Jarville-la-Malgrange

Jarville-la-Malgrange is a suburb that borders directly on the southern edge of Nancy, in the Grand Est region of France.

Like most European towns, Jarville-la-Malgrange has a monument listing the men who were senselessly massacred (this is not the way it is worded on the monument) in the two ‘World Wars’ of the 20th century.

The name Jarville-la-Malgrange looks like it should mean ‘Jar City of the Evil Barn’, which doesn’t make much sense, but I haven’t been able to find any better explanation. (Perhaps some local person can help with this?)

  • Update: Many thanks to The French opera blogger Jean-Louis Dubois (“toutloperaoupresque”), who suggested that the name Jarville might be from ancient Roman times. “Indeed, the Roman ‘Villa’ meant the ‘farm’ and Jarville could have a distant origin: Jar(us) Villa, the farm of Mr. Jarus…”
  • Another update: Many thanks also to the German blogger Sebastian (“zeitgeiststories”), who found a French press report with this explanation of the name Malgrange: “At the end of the 16th century, the duchess of Lorraine, being of Calvinist religion, celebrated the Protestant rites in a barn in the proximity of her castle. The inhabitants of Jarville, being Catholics, were shocked, and named the barn this way: evil barn.”
    For more details, see the comments at the end of this post.

City Hall of Jarville-la-Malgrange

I think it would be fair to say that not much of any historical importance has happened in Jarville-la-Malgrange since the Battle of Nancy, which took place here on Sunday, January 5, 1477 and resulted in the death of one of the commanders, Charles le Téméraire (= Charles the Bold), the Duke of Burgundy.

Although I have never read much about the life of Charles le Téméraire, I do know that after his death his remains were buried and reburied in different places, for obscure political reasons, until they finally ended up in the church Notre-Dame de Bruges in 1550. This is mentioned in the second chapter of the novel Bruges-la-Morte (= Bruges the Dead)  by Georges Rodenbach (1855-1898), a novel that today is remembered mainly as the inspiration for a major opera, Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) by the German composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957).

Museum of the History of Iron in Jarville-la-Malgrange

Since the iron industry used to be a mainstay of the economy in this part of France (the last iron ore mine ceased operations in 1997), it is appropriate that Jarville-la-Malgrange has a Museum of the History of Iron, now known as Le Féru des sciences (= The science enthusiast). I walked up to the museum from the city hall — an unpleasant walk along car-infested roads with ridiculously narrow sidewalks — only to discover that the museum was closed.

But I assume you will be better organized than I was and will look up the opening hours before you go. As of 2023, they are open Wednesday through Sunday mornings from 9:00 to 12:00 and afternoons from 14:00 to 18:00 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays), but you’d better check that on their website before setting off.

Also I suggest you walk up from the other side, for instance get off at the bus stop “Chateau de Montaigu” and walk up through the park — a longer but much more pleasant way to reach the museum.

My photos in this post are from 2015. I revised the text in 2023.

See more posts on Nancy, France.
See more posts on Museums in France (outside of Paris).

16 thoughts on “Jarville-la-Malgrange”

  1. I found this so interesting. Love the name, Charles the Bold. Tells you all one needs to know about Monsieur Charlie.

    One of the things I love about France, and England and Italy as well, is that they have such respect for the old. They don’t tear everything down like here in America. History matters. How else does one learn what and who, BOLDLY came before them. You have a lovely site, truly. It’s always like taking a quick course. 🙁

  2. I have found a possible explanation for the second part of the name in an article of the French press of Lorraine.

    “Il semblerait qu’il faille remonter aux dernières décennies du XVIème siècle pour trouver les premières mentions de « Malgrange » à Jarville. C’est de ce nom qu’on aurait affublé l’une des dépendances du château local, dont la Duchesse Catherine de Bourbon, première épouse du Duc Henri II, avait fait sa résidence principale. Fervente calviniste, celle-ci faisait célébrer le culte protestant dans la grange du château. Chose qui, dans la très catholique Lorraine, choquait profondément les habitants de Jarville, qui se sont donc mis à surnommer la fameuse grange du nom de « Malgrange », ou de « mauvaise grange », voire de « grange du mal ».

    A short translation: At the end of the 16th century, the duchess of Lorraine, being of calvinist religion, celebrated the protestant rites in a barn in the proximity of her castle. The inhabitants of Jarville, being catholics, were shocked, and named the barn this way: evil barn.

    1. The French opera blogger Jean-Louis Dubois (“toutloperaoupresque”) suggests that the name “Jarville” might be from ancient Roman times. “Indeed, the Roman ‘Villa’ meant the ‘farm’ and Jarville could have a distant origin: Jar(us) Villa, the farm of Mr. Jarus…”
      But he didn’t suggest any explanation for the “Malgrange” part.

      1. My father’s middle name was Jarvelow which my sister’s family research came from a great uncle of his, Jarveleau, which we assume to have French origins – this reminded me of that 🙂

  3. Je ne connais pas Jarville la Malgrange, mais on peut supposer que, comme beaucoup de villes françaises se terminant par “Ville”, il y ait une origine romaine (latine). En effet, la “Villa” romaine signifiait la “ferme” et Jarville pourrait avoir une lointaine origine : Jar(us) Villa, la ferme de monsieur Jarus…

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