Créteil is a commune in the southeastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris. Créteil is the préfecture (capital) of the Val-de-Marne department as well as the seat of the Arrondissement of Créteil. The city is, moreover, the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese (bishopric) and of one of France's 30 nationwide académies (districts) of the Ministry of National Education.
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.