A view within Fourmies
Coat of arms
Location of Fourmies
Coordinates: 50°01′05″N 4°03′14″E / 50.0181°N 4.0539°E / 50.0181; 4.0539Coordinates: 50°01′05″N 4°03′14″E / 50.0181°N 4.0539°E / 50.0181; 4.0539
IntercommunalityCommunauté de communes du Sud Avesnois
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Mickaël Hiraux
22.98 km2 (8.87 sq mi)
 • Density510/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
59249 /59610
Elevation174–247 m (571–810 ft)
(avg. 202 m or 663 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Fourmies is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.[2] The inhabitants are called Fourmisiens. It lies on the river Helpe Mineure (Helpe Minor or Little Helpe). Since 2015, Fourmies has been the seat of the Canton of Fourmies, an administrative division of the Nord department. The canton was created at the French canton reorganization which came into effect in March 2015.[3]


Fourmies is situated in the Euroregion of Thiérache, a region of Northern France and Southern Belgium. It is 50 km (31 mi) from Valenciennes, 100 km (62 mi) from Lille, and 175 km (109 mi) from Paris. The city is surrounded by forests and ponds.


Roman coins have been discovered in Fourmies. In the 11th century, the town was first mentioned under the name "Formeias", which may refer to the swamp area in the valley of the river Helpe Mineure.[4][5] Since the 12th century, the village has been called Formies, Furmies, Formies, Formiis and Fourmies.[5] At one time it was property of the Avesnes family, and the Liessies Abbey.[6]

On May 1, 1891, the Fusillade de Fourmies occurred. It was the first French and international celebration of International Workers' Day on May Day. In Fourmies, troops shot at peaceful strikers: nine died, including eight demonstrators under 21 years old, among whom a young worker who will remain a symbol, Marie Blondeau. Thirty-five strikers were also wounded.[7]

The shooting of 1 May in Fourmies evoked strong emotions in France. It is regarded today as one of the founding events of the French Section of the Workers' International. Jean Jaurès visited Fourmies afterwards to make a speech there while Georges Clemenceau declared in front of the French Parliament that "it is the Fourth state which rose".


The arms of Fourmies are blazoned :
Gules, 3 fesses argent (Croÿ) dimidiated with Bendy Or and gules (Avesnes)


Sister cities

See also


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2017". INSEE. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  2. ^ INSEE commune file. L’Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques
  3. ^ "Décret n° 2014-167 du 17 février 2014 portant délimitation des cantons dans le département du Nord | Legifrance". Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  4. ^ Patrimoine de Fourmies auf den Webseiten der Gemeinde
  5. ^ a b Eugène Mannier, Études étymologiques, historiques et comparatives sur les noms des villes, bourgs et villages du département du Nord. 1861. S. 355
  6. ^ Chronologie auf den Webseiten der Gemeinde
  7. ^ "The May Day Labour Demonstration". Guardian (UK). 6 May 1891. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Locations". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-01-31.