Alençon (UK: /æˈlɒ̃sɒ̃/, US: /ˌælɒ̃ˈsn/, French: [alɑ̃sɔ̃] (listen); Norman: Alençoun) is a commune in Normandy, France, capital of the Orne department.[3] It is situated 173 kilometres (107 mi) west of Paris. Alençon belongs to the intercommunality of Alençon (with 52,000 people).

Alençon
Alençoun (Norman)
Town hall
Town hall
Coat of arms of Alençon
Location of Alençon
Alençon is located in France
Alençon
Alençon
Alençon is located in Normandy
Alençon
Alençon
Coordinates: 48°25′50″N 0°05′35″E / 48.4306°N 0.0931°E / 48.4306; 0.0931Coordinates: 48°25′50″N 0°05′35″E / 48.4306°N 0.0931°E / 48.4306; 0.0931
CountryFrance
RegionNormandy
DepartmentOrne
ArrondissementAlençon
CantonAlençon-1 and 2
IntercommunalityAlençon
Government
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Joachim Pueyo[1]
Area
1
10.68 km2 (4.12 sq mi)
Population
 (Jan. 2019)[2]
25,870
 • Density2,400/km2 (6,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
61001 /61000
Elevation127–152 m (417–499 ft)
(avg. 135 m or 443 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

HistoryEdit

The name of Alençon is first recorded in a document dated in the seventh century. During the tenth century, Alençon was a buffer state between Normandy and the Maine regions.

In 1049–1051, William Duke of Normandy, later known as William the Conqueror and king of England, laid siege to the town, which had risen in support of the Count of Anjou along with two other towns of the Bellême estates, Domfront (then in Maine) and Bellême (held directly from King Henry I of France). According to Duke William's chaplain and panegyrist, William of Poitiers, the defenders of the fortress refused to surrender and mockingly waved animal hides from the castle walls, referencing William's lineage as the grandson of a tanner. In response to this, William had 32 prisoners of the town's hands and feet cut off, prompting a sudden surrender. Upon hearing of this event, the town of Domfront also surrendered.[4][5]

Alençon was occupied by the English during the Anglo-Norman wars of 1113 to 1203.

The city became the seat of a dukedom in 1415, belonging to the sons of the King of France until the French Revolution, and some of them played important roles in French history: see Duke of Alençon. The French Revolution caused relatively little disorder in this area although there were some royalist uprisings nearby.

A long-standing local fabric industry gave birth to the town's famous point d'Alençon lace in the 18th century. The economic development of the nineteenth century was based on iron foundries and mills in the surrounding region. In the first half of the twentieth century the city developed a flourishing printing industry.

Alençon was home to Sts. Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin,[6][7] the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.[8] They were the first spouses in the history of the Catholic Church to be proposed for sainthood as a couple, in 2008. Zélie and Louis were married at the Basilica[9] of Notre-Dame in Alençon on 13 July 1858 and spent their whole married life in Alençon, where Thérèse was born[10] in January 1873 and spent her early childhood until the death of her mother in 1877. [1]

On 17 June 1940 the German Army took occupation of Alençon. On 12 August 1944 Alençon was the first French city to be liberated by the French Army under General Leclerc, after minor bomb damage.

After the war the population sharply increased and new industries settled. Many of these were related to plastics and the town is now a major plastics educational centre.

ClimateEdit

Climate data for Alençon (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.7
(63.9)
20.1
(68.2)
23.6
(74.5)
28.9
(84.0)
31.0
(87.8)
37.0
(98.6)
39.8
(103.6)
38.5
(101.3)
34.2
(93.6)
28.4
(83.1)
21.0
(69.8)
16.5
(61.7)
39.0
(102.2)
Average high °C (°F) 7.0
(44.6)
8.1
(46.6)
11.6
(52.9)
14.4
(57.9)
18.1
(64.6)
21.5
(70.7)
24.0
(75.2)
24.0
(75.2)
20.7
(69.3)
15.9
(60.6)
10.6
(51.1)
7.3
(45.1)
15.3
(59.5)
Average low °C (°F) 1.6
(34.9)
1.4
(34.5)
3.2
(37.8)
4.7
(40.5)
8.2
(46.8)
10.9
(51.6)
12.9
(55.2)
12.6
(54.7)
10.0
(50.0)
7.7
(45.9)
4.2
(39.6)
2.0
(35.6)
6.6
(43.9)
Record low °C (°F) −17.4
(0.7)
−18.0
(−0.4)
−9.4
(15.1)
−5.2
(22.6)
−2.6
(27.3)
0.3
(32.5)
3.0
(37.4)
2.2
(36.0)
0.0
(32.0)
−6.0
(21.2)
−10.6
(12.9)
−17.0
(1.4)
−18.0
(−0.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 77.1
(3.04)
55.0
(2.17)
57.5
(2.26)
52.0
(2.05)
67.5
(2.66)
51.1
(2.01)
55.4
(2.18)
41.7
(1.64)
61.8
(2.43)
75.9
(2.99)
68.2
(2.69)
83.5
(3.29)
746.7
(29.40)
Average precipitation days 12.5 9.9 10.6 10.0 10.7 7.5 7.6 7.3 8.0 11.0 11.2 12.8 119.1
Average snowy days 3.8 3.8 2.8 1.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.3 2.5 15.4
Average relative humidity (%) 89 86 81 77 78 77 76 78 82 88 89 90 82.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 62.0 85.0 131.4 163.4 190.3 217.7 215.0 212.4 168.2 113.6 70.5 60.4 1,689.5
Source 1: Météo France[11][12]
Source 2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity and snowy days, 1961–1990)[13]

PopulationEdit

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 12,954—    
1800 12,407−0.61%
1806 13,222+1.07%
1821 13,955+0.36%
1836 13,934−0.01%
1841 13,917−0.02%
1846 14,388+0.67%
1851 14,760+0.51%
1856 16,473+2.22%
1861 16,110−0.44%
1866 16,115+0.01%
1872 16,037−0.08%
1876 16,615+0.89%
1881 17,237+0.74%
1886 17,550+0.36%
1891 18,319+0.86%
1896 17,841−0.53%
1901 17,270−0.65%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1906 17,843+0.65%
1911 17,378−0.53%
1921 16,249−0.67%
1926 16,044−0.25%
1931 16,688+0.79%
1936 17,731+1.22%
1946 19,691+1.05%
1954 21,893+1.33%
1962 25,584+1.97%
1968 31,656+3.61%
1975 33,680+0.89%
1982 31,608−0.90%
1990 29,988−0.66%
1999 28,935−0.40%
2007 27,942−0.44%
2012 26,305−1.20%
2017 25,848−0.35%
Source: EHESS[14] and INSEE (1968-2017)[15]

HeraldryEdit

The arms of Alençon are blazoned :
Azure, a double-headed eagle displayed Or.



EconomyEdit

In the seventeenth century, Alençon was chiefly noted for its lace called point d'Alençon.

Today, Alençon is home to a prosperous plastics industry, and, since 1993, to a plastics engineering school.

MPO Fenêtres is a local PVC windows company established in Alençon since 1970, is one of the first company in Alençon with around 170 employees (2009) and a turnover of 28 million euros in 2008. It is also the oldest French PVC windows company still in activity.

EducationEdit

"Écoles". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

"Collèges". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

"Lycées". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

TransportEdit

Alençon is linked by the A28 autoroute (motorway/freeway) with the nearby cities of Le Mans to the south (Sarthe) and Rouen (Seine-Maritime) to the north. The A88 autoroute links the A28 just north of Alençon to the coastal port of Caen.

The Alençon railway station offers regional services towards Caen, Le Mans and Tours.[16] A comprehensive town bus system operates from 7:00 to 19:00.

There is a comprehensive network of cycle paths.

Notable peopleEdit

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Alençon is twinned with:[17]

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French). data.gouv.fr, Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 13 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2019". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2021.
  3. ^ INSEE commune file
  4. ^ The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumièges, Orderic Vitalis and Robert of Torigni, ed. and trans. E. van Houts, 2 vols (Oxford, 1992–95) vol. 2 p. 125
  5. ^ "10 Things You May Not Know About William the Conqueror".
  6. ^ a b "Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - Louis Martin's life". Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - Zelie Martin's life". Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - St. Therese's life". Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - The basilica of Notre Dame". Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - Alençon, the birthplace of St. Therese". Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Données climatiques de la station de Alençon" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Climat Basse-Normandie" (in French). Meteo France. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Normes et records 1961-1990: Alençon - Valframbert (61) - altitude 144m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  14. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Alençon, EHESS. (in French)
  15. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  16. ^ Votre gare : Alençon, SNCF
  17. ^ "Jumelages". alencon.fr (in French). Alençon. Retrieved 20 April 2021.

External linksEdit