Calvados (department)

Calvados (UK: /ˈkælvədɒs/, US: /-ds, ˌkælvəˈds, ˌkɑːlvəˈ-/, French: [kalvados] (listen))[needs Norman IPA] is a department in the Normandy region in northwestern France.[3] It takes its name from a cluster of rocks off the Normandy coast. In 2019, it had a population of 694,905.[4]

Abbaye aux Dames 1.JPG
Bayeux Historic Centre.jpg
France-000813 - Omaha Beach (14880489210).jpg
Manoir de Boissey façade sud.JPG
From top down, left to right: Abbaye aux Dames in Caen, Bayeux's historic centre, Omaha Beach and timber framing house in Boissey
Flag of Calvados
Coat of arms of Calvados
Location of Calvados in France
Location of Calvados in France
Coordinates: 49°02′N 0°15′E / 49.033°N 0.250°E / 49.033; 0.250
 • President of the Departmental CouncilJean-Léonce Dupont[1] (New Centre)
 • Total5,535 km2 (2,137 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2020)[2]
 • Total697,547
 • Rank34th
 • Density130/km2 (330/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeFR-14
Department number14
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2


Calvados is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790, in application of the law of 22 December 1789. It had been part of the former province of Normandy. The name "Orne-Inférieure" was originally proposed, but it was ultimately called Calvados after a group of rocks off its coast.

One popular legend ascribes its etymology to the Salvador, a ship from the Spanish Armada that sank by the rocks near Arromanches-les-bains in 1588. It is more likely, however, that the name Calvados was derived from calva dorsa, meaning bare backs, in reference to two sparsely vegetated rocks off its shore.[5]

After the allied victory at Waterloo the department was occupied by Prussian troops between June 1815 and November 1818.

On 6 June 1944, the Allied forces landed on the beaches of the Bay of the Seine in what became known as the Battle of Normandy.


Calvados belongs to the region of Normandy and borders the departments of Seine-Maritime (maritime border), Eure, Orne and Manche. To the north is the Baie de la Seine, part of the English Channel. On the east, the river Seine forms the boundary with Seine-Maritime. Calvados includes the Bessin area, the Pays d'Auge and the area known as the "Suisse normande" ("Norman Switzerland").

The most notable places in Calvados include Deauville and the formerly elegant 19th-century casino resorts along the coast.


Agriculture dominates the economy of Calvados. The area is known for producing butter, cheese, cider, and Calvados, the apple spirit that takes its name from the area.


The President of the Departmental Council is the centrist Jean-Léonce Dupont, the former dominant figure of the right and centre in the department. The Conseil General of Calvados and Devon County Council signed a Twinning Charter in 1971 to develop links with the English county of Devon.[6]

Party seats
Socialist Party 18
Miscellaneous Right 18
The Republicans 6
Left Radical Party 3
New Centre 3
MoDem 1

Presidential elections 2nd roundEdit

Election Winning Candidate Party % 2nd Place Candidate Party %
2022 Emmanuel Macron LREM 60.29 Marine Le Pen FN 39.71
2017[7] Emmanuel Macron LREM 67.11 Marine Le Pen FN 32.89
2012[8] François Hollande PS 53.12 Nicolas Sarkozy UMP 46.88
2007 Nicolas Sarkozy UMP 51.20 Ségolène Royal PS 48.80
2002 Jacques Chirac RPR 83.95 Jean-Marie Le Pen FN 16.05

Current National Assembly RepresentativesEdit

Constituency Member Party
Calvados's 1st constituency Fabrice Le Vigoureux La République En Marche!
Calvados's 2nd constituency Laurence Dumont Socialist Party
Calvados's 3rd constituency Sébastien Leclerc The Republicans
Calvados's 4th constituency Christophe Blanchet La République En Marche!
Calvados's 5th constituency Bertrand Bouyx La République En Marche!
Calvados's 6th constituency Alain Tourret La République En Marche!


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.

The inhabitants of Calvados are called "Calvadosiens" (male) and "Calvadosiennes" (female). In 2019, Calvados had 648,299 inhabitants, making it the 34th most populated French department.[4]

Age distribution in Calvados (2019):[11]

  • 75 years and older: 10.0%
  • 60–74 years old: 18.1%
  • 45–59 years old: 19.4%
  • 30–44 years old: 17.4%
  • 15–29 years old: 18.0%
  • 0–14 years old: 17.1%

Principal townsEdit

The most populous commune is Caen, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are 6 communes with more than 10,000 inhabitants:[4]

Commune Population (2019)
Caen 106,230
Hérouville-Saint-Clair 22,555
Lisieux 20,038
Vire Normandie 16,590
Bayeux 12,682
Ifs 11,696


The Bayeux Tapestry is on display in Bayeux and makes the city one of the most-visited tourist destinations in Normandy.

Juno Beach Centre at Courseulles-sur-Mer, Calvados, commemorates the D-Day landing of the Canadian liberation forces at Juno Beach during World War II in 1944. The cult of Saint Thérèse de Lisieux brings large numbers of people on pilgrimage to Lisieux, where she lived in a Carmelite convent. Every September, Deauville hosts the Festival of the American Movie and the beach resort of Cabourg hosts the Festival of the Romantic Movie. Annually, the city of Caen celebrates the festival of the electronical cultures called "Nordik Impakt" and the festival of Beauregard, just around Caen.

The local dialect of the Norman language is known as Augeron. It is spoken by a minority of the population.


Calvados is one of the most visited areas in France because of its seaside resorts which are among the most prestigious in France with their luxurious hotels, casinos, green countryside, manors, castles, the quiet, the chalk cliffs, the typical Norman houses, the history of William the Conqueror, Caen, Bayeux, Lisieux, the famous D-day beaches and numerous museums about the Second World War. Culinary specialties from the verdant countryside of Calvados are abundant: cider, calvados, camembert, and Pont-l'Évêque cheeses.

One of the advantage of Calvados is to be fairly near large urban centers (Paris, Ile de France). Calvados is therefore often preferred for holidays and for weekends and sometimes considered as the countryside of Paris.

Calvados, via the port of Ouistreham, is an entrance to the continent from Britain. There are two airports: Caen-Carpiquet and Deauville-Saint Gatien. The department of Calvados has several popular tourist areas: the Bessin, the Plain of Caen, the Bocage Virois, the Côte de Nacre, the Côte Fleurie and the Pays d'Auge. Several beaches of Calvados are popular for water sports, including Cabourg and Merville-Franceville-Plage.

Tourist capacity (2022):[11]

  • 10,200 hotel rooms
  • 14,410 camping sites
  • 12,795 other beds (tourist resorts, holiday villages, rural gites, youth hostels)

Second homesEdit

As of 2019, 17.9% of available housing in the department were second homes.[11]

Municipalities with more than 20% of second homes
Communes with population over 2,000 and more than 20% of second homes in 2019[12]
Town Municipal population Percentage of
second homes
Villers-sur-Mer 2,543 83.0%
Cabourg 3,558 79.7%
Deauville 3,565 71.9%
Trouville-sur-Mer 4,603 67.4%
Merville-Franceville-Plage 2,186 57.9%
Courseulles-sur-Mer 4,196 52.2%
Bernières-sur-Mer 2,274 44.3%
Dives-sur-Mer 5,276 39.9%
Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer 2,237 39.5%
Hermanville-sur-Mer 3,110 31.7%
Luc-sur-Mer 3,213 30.1%
Lion-sur-Mer 2,536 29.8%
Honfleur 6,733 27.9%
Ouistreham 9,344 25.8%
Touques 3,731 25.0%


Aquatic sports are often played on the coasts and beaches, for example, kite surfing and beach volleyball. Stade Malherbe Caen is a professional football team from Caen, who currently play in Ligue 2.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les conseillers départementaux"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 4 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Téléchargement du fichier d'ensemble des populations légales en 2020". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2022.
  3. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Calvados" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  4. ^ a b c Populations légales 2019: 14 Calvados, INSEE
  5. ^ Lepelley, René (1990). Calvados, qui es-tu, d'où viens-tu ou le nom énigmatique d'un département Français: Critique d'une tradition, hypothèses diverses, proposition d'interprétation. C. Corlet.
  6. ^ "Twinning". Devon County Council. Archived from the original on 19 October 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2009.
  7. ^ "Résultats élections: Calvados". Le Monde.
  8. ^ "Résultats de l'élection présidentielle 2012: Calvados". Ministère de l'Intérieur.
  9. ^ "Historique du Calvados". Le SPLAF.
  10. ^ "Évolution et structure de la population en 2016". INSEE.
  11. ^ a b c Dossier complet, Population par grandes tranches d'âges, Tourisme en 2022, Catégories et types de logements, INSEE, retrieved 7 July 2022.
  12. ^ "Statistiques locales: Part des résidences secondaires, population municipale". INSEE.

External linksEdit