town, Nord departement, Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, northern France, on the Escaut (Scheldt) River. The origin of the name is obscure. Some believe that it stems from one of the three Roman emperors called Valentinian. Others attribute it to a corruption of val des cygnes ("valley of the swans"), swans being featured on the civic coat of arms.
Learn more about Valenciennes with a free trial on Britannica.com.