Arms of Tarn-et-Garonne, France

Tarn-et-Garonne

In use since at least 2007 (through 2014?)

Blazon: Per quarterly I gules a lion rampant guardant or (Rouergue), II per quarterly i and iv azure a lion rampant argent, ii and iii gules a garb or banded azure (Gascony), III gules a cross of Toulouse or (Languedoc), IV gules a lion passant guardant or armed and langued azure (Aquitaine or Guyenne)

It seems that these arms were previously borne by the General Council of Tarn-et-Garonne as recently as 2010. The department was formed by taking some territory from each of the former provinces that appear in the arms, which I quite like. The “General Council” was renamed to the “Departmental Council” in 2014, which apparently came with a branding update. They don’t seem to actively use these arms anymore. If you’re wondering if Robert Louis proposed an alternative, he absolutely did! His version cut out Rouergue and Gascony in favor of placing the lion of Aquitaine in chief and the cross of Toulouse in base – on a field gules, of course.

Arms of Tarn, France (alternate)

Tarn2

Blazon: Gules a town gate of two portcullises argent, issuant therefrom a cross patriarchal botony surmounted by a lion counter-passant guardant or

We looked at the arms Robert Louis designed for Tarn last week, but I think it’s also worth bringing these up. These arms were depicted in an 1854 atlas of the (then) 86 departments of France, elaborately illustrated by Victor Levasseur. Unfortunately, I am unable to access a physical copy of the atlas, but the digital copies I’ve found match the depiction here. (As far as I can tell, anyway – the arms are sadly, printed directly in the gutter.)

Arms of Tarn, France (unofficial)

Tarn1

Designed around 1950

Blazon: Or on a chief-pale gules a cross of Toulouse of the field

The department of Tarn doesn’t actually have an official coat of arms, but the prolific heraldic artist Robert Louis designed one for them (among his many, many arms designed for French departments and regions). The main charge is described as a “chef-pal” in the blazon; I’ve translated this directly into English, since it doesn’t seem there is a better way to convey this form. I’ll admit to being a bit skeptical that it’s found in French heraldry, either. Part of me thinks that possibly Louis made this up so the shield could have a T for Tarn on it.

Arms of Pyrénées-Orientales, France

Pyrenees-Orientales

In use since at least 2011

Blazon: Or four palets gules

These are obviously the arms of Aragon, which probably ended up associated with Pyrénées-Orientales via the county of Roussillon. Given the significant influence that Aragon had over what is now southern France, it’s not surprising that their arms kind of end up all over this region. However, these are definitely not official arms, and their connection with the department is tenuous.

Arms of Hautes-Pyrénées, France

Hautes-Pyrenees

In use since at least 2005

Blazon: Or two lions passant gules, armed and langued azure

It’s almost weird how little information there is on these arms, given how commonly they seem to be cited for Hautes-Pyrénées. It does look like they’re unofficial; from what I can tell, the department doesn’t have official arms, but they’re definitely not one of Robert Louis’, which many of the unofficial arms for French departments are. It seems they may have been borrowed from the former county of Bigorre, which was established sometime in the ninth century, and subsequently merged with Foix in 1407.

Arms of Lozère, France

Lozere

Designed around 1950

Blazon: Per pale azure semé de lis or and of the last three palets gules

For the (relatively) newer department of Lozère, Robert Louis borrowed the arms of the former county of Gévaudan. The two halves of the shield are, respectively, France ancien and Aragon, representing the two major historical powers in the region. Both the kings of France and Aragon were overlords of the county at various times; France finally definitively took power in 1317.

Arms of Lot, France

Lot

Designed around 1950

Blazon: Gules over water in base proper a bridge of seven arches and five towers argent, each ensigned by a fleur-de-lis or

Another one of Robert Louis’ creations! This is a modification of the arms of Cahors, which feature the impressive 14th-century Pont Valentré. For the department, the roofed towers have been swapped for crenellated towers, and the water in base is its typical azure rather than argent, but otherwise, the arms are identical. There are records of the city using these arms in the sixteenth century, so I’d say that they have dibs. (Although changing the tincture of the water does make these into different arms!)

Arms of Hérault, France

Herault

Designed around 1950

Blazon: Argent on a torteau a cross of Toulouse or

Another Robert Louis creation! I like the straightforward simplicity of combining the cross of Toulouse of Occitanie and the torteau of the lords of Montpellier (the department’s prefecture). I should note that, however visually and historically appealing they may be, these arms, like most of Louis’ designs, are not official.

Arms of Gers, France

Gers

Designed around 1950

Blazon: Argent a lion rampant gules

I’m using “designed by” very loosely here; although I really love a lot of Robert Louis’ work, I don’t think he had much to do here. These arms belonged to the counts of Armagnac, with documented use back into the 1300s. (I use the past tense since the county of Armagnac returned to the French crown in 1607, and despite a regranting in 1645, the line was extinct by 1751.) The counts of Armagnac in their first creation went back to at least 995, so it’s possible these arms were in use before the fourteenth century (although probably not that much before).

Arms of Haut-Garonne, France

Haut-Garonne

Designed circa 1950

Blazon: Gules a cross of Toulouse or between four otelles in saltire argent

The combination is striking but straightforward – the regional cross of Toulouse centered within the four otelles of Comminges. The otelle is a weird charge – it doesn’t show up anywhere besides in the arms of Comminges. Comminges is also cited as a cross paté, so it’s possible that it’s a result of a poorly detailed depiction of the arms, or a confusion between the figure and the ground.