon of the former building. The apse contains the monumental tomb of Fénelon, a masterpiece of the sculptor David d'Angers, and the semitransepts with l'Icône Notre Dame de Grâce [the Icon of Our Lady of Grace] and the nine reputed grisailles by Geeraerts of Antwerp. The grand organs were built by the house of of Ixelles in 1897. After the events of World War I, extensive restoration was undertaken by the organ builder Auguste Convers, who brought the current instrument to 49 stops with 3,670 pipes. The building was classified in the inventory of Historic Monuments on 9 August 1906.
The most commonly called the College of the Jesuits' Chapel, completed in 1692, is a unique example of Baroque art in France, to the north of Paris. The chapel served as a prison to the nearby Revolutionary Court in 1794, and it was classified in the inventory of Historic Monuments on 30 April 1920.
The , a listed historical monument since 26 November 1919, is one of the oldest monuments of Cambrai. It contains a remarkable choir screen in polychromatic marble carved by the Cambrai native Gaspard Marsy as well as La mise au tombeauu by Peter Paul Rubens dating from 1616. The grand organs built in 1867 by Merklin were the subject of a significant transformation in 1978. The current instrument has 41 stops. This church has been the subject of a restoration of the frontage and roofing over a period of four years (2011–2015).
Other buildings of Cambrai are also classified or listed as Historic Monuments. The former has been registered since 2 March 1943, and the have been classified as Historic Monuments since 1949.
Military heritageThe Citadel: Despite its dismantling in the 19th century, the Citadel of Charles V retained the counter-mine galleries which are today buried; the Royal gate and drawbridge, classified in the inventory of historical monuments on 14 April 1932, flanked on the back of two guardhouses and an arsenal of the 16th century. Among subsequent developments, a powder magazine, housing for officers and a "bombproof" barracks of the 19th century are also noteworthy.
The is an old fortified château, which was built in the 11th century. Once isolated by the waters of the Scheldt, it has retained its towers and walls and especially buried ducts. The ducts include much graffiti which attests to the desperation of the prisoners, confined on the orders of the Count-Bishop.
The (late 14th century), (17th century) and the (or Saint-Fiacre), the Caudron (1st half of the 15th century) and (16th century) are the remains of the medieval walls.
Civil heritageThe , formerly the bell tower of the Church of Saint-Martin. The monument, built in the 15th century, became a belfry of Cambrai in 1550. Classified in the inventory of historical monuments on 15 July 1965, this building was inscribed by UNESCO, within a group of 23 in the north of France, as an extension of the 30 Belgian belfries inscribed in 1999 under the name of "Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia".
The city hall, renovated in 1932, opens onto the Grand'Place by a majestic Greek-style façade, surmounted by a bell tower where two bronze bell ringers, giant and Moorish type, strike the hours on a big bell above the big clock: , the protectors of the city. The marriage hall contains a series of frescoes and can be visited on request.
The Hotel de Francqueville (18th century) houses the rich collections of the , considerably enlarged and renovated in 1994. The relief map of the city, as it was at the end of the 17th century, is the starting point for essential guided tours of the city.
The Maison Espagnole [Spanish House], headquarters of the Tourist Office, dates from 1595 and is the last house which is half-timbered and gabled on regional-style street. Oak sculptures (chimeras and caryatids) which adorned its façade in the 19th century are exposed on the first floor inside after undergoing a serious restoration. One can visit its medieval cellars. This building has been classified in the inventory of historical monuments on 31 August 1920.The covered market, built after World War II, is home to lively Les Halles market days.
The subterranean space
These gardens, and in particular their statues, were damaged by the two world wars. In 1972, a modern hall, named as the Palais des Grottes [Mansion of Caves] and hosting exhibitions, trade fairs and concerts, was built in the middle of the garden of the same name.
A few other squares or gardens complement the green spaces of Cambrai: Fenelon Square, established in 1861 to the designs of Barillet-Deschamps on the site of the ancient metropolis and decorated in 1864 with a water fountain, that of the Place Marcelin Berthelot, which dates from 1911. This is at the foot of the walls of the Château de Selles, dating from the same year. The one of the Arquets tower dates from 1954. The avenues and boulevards planted with trees and flowers to complete make Cambrai a "green" city.
Cultural heritageThe , opened in 1847 to present revolutionary seizures, has been installed since 1893 in a mansion of the 18th century, the Hotel de Francqueville. Renovated in 1994, it has three departments (archaeology, fine arts and heritage of Cambrai) on 4300 m2 of which the most important is that of art. It presents Flemish and Dutch paintings from the 17th century and French artists of the 19th and 20th century. A recent donation also allowed it to present a collection of geometric abstractions of the second half of the 20th century.
The Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art still officially retains its label "Musée de France", although it was closed to the public in 1975. This private museum is managed by the diocese, which is looking for ways to reopen the collections to the public. The items of this collection may be the subject of loans for temporary exhibitions and include objects from the archaeological excavations of the city of Cambrai, architectural elements, sculpture, paintings, pieces of jewellery and liturgical ornaments. This museum's history began in 1926 when Monseignor , Archbishop of Cambrai, established a commission of religious history and sacred art aimed to inventory and preserve the archives and movable heritage of the diocese. Canon Cyrille Thelliez became secretary. In 1958, many religious objects from the diocese were gathered together and Thelliez founded the Diocesan Museum, the first religious art museum opened in France. The museum was installed in the former chapel of the Grand Seminary.
The Théâtre de Cambrai was built in 1924 by the architect , on the site of a chapel of the 16th century which was destroyed during World War I. The chapel had been abandoned for 25 years when its rehabilitation was undertaken in 1999. The renovated theatre was inaugurated in 2003. It is an Italian theatre of 700 seats which hosts various performances, including those of the Scènes mitoyennes [Adjoining Stages] association and the .
The Palais des grottes [Mansion of Caves] situated in the public garden, is a large multi-purpose hall with a capacity of 1,500 people and which can accommodate concerts, (including the ), fairs or exhibitions. Its remarkable roof shape, formed of a hyperbolic paraboloid (or "saddle"), was built in 1974 by then-advanced techniques and demonstrates a concrete form of architecture in the 20th century.
The media library is a classified municipal library: It has an important old fonds, with 956 manuscripts, the oldest dating back to the 7th century, from the confiscations made during the revolutionary era to religious communities, very important in the city, and emigrants of the region. This fonds was subsequently enriched by gifts, bequests and purchases. In 1975, it was one of the first institutions to adopt the title of "media library". It is divided into four services: Youth, adults, library and local history and old books.
Cambrai has a national school of music and dramatic arts which obtained the Conservatoire à rayonnement départemental label in 2007.
Personalities linked to the commune
Culinary specialitiesThe two best-known gastronomic specialties of Cambrai are the , a sausage traditionally made of ground veal (which is now prohibited by European regulations), whose associated gastronomic society is one of the most representative in the region, and the Bêtise de Cambrai, a coated mint confection which is one of the most emblematic gourmet specialties of France.
The gastronomy of Cambrai also accounts for other less known specialities: Tripe, liver pâté with plums, hare with grapes, hochepot of partridge with puréed lentils, but also the , fromage blanc with fine herbs, and also a cheese trademarked as , or even crackers and pain crotté [muddy bread] (a type of French toast).
Heraldry, mottoThe motto of the city has changed several times:
The logo of the city is a stylisation of the steeples of the cathedral, the Saint-Géry Church and , a visual signature of the city, visible from afar. Locally, Cambrai is known as "the city of three spires".
Military lifeIn 1711–1712, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiments of and Royal-Comtois had their barracks at Cambrai.
From the late 19th century, two military units were stationed at Cambrai. The 1st Infantry Regiment was quartered at Cambrai from 1870 to 1914, when it left for Belgium, before returning in 1919. It was split between the citadel and the Renel barracks. In 1940 it was again sent to Belgium, before being dissolved in 1942 in the free zone and did not return to Cambrai. The arrived in Cambrai in 1889 and is the Mortier quarter. This regiment was dissolved at the end of World War I. After World War II the Mortier quarter was assigned to the Selection Centre No. 2, today disbanded.
Until 2012, the "René Mouchotte" was near the city, founded in 1953 and which hosted the 01.012 Fighter Squadron "Cambrésis" created in 1952, the 02.012 "Picardy" and the 03.012 "Cornouailles" [Cornwall], as well as a ground-to-air defence squadron.