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The river Moselle
The river Moselle
Coat of arms of Épinal
Location of Épinal
Épinal is located in France
Épinal is located in Grand Est
Coordinates: 48°10′28″N 6°27′04″E / 48.1744°N 6.4512°E / 48.1744; 6.4512
RegionGrand Est
CantonÉpinal-1 and 2
IntercommunalityCA Épinal
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Patrick Nardin[1]
59.24 km2 (22.87 sq mi)
 • Urban
161.3 km2 (62.3 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,288 km2 (497 sq mi)
 • Density540/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density380/km2 (990/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density93/km2 (240/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
88160 /88000
Elevation315–492 m (1,033–1,614 ft)
(avg. 340 m or 1,120 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Épinal (French pronunciation: [epinal] ; German: Spinal; Latin: Spinalium) is a commune in northeastern France and the prefecture of the Vosges department.[4]


The commune has a land area of 59.24 square kilometres (22.87 sq mi). It is situated on the river Moselle, 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of Nancy. Épinal station has rail connections to Paris, Remiremont, Strasbourg, Belfort and Nancy.


The mythical founding date of Épinal is said to be 983 since celebrations took place for the "Millennium" in June 1983.[5] This date was chosen for political reasons to mark a "starting point" following the election of Philippe Séguin as mayor in March 1983.[6]

In 1444, the town of Épinal was still part of the domain of the bishops of Metz. In September, representatives of the town took advantage of King Charles VII's passage through Nancy to offer him the submission of the town and to ask for his protection in return. The act of submission of Épinal is dated September 7, 1444.[7] The king promised never to alienate the city; however, Louis XI handed over the town to the Marshal of Burgundy in 1465. Eventually, Épinal came under the guardianship of the Duke of Lorraine.

In 1790, the Constituent Assembly requested the departmental assembly of Vosges to choose between Mirecourt and Épinal as the capital of the department. The departmental assembly convened in Épinal on June 1st and, with three hundred and eleven votes against one hundred and twenty-seven, chose the city of Épinal. Mirecourt became a sub-prefecture.


In 2018, 32,223 people lived in the town proper, while its functional area had a population of 119,955.[3]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 6,688—    
1800 7,321+1.30%
1806 7,905+1.29%
1821 7,941+0.03%
1831 9,070+1.34%
1836 9,526+0.99%
1841 10,012+1.00%
1846 11,485+2.78%
1856 11,076−0.36%
1861 11,957+1.54%
1866 11,870−0.15%
1872 11,847−0.03%
1876 14,894+5.89%
1881 16,445+2.00%
1886 20,932+4.94%
1891 23,223+2.10%
1896 26,525+2.69%
1901 28,080+1.15%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1906 29,058+0.69%
1911 30,042+0.67%
1921 28,352−0.58%
1926 26,849−1.08%
1931 27,350+0.37%
1936 27,708+0.26%
1946 23,395−1.68%
1954 28,688+2.58%
1962 30,313+0.69%
1968 36,856+3.31%
1975 39,604+1.03%
1982 37,818−0.66%
1990 36,732−0.36%
1999 35,794−0.29%
2007 33,528−0.81%
2012 32,387−0.69%
2017 31,740−0.40%
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on
Source: EHESS[8] and INSEE (1968–2017)[9]

Main sights

The old town centre features the Place des Vosges, the Chapitre district, Saint-Maurice's Basilica, medieval castle remains and the Roman House (11th and 13th centuries). It is also known for its parks and gardens, as well as a large communal forest with arboretum (the Arboretum de la Forêt d'Épinal).

There are major fortifications, extended and maintained until the early 20th century. There is a legend, among the populace of Épinal, that Napoleon's ghost strolls the wall ramparts on 9 September of each year at 05:00. It was on this day and at this time that, in 1811, Napoleon gave his first and last oration to the city of Épinal, wherein he addressed the challenges posed by northern expansion.

The Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial on the outskirts of the town where United States service members killed in World War II are buried.

Notable residents



Épinal is best known for the "Images d'Épinal" – which is now a common expression in French language – the popular prints created by a local company, the Imagerie d'Épinal, formerly known as the Imagerie Pellerin. These stencil-colored woodcuts of military subjects, Napoleonic history, storybook characters and other folk themes were widely distributed throughout the 19th century. The company still exists today, and still uses its hand-operated presses to produce the antique images. Other local industries include textiles, metals, morocco leather, precision instruments, and bicycles. There is a school of textile weaving.


Épinal is contained within Vosges' 1st constituency for elections to the National Assembly.


The engineering College École nationale supérieure des technologies et industries du bois dedicated to wood Industry is located in the city.


SAS Épinal is based in the commune.

International relations

Épinal is twinned with:[12]

See also


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021" (in French). The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b c Comparateur de territoire, INSEE, retrieved 20 June 2022.
  4. ^ Commune d'Épinal (88160), INSEE
  5. ^ "Vosges. Savez-vous que le marché d'Épinal existe depuis 983 ?". (in French). Retrieved 6 March 2024.
  6. ^ "Philippe Séguin - Histoire - La Ve République - Les Présidents de l'Assemblée nationale depuis 1958 - Assemblée nationale". Retrieved 6 March 2024.
  7. ^ Marot, Pierre (1941). "L'expédition de Charles VII à Metz (1444-1445). Documents inédits". Bibliothèque de l'École des chartes. 102 (1): 109–155. doi:10.3406/bec.1941.449238.
  8. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Épinal, EHESS (in French).
  9. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  10. ^ Jeanne Cressanges: installed in Épinal since 1968, novelist, essayist, screenwriter originally from Noyant in the Allier, who dedicated two of his works to his adopted region: "Je vous écris d’Épinal" and "Je vous écris des Vosges" éditions Serge Domini, respectively in 2009 and 2014.
  11. ^ Nicolas Mathieu a le spleen des Vosges on
  12. ^ "Villes jumelles". (in French). Épinal. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
Épinal from the ruins of the castle
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