Maisons-Laffitte is known to be the city of the horse, because of its important equestrian activity and its hippodrome currently closed. But it was not always so. A small Carolingian village, Maisons-Laffitte is an ecclesiastical property, belonging to the monks of Saint-Germain-des-Prés who made it a prosperous farm. From 1050 and until the arrival of the Longueil family in 1420, Maisons-Laffitte was under the protectorate of the wealthy de Poissy family. Under René de Longueil, the construction of the castle began in 1634. Sold at the end of the 18th century to the Count of Artois, brother of Louis XVI, the castle is then confiscated during the Revolution. The castle was bought in 1804 by Marshal Lannes who died in 1809 in Essling. His widow sold the estate to the banker Jacques Laffitte in 1818. The latter launches the equestrian activities. The construction of the park, the installation of the station on the axis Paris - Rouen and the development of horse racing stimulate the city. Today, Maisons-Laffitte, Cité du cheval, has the largest racecourse in the Paris region, as well as a 130-hectare horse training centre (nearly a third of the city's surface area) which welcomes nearly 700 racehorses every day. The city has been awarded the "Imperial City" mark, a label that distinguishes cities for their heritage, whether from the First or Second Empire.

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