The name Créteil was recorded for the first time as Cristoïlum in the martyrology written by a monk named Usuard in 865. The name Cristoïlum is made of the Celtic word ialo (meaning "clearing, glade", "place of") suffixed to a pre-Latin radical crist- whose meaning is still unclear. Some believe crist is a Celtic word meaning "ridge", a cognate of Latin crista and modern French crête, in which case the meaning of Cristoïlum would be "clearing on the ridge" or "place on the ridge." A more traditional etymology was that crist referred to Jesus Christ, due to the very ancient presence of Christianity in Créteil and the veneration of Saint Agoard and Saint Aglibert, martyred in Créteil around AD 400.
Créteil is a city in the south-eastern suburbs of Paris. It is watered by the Marne river which carries out its last loop before the junction with the Seine at the Charenton-le-Pont. The area is an alluvial plain eroded by the action of the Marne and the Seine. Bordering communes include Maisons-Alfort, Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, Bonneuil-sur-Marne, Limeil-Brévannes, Valenton, Choisy-le-Roi and Alfortville.
The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Créteil has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.
Some rare flints from the Palaeolithic age are still being found in modern times in the area. It is, however, a two-ton, Neolithic-era polishing machine that is the prehistoric pride of Créteil. The first documents referring to Créteil are from the Merovingian era, when it was known as Vicus Cristolium' The name comes from the prefix crist and olium. These two terms are thought to be Gallic: "clearing" for olium and "ridge" for crist. The "clearing" of the "ridge" of the Mont-Mesly is on the road connecting Paris and Sens (Trunk Road 19 today). In 1406, the place name "Créteil" makes its appearance after successive deformations from Cristoill (1278), Cristeuil, Cresteul then Creteuil.
During the French Wars of Religion (1567), the Huguenots plundered the church and burned the local charters. New disorders in 1648 forced the evacuation of the inhabitants of Créteil. The end of Louis XIV's reign was marked by a great food shortage throughout the whole of France after a terrible winter in 1709 that resulted in 69 recorded deaths in Créteil. Registers of grievances from the French Revolution in 1789 mention Créteil 15 times.
At the beginning of the 18th century, construction of the first middle-class "Parisian" houses began. In 1814, the east of Créteil was taken by Russian troops. The bridge which spans the Marne between Creteil and Saint-Maur-des-Fossés was inaugurated on 9 April 1841, replacing an ancient ferry.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 was particularly cruel for Créteil. The borough was plundered and left in ruins by the Prussians, while the nearby battle of Mont-Mesly on 30 November 1870, left 179 dead. Créteil gave up its pastoral character after World War II. The population subsequently rose from 13,800 in 1954 to 30,654 in 1962.
In 1965, the city became a Préfecture of the new department of the Val-de-Marne.
Créteil Lake began as a gypsum and gravel quarry. Once the groundwater was reached, forming deep ponds, the quarry was abandoned and allowed to fill with water. The lake area is now a popular recreational site attracting fishermen, boaters, wind surfers, etc...
As of 1 January 2006, 27 pharmacies, about 60 dentists, about 60 general practitioners, 10 pediatricians, and a half-dozen ophthalmologists and dermatologists constitute the general medical staff of the city.
Health facilities include:CHU Henri Mondor, a publicly owned hospital inaugurated on 2 December 1969. Conceived initially for 1,300 beds, its capacity today is 958 beds. It employs more than 3,000 people including more than 2,600 looking after patients. Its expenditure in 2004 was 241M€.
Centre hospitalier intercommunal de Créteil, inaugurated on 3 November 1937. Capacity of reception of 530 in-patients as against 264 in 1937. The construction of this establishment was decided in 1932 by grouping the communes of the Bonneuil-sur-Marne, Creteil and Joinville-le-Pont within an inter-communal syndicate. Saint-Maur-des-Fossés joined this syndicate later. Originally, a number of the hospital personnel were religious sisters. In 2004, 38,037 hospitalizations were listed, with 2,551 childbirths and 12,838 surgical interventions. ] It employs approximately 2,000 people with about 1,600 of them caring for patients in medical or other capacities.
Centre de Transfusion sanguine. The Blood Transfusion Centre of Creteil is run by the inter-communal Hospital. This service treats from 600 to 1,000 requests per day.
Albert Chenevier Hospital. A publicly owned hospital, with a 463-bed capacity. There are 118 beds in the psychiatric ward.
Public schools:24 preschools
24 elementary schools
Eight junior high schools: Clément Guyard, Victor Hugo, Louis Issaurat, Amédée Laplace, Louis Pasteur, Plaissance, Albert Schweitzer, and Simone-de-Beauvoir
Four high schools: Lycée Léon Blum, Lycée Édouard Branly, Lycée Gutenberg, and Lycée Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Private schools:Ozar Hatorah (includes preschool, elementary school, a junior high school divided into boys' and girls' schools, and a high school divided into boys' and girls' schools)
De Maillé (elementary school, junior high school)
Lycée général et technologique de l'ensemble Sainte-Marie
Lycée d'enseignement supérieur technique privé SUPTEK
The city hosts Paris 12 Val de Marne University, officially the Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne University, founded in 1970. Previously known as Université Paris 12 Val de Marne or Université Paris XII, the university serves more than 30,000 students and consists of seven units of formation and research (UFR), namely law, administration, literature, medicine, business & management, educational sciences and technological sciences.
Créteil is served by four stations on Paris Métro Line 8: Créteil – L'Échat, Créteil – Université, Créteil – Préfecture and the newly opened Pointe du Lac.
US Créteil-Lusitanos, founded in 1936, is the city's football club. They currently play in National Championship (3rd division) and their home stadium is Stade Dominique Duvauchelle.
Créteil is twinned with: