CONDÉ, the name of some twenty villages in France and of two towns of some importance. Of the villages, Condé-en-Brie (Lat. Condetum) is a place of great antiquity and was in the middle ages the seat of a principality, a sub-fief of that of Montmirail; Condé-sur-Aisne (Condatus) was given in 870 by Charles the Bald to the abbey of St Ouen at Rouen, gave its name to a seigniory during the middle ages, and possessed a priory of which the church and a 12th-century chapel remain; Condé-sur-Marne (Condate), once a place of some importance, preserves one of its parish churches, with a fine Romanesque tower. The two towns are:—
1. Condé-sur-l’Escaut, in the department of Nord, at the junction of the canals of the Scheldt and of Condé-Mons. Pop. (1906) town, 2701; commune, 5310. It lies 7 m. N. by E. of Valenciennes and 2 m. from the Belgian frontier. It has a church dating from the middle of the 18th century. Trade is in coal and cattle. The industries include brewing, rope-making and boat-building, and there is a communal college. Condé (Condate) is of considerable antiquity, dating at least from the later Roman period. Taken in 1676 by Louis XIV., it definitely passed into the possession of France by the treaty of Nijmwegen two years later, and was afterwards fortified by Vauban. During the revolutionary war it was besieged and taken by the Austrians (1793); and in 1815 it again fell to the allies. It was from this place that the princes of Condé (q.v.) took their title. See Perron-Gelineau, Condé ancien et moderne (Nantes, 1887).
2. Condé-sur-Noireau, in the department of Calvados, at the confluence of the Noireau and the Drouance, 33 m. S.S.W. of Caen on the Ouest-État railway. Pop. (1906) 5709. The town is the seat of a tribunal of commerce, a board of trade-arbitration and a chamber of arts and manufactures, and has a communal college. It is important for its cotton-spinning and weaving, and carries on dyeing, printing and machine-construction; there are numerous nursery-gardens in the vicinity. Important fairs are held in the town. The church of St Martin has a choir of the 12th and 15th centuries, and a stained-glass window (15th century) representing the Crucifixion. There is a statue to Dumont d’Urville, the navigator (b. 1790), a native of the town. Throughout the middle ages Condé (Condatum, Condetum) was the seat of an important castellany, which was held by a long succession of powerful nobles and kings, including Robert, count of Mortain, Henry II. and John of England, Philip Augustus of France, Charles II. (the Bad) and Charles III. of Navarre. The place was held by the English from 1417 to 1449. Of the castle some ruins of the keep survive. See L. Huet, Hist. de Condé-sur-Noireau, ses seigneurs, son industrie, &c. (Caen, 1883).