Falaise (French pronunciation: [falɛz] ) is a commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region in northwestern France.

The chateau and town centre of Falaise
The chateau and town centre of Falaise
Coat of arms of Falaise
Location of Falaise
Falaise is located in France
Falaise is located in Normandy
Coordinates: 48°53′50″N 00°11′51″W / 48.89722°N 0.19750°W / 48.89722; -0.19750
IntercommunalityPays de Falaise
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Hervé Maunoury[1]
11.84 km2 (4.57 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2020)[2]
 • Density660/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
14258 /14700
Elevation89–188 m (292–617 ft)
(avg. 132 m or 433 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Geography edit

Falaise lies on the river Ante, a tributary of the river Dives, about 30 km (19 mi) southeast of Caen.

History edit

The area around Falaise has been inhabited from prehistoric times, but it was only at the end of the prehistoric period and the beginning of the Gallo-Roman era that the area, Falaise in particular, was regularly inhabited. Evidence of settlement from the time has been found at Vaston, an agricultural area just north-east of the modern town.

The Château de Falaise on its rocky crag

Falaise, as it is sited today, probably came into being around the castle.

The town was the birthplace of William the Conqueror, first of the Norman Kings of England. He was frequently referred to as William the Bastard, on account of his being born out of wedlock to Herleva from Falaise, reputedly a tanner's daughter.

The Château de Falaise (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag (French: falaise), was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. Also, the Treaty of Falaise was signed at the castle in December 1174 between the captive William I, King of Scots, and the Plantagenet King of England, Henry II.

The town was also the place that Rabbi Yom Tov of Falaise, grandchild of Rashi, held his rabbinical court.

On 26 October 1851, a statue of William the Conqueror was inaugurated here (at his place of birth).[3]

World War II edit

After the Liberation of Falaise by the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division on 17 August 1944, U.S. troops pose with a captured German flag by a knocked-out tank.

In modern times, it is known for the battle of the Falaise Pocket during the Allied reconquest of France (called Operation Overlord) in August 1944 in which two German armies were encircled and destroyed by the allied armies. Some 10,000 German troops were killed and 50,000 taken prisoner.

Two-thirds of Falaise was destroyed by allied bombing before the town was taken by a combined force of Canadian and Polish troops. Falaise was largely restored after the war.

Population edit

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1968 7,180—    
1975 8,368+2.21%
1982 8,597+0.39%
1990 8,119−0.71%
1999 8,434+0.42%
2007 8,456+0.03%
2012 8,413−0.10%
2017 8,186−0.55%
Source: INSEE[4]

Notable person edit

International relations edit

Watercolour by
Émile Appay (1876–1935)

Falaise has been twinned with Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, England, since 1974; Bad Neustadt an der Saale in Germany since 1969; Cassino in Italy since 1975; and Alma, Quebec in Canada since 1969.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French). data.gouv.fr, Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 13 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2020". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2022.
  3. ^ Putnam, George Palmer (3 April 2018). "The World's Progress: A Dictionary of Dates, with Tabular Views of General History and a Historical Chart". G. P. Putnam and Company. Archived from the original on 6 May 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE

External links edit