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Architectural diversity (periods and materials)

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Normandy, land of builders
Norman architecture relies on a number of the region's national resources: clay, Caen stone, reeds, oak, schist and granite.
Origin of the « Norman style » an extension of Roman art



The Norman province embraces such an architectural wealth that to establish each and every nuance is a complex task. Stretching across a vast landscape where the nature of the soil, the relief and human involvement have produced very varied landscapes, our region undoubtedly embraces the most comprehensive collection of construction types throughout France.

RURAL HABITAT
- Habitat of scattered farms in the Perche and the Mortainais, forming hamlets
- Isolated enclosed farms in the Bessin (some of them fortified), forming localities
- Open grouped farms in the Caen - Argentan plain forming villages

MATERIALS
Materials used in Norman architecture:
- Caen stone
- Reeds for thatched cottages
- Oak wood for half-timbering
- Clay for producing bricks and tiles
- Flint from the Pays de Caux
- Granite from the Cotentin peninsula
- Flint (or blue stone) used for roofing in North Cotentin
- Alençon granite extracted from mines in Condé-sur-Sarthe and used for the reconstruction of the town

RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE (extensive and varied)
- Roman art, referred to by Anglo-Saxons as "Norman style", emerged in the 11th Century: Abbey churches in
Cérisy-La-Forêt – Lessay – Saint Stephen's Church in Caen – The Holy Trinity in Caen – Thaon – the Bayeux Cathedral
crypt
- Gothic: the first elements appeared in Lisieux (first choir built after the end of the dukedom), the nave of Saint Stephen's
Church in Caen, the choir of Bayeux Cathedral, Coutances Cathedral
- The specificity of Norman Gothic architecture; the Talbot tower in Falaise; Hambye Abbey Chapter House; Sées Cathedral
choir

CIVIL RENAISSANCE AND 18th CENTURY ARCHITECTURE
- The Château de Fontaine Henry which boasts the highest roofs in France
- The Château de Bénouville by Claude Nicolas Ledoux in pure neoclassical style

SEASIDE RESORT ARCHITECTURE
- Many examples of early 20th Century villas along our coastline
- Regeneration of the Norman half-timbered style but using painted cement






  • Crypte de l'Abbaye aux Dames
  • Maisons à colombages
  • Bocage : granit et schiste
  • Château de Fontaine-Henry
  • Cathedrale de Sées