Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel
Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel

Normandie is an old province, formally a dukedom that was divided in 1956 to create Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy), which consists of three départements, Calvados, Manche and Orne whilst Haute Normandie comprises the départments of .Seine-Maritime and Eure. This division remains somewhat controversial, with some calling for a regrouping. But the name existed already and referred by tradition to territories currently included within the administrative region the Pays de Caux, the Pays de Bray (not the Picard one), the Roumois, the Campagne of Le Neubourg, the Plaine de Saint André and the Norman Vexin. Nowadays the main part of the Pays d'Auge and a small part of Pays d'Ouche are in Basse-Normandie..

Basse Normandie

The economy is heavily agricultural, with livestock and dairy farming, textiles and fruit production among its major industries. Iron ore is mined near Caen and Tourism is also a major industry. The region has direct ferry links to the United Kingdom (via the ports of Cherbourg and Caen Ouistreham) and the beaches of Calvados were the site of the D-Day landings in June 1944. The area suffered enormous damage during World War II, with many of the region's towns and villages being destroyed during the Battle of Normandy.

Regions of Basse-Normandie include the Cotentin Peninsula and La Hague, Pays d'Auge, and the Bessin

The history of the Basse-Normandie region concerns that part of Normandie termed Basse-Normandie (or "Lower Normandy") that was created in 1956, when the traditional region of Normandie, with an integral history reaching back to the 10th century, was divided into Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie ("Upper Normandy"). During the Roman era, the region was divided into several different city-states.

Vieux-la-Romaine (Aregenua) is a Gallo-Roman archaeological site, about fifteen kilometres south of Caen, located within the present day village of Vieux. Excavations began during the reign of Louis XIV, revealing numerous structures and vestiges bearing testimony to the prosperity of the Caen region under the Roman empire.

Roman theatre, approximately 80 metres in diameter
Artesian workshops (glassmakers…)
Public Roman thermal bath
Suburban villa: also called “a house with the large columned porch”, equipped with underfloor drainage and heated by a hypocauste. The reception room, the court and the garden were decorated (Frescoes of Achilles and Thétys, Bacchic sculptures, mosaics…). Also part of the original limestone pavement has been preserved.

In the fifth century the region was conquered by the Franks.

During the ninth century, the region was devastated by the Norman Conquests.

In 1066, William the Bastard conquered England, becoming William the Conqueror, or William I of England.

Henry I of England’s victory at Tinchebray (or Tinchebral) on September 29th 1106 gave Normandy to the Plantagenets. Nearly one hundred years later, in 1204, Philippe II Auguste (King of France) confiscated the region. Then, during the Hundred Years' War, the region was again annexed by England.

The French regained the region from 1436 to 1450. By 1468, it was entirely under the control of the French monarchy.

Normandie has its own regional language, the Norman language. This language is still in use today in Basse-Normandie, with the dialects of the Cotentin more in evidence than others. Basse-Normandie has also been the home of many well-known French authors, including Guy de Maupassant, Marcel Proust, Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly, and Gustave Flaubert. Notable Norman language authors connected especially with Basse-Normandie include Alfred Rossel, Louis Beuve, and Côtis-Capel. In terms of music, composer Erik Satie also hailed from this region. And in the visual arts, Jean-François Millet was a native of La Hague.

Haute Normandie

The River Seine bisects this region as it winds its way from its source 30km north of Dijon to the sea near Le Havre. Other notable rivers include the Risle, Eure, and Charentonne. Although a low-lying region, Upper Normandy has high chalk cliffs along its coastline. cliffs, ravines, and forests mark the meandering course of the rich valley of the Seine. In the south-west are the Perche Ranges.

Côte d'Albâtre extends from Le Tréport to Le Havre, the striking chalk cliffs, rise higher than 100 metres in places and are lapped gently by the sea on warm summer days and are a defence against the ravages of the waves on winter days when the sea breaks relentlessly against the cliff face.Unfortunately, these are eroding at a ferocious rate and it's conceivable that the small resorts, tucked in among the cliffs at the ends of a succession of valleys, may not last more than another century or so.

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