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History and Heritage

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From prehistoric to modern times, history has left its mark on Normandy's land and buildings.
Despite many hard times, Normandy's heritage has been unremittingly enhanced, bearing witness to the immense commitment and influence of its builders throughout the centuries



HISTORY
Normandy's present-day territory was divided into several city states during the Roman period. The city of Vieux-la-Romaine has been the subject of excavation work since the 17th Century, revealing the vestiges of many ancient dwellings symbolising great prosperity in the region of Caen.
Normandy was conquered by the Franks in the 5th Century. During the 7th Century, Benedictine Monarchism was developed (Mont Saint-Michel). The region was devastated by the Norman invasions during the 9th Century. Following the Battle of Brissarthe in 866 AD, the county of Cotentin was conceded to the Breton prince Salomon. Charles III the Simple conceded the region which is today known as Normandy to Rollon in 911 via the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte.
In 1066, William the Bastard (the Conqueror) conquered England following his victory over Harold at the Battle of Hastings. In 1087, the Anglo-Norman State was divided. Following victory at the Battle of Tinchebray in 1106, Normandy fell into the hands of the Plantagenets. In 1204, Philippe Auguste confiscated the region. Then, during the 100 Years' War, Normandy was annexed by England.
A principality was formed encompassing the Perche and Alençon regions, leading to the birth of the Dukedom of Alençon. France reconquered Normandy from 1436 to 1450. In 1468, the province was under the control of the French monarchy.
On the 6th of June 1944, Normandy was to enter into history once more, setting the scene for the greatest military operation ever undertaken (the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy).

HERITAGE
- Antiquity: necropolises dating from the late Iron Age or the early La Tene (2nd Iron Age) in Ifs; Vieux-la-Romaine is a
Gallo-Roman archaeological site situated in Calvados, around 15 kilometres to the south of Caen.
- Middle Ages: Queen Matilda's Tapestry in Bayeux - Men's and Ladies' Abbeys in Caen - Caen and Falaise castles –
prestigious Roman vestiges throughout the region.
- Roman art, the English « Norman style » was born here in the 11th Century: Abbey churches: Cerisy-La-Forêt - Lessay –
Saint Etienne de Caen (St Stephen's Church) - La Trinité de Caen (the Holy Trinity) - Thaon Church - Bayeux Cathedral
crypt.
- Gothic: The first signs appeared in Lisieux (first choir built after the end of the dukedom), the nave of Saint Etienne de
Caen (St Stephen's Church), Bayeux Cathedral choir, Coutances Cathedral
- Specificities of Norman Gothic architecture: the Talbot Tower in Falaise, the chapter room in Hambye Abbey, Sées
Cathedral choir
- Renaissance: Château de Lion-sur-Mer - Château de Fontaine-Henry - Hôtel d'Escoville, Caen – Bayeux Episcopal Palace,
Château de Bénouville…
- Normandy during the reign of Louis XIV: construction of castles in classical style (Balleroy, Beaumesnil, Cany, Flamanville),
construction of the Haras du Pin stud farm from 1715 to 1730 under the auspices of Colbert, in charge of organising royal
stables.
- Modern times:
- Avranches: Mont Saint-Michel manuscript museum – 3,000 volumes including the very first edition of the great
Encyclopaedia of Diderot and Alembert including all of its original plates.
- World War II: several military cemeteries throughout Normandy – D-Day landing beaches – Caen Memorial – Arromanches
artificial harbour – Longues-sur-Mer Artillery Batteries.
- Resort architecture: along the coast, many examples of early 20th Century villas, copying the Norman half-timbered style
but using painted cement.





  • Vue d'Arromanches
  • Tapisserie de Bayeux
  • Pégasus bridge
  • Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel
  • Douves du Château de Carrouges