Pontoise is the official préfecture (capital) of the Val-d'Oise département, although in reality the préfecture building and administration, as well as the department council (conseil général), are located in the neighboring commune of Cergy, which is regarded as the de facto capital of Val-d'Oise.
Pontoise is also the seat of the Arrondissement of Pontoise. The sous-préfecture building and administration, unlike the préfecture, are located inside the commune of Pontoise.
The city of Pontoise has three sister city relationships with: Böblingen (Germany) since 1956 ;
Sevenoaks (United Kingdom) since 1964 ;
Geleen (Netherlands) since 1962.
Known for being a violent city in the past, with a criminal rate of 137.62 incidents per 1000 inhabitants, Cergy-Pontoise has experienced a significant decrease in violence in recent years. By 2008, the rate had declined to 99.87, although this is still considered high.
Pontoise is the historical capital of the Vexin français. Its foundation dates from Roman times (Pontisara). At that time, the rock peak overhanging the river Oise supported the defense of the fort which was on the Roman road, the Chaussée Jules César, between Lutetia (Paris) and Rotomagus (Rouen). The road still exists and is now part of the N14 from Paris to Rouen. It is also known to many people as the birthplace of the alchemist Nicholas Flamel. With an over 2,000 year patrimonium, Pontoise still has vestiges of the past, of which medieval lanes, convents, churches and museums, and was awarded the "City of Art and History Label" in 2006. The impressionist painter Camille Pissarro made it famous through many paintings which are present nowadays in the most famous art galleries in the world.
At the census of 1999, the population was 27,494.
The estimate for 2005 was 28,500.
Pontoise is served by Pontoise station, a terminus on Paris RER line C and an intermediate terminus for suburban trains originating from Gare Saint-Lazare as well as a terminus for suburban trains from Gare du Nord. Some trains originating at Gare Saint-Lazare continue onto Gisors. For bus services, Stivo (formerly Services des Transports de l'Agglomération Nouvelle) operates within the new town of Cergy-Pontoise, and in and around Pontoise, with transport interchanges situated Place Charles de Gaulle and Parking Canrobert.
Pontoise – Cormeilles Aerodrome is the area airport.
Public preschool through elementary schools include:Seven preschools ('maternelles): des Cordeliers, Eugène-Ducher, de l'Hermitage, Laris, Ludovic-Piette, Jean-Moulin, Parc-aux-Charettes
Two primary schools: École primaire Gustave-Loiseau and École primaire des Maradas
Seven elementary schools (élémentaires): Paul-Cézanne, Eugène-Ducher, de l'Hermitage, des Larris, Jean-Moulin, Ludovic-Piette, Parc-aux-Charrettes
Public senior high schools/sixth-form colleges:Lycée Camille Pissarro Pontoise
Lycée Alfred Kastler de Cergy-Pontoise, in Pontoise, also serves Cergy
There are also six private schools: École Saint-Martin-de-France (up to senior high school), École "Ella", École Saint-Louis, Établissement Vauban, Notre-Dame-de-la-Compassion (junior and senior high school)
Pontoise is one of the capitals of the impressionist movement. Many painters took as a starting point the city and its area for the creation of landscapes. Camille Pissarro lived there for seventeen years. Other artists lived or worked in the area such as Vincent van Gogh (Auvers-sur-Oise), Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Charles-François Daubigny, Gustave Caillebotte, Gustave Loiseau, etc.Cathédrale Saint-Maclou de Pontoise. It was built in the 12th century and reconstructed and enlarged in the 15th and 16th centuries. The tower, as well as the central portal, is in flamboyant style. The central body is flanked by Renaissance additions. The remaining 12th century part of the cathedral is to the back. To the North of the building is a Renaissance portal.
Musée de Pontoise (Musée Tavet-Delacour). The museum houses sculptures from the Middle Ages, manuscripts from the seventeenth century and paintings from the twentieth century
Musée Pissarro (impressionist collections) and garden of the five directions. The Museum is situated in a bourgeoise house at the entrance of the old castle.
Parks:Le Jardin de la Ville
Le Parc des Larris
Le jardin partagé de Marcouville
Le Jardin des Cinq Sens
Le Parc du Château de Marcouville
Les jardins et la terrasse basse du Dôme
Le Jardin des Lavandières
Plaines de jeux
Sébastien Carole, footballer
Nicolas Flamel, reputed alchemist, probably born here
Jérémy Labor, footballer
Christophe Lebon, swimmer
Édouard-Alfred Martel, Father of modern speleology
Guiday Mendy, basketball player
Camille Pissarro, painter
Yoann Rapinier, athlete
Jacques Vallée, author, ufologist and former astronomer
Jean-Éric Vergne, former Formula One driver currently competing in Formula E
St William of Pontoise, hermit
Moussa Dembélé (French footballer), footballer
Liza del Sierra, pornographic actress.
A famous religious sister, Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation (1566-1618), formerly known as Madame Acarie, the foundress of the Reformed Carmelites in France, lived, died and was buried here in the Carmelite Monastery.