Falaise was the chief residence of the Dukes of Normandy, and here in 1027 Arlette, a tanner's daughter, gave birth to William, the illegitimate son of Duke Robert the Magnificent. Once called "the bastard", the future king of England is now known to history as William the Conqueror.
Between the Suisse Normande and the Pays d'Auge, Falaise is surrounded by a bountiful environment, where verdant valleys cross plains covered in flax and wheat. It is an ideal area for sporting activities. Mountain bikers, hikers and canoeists enjoy themselves to the full and obtain a different view-point of the immense heritage of the town where William the Conqueror was born. As an important trading and craft industry centre, Falaise early achieved economic prosperity. The mediaeval castle, bearing witness to that period, continues to dominate Falaise, despite the Allied bombings of 1944 which destroyed 85% of the town before its liberation on 16th August. In the battle for the Falaise Pocket British, American, Canadian, Polish and French troops encircled Rommel's units and inflicted a crushing defeat that heralded the end of the battle of Normandy.
Dates for your diary
December: "The Hivernales", street exhibitions, story-telling, street art on the theme "the stars, from reality to the imaginary".