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Orne (General introduction)

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Orne is faithful to its reputation as a « verdant » department offering 6,103km2 of diverse and preserved countryside
303,000 inhabitants
Alençon urban hub: 51,942 inhabitants
Valuable communication infrastructures: A28 and A88 motorways



GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Situated in the southern part of Normandy, the Orne department offers a diversity of landscapes from orchards and bocage to hillsides and vast forests. The county town of Alençon is situated at the junction between the Paris – Rennes and Le Mans – Caen routes.
Orne comprises three "arrondissements": Alençon, Argentan and Mortagne-au-Perche; 40 cantons and 505 communes.
The department is divided into five "pays" (districts): The Pays du Bocage, the Pays d’Alençon, the Pays d’Argentan Pays d’Auge Ornais (PAPAO), the Pays d’Ouche and the Pays du Perche.

COMMUNICATION
The A28 motorway (Rouen – Alençon) portion was inaugurated in October 2005.
The A28 from Rouen to Alençon in a few figures: 125km, 2 major viaducts, 5 arterial interchanges, 1 interchange (A13), 1 motorway node (A88) in the vicinity of Sées, 6 service and rest areas, 1 motorway toll gate.
New business parks have been developed to welcome businesses alongside the A28 in the vicinity of Gacé, Sées and Alençon.
The A28 relieves the RN138 (A road) of part of its heavy goods traffic, thus rendering travel across the department safer and less time-consuming. Rouen is approximately an hour's drive from Alençon or L'Aigle via the motorway, compared to a two-hour drive on secondary routes.
The A88 Caen-Falaise-Sées motorway.

RURAL POPULATION
With 303,000 inhabitants (at 1st January 2009), across a total surface area of 6,103km2, Orne is Normandy's most sparsely populated department.
The Orne population represents 20% of the total regional population. The decreasing demographic trend observed in previous years would appear to have stabilised, thanks to efforts to open up the department's rural areas and to the creation of communication infrastructures.
The rural population continues to dominate with 55.09% of the total departmental population scattered throughout 474 « rural » communes. Rural population density throughout these towns and villages is 28 inhabitants per km2, whereas urban population density reaches 301 inhabitants per km2.
Such low population density is characteristic of the Orne department's predominantly rural nature with a few small to medium-sized urban communities. The urban population is concentrated within the urban community of Alençon (19 communes): 51,942 inhabitants; the Pays de Flers urban community (13 communes): 29,371 inhabitants; the Pays d'Argentan urban community (11 communes): 19,103 inhabitants

ECONOMY
A pioneer of the industrial revolution, Orne reinforced its industrial fabric during the post-war period thanks to the integration of internationally renowned companies such as Moulinex in 1954, and Philips and MCI in 1957.
The department's key values are undoubtedly initiative and reactivity. Leading technologies, new processes and applied research are all major contributors to the area's economic dynamism. The strong industrial presence concentrates several major sectors of activity: agrifood, plastics (2,000 jobs), electric and electronic machines and appliances (3,500 jobs), automobile industry (2,500 jobs), graphics industry (46 printers), mechanics and metalwork (110 related companies).





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