At the historic heart of the agglomeration of Cergy-Pontoise, and as the historic capital of the French Vexin, Pontoise thrives on a prestigious past which has often found itself at the crossroads of the history of France itself, when the Royal Court stayed there. Its fame was extended through the long residency of Camille Pissaro, who painted the varied landscapes of the town and its nearby countryside in numerous works, which are now to be found in the greatest museums in the world.
Pontoise is located on the right bank of the Oise river 30 km to the north-west of Paris. Vestiges from the Gallo-Roman period discovered on the slope of the Saint-Martin plateau confirm the existence, since Antiquity, of a first occupation in Pontoise. Situated at the crossing between the Oise river, a major fluvial route towards the Northern plains, and the Chaussée Jules César, the Via Romana between Paris and Rouen, Pontoise was then called « Briva Isara », meaning in Celt « Isara Bridge » now called Pontoise (« pont » meaning « bridge » in French).
Blessed with rich heritage, Pontoise became on March 30th, 2006, a member of the national network of towns and lands of Art and History. This label, delivered by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, concretizes a policy aiming to promote heritage and architecture. Today, Pontoise is the second town in the agglomeration of Cergy-Pontoise and reflects a firm will to live in its times while testifying to its heritage.