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Flag of the Normandy region Coat of arms of the Normandy region
Nouvelle-Aquitaine Nouvelle-Aquitaine Nouvelle-Aquitaine Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Bretagne Bretagne Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Centre-Val de Loire Grand Est Île-de-France Korsika Okzitanien Hauts-de-France Normandie Pays de la Loire Pays de la Loire Provence-Alpes-Côte d’AzurLocation of the Normandy region in France
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Basic data
Country FranceFrance France
prefecture Rouen
President of the Regional Council Hervé Morin ( UDI )
population 3,322,756 (2012)
Population density 111 inhabitants per km²
surface 29,923 km²
Departments 5
Arrondissements 17th
Community associations 73
Cantons 131
Communities 2,651
ISO-3166-2 code FR-NOR

Relief map of the Normandy region
The Bay of Étretat

Normandy [ ˈnɔːrməndi ], French [ nɔʁmãdi ], is the name of a French region today . Forerunners have existed since 996 AD as a historic province in northern France . The area is divided into the lower Seine area (the former region Haute-Normandie ) north of Paris and the land in the West (former Region Basse-Normandie ) with the peninsula Cotentin .

The Channel Islands also belonged to the Duchy of Normandy . The Baie de Seine , Normandy's most striking bay, stretches between Pointe de Barfleur and Cap de la Hève . The duchy began as a fief to the Viking leader Rollo ("Gånge Rolf") by the West Franconian King Karl (911). Rollo's descendants succeeded in conquering England. The Dukes of Normandy were kings of England until 1087, from 1106 to 1144 and from 1154 onwards . The Duchy of Normandy came under the rule of the French kings during the Hundred Years War . With the establishment of the departments in the wake of the French Revolution and the creation of the two regions of Haute-Normandie and Basse-Normandie in 1972, Normandy was no longer a political entity, but the question of the reunification of Normandy remained on the political agenda and became on January 1st Completed in 2016 as part of the reorganization of the French regions.

The French departments of Calvados , Eure , Manche , Orne and Seine-Maritime belong to the Normandy region .

3.3 million people live in Normandy (as of 2012). The largest city in the region is Le Havre (172,000 and 247,000 inhabitants, including the suburbs), followed by the capital Rouen (118,000 / 385,000 inhabitants), Caen (107,000 / 225,000 inhabitants) and Cherbourg (81,000 / 89,000 inhabitants).



Cliff coast of les Vaches Noires

Normandy is mainly located in the Paris Basin . However, Western Normandy is part of the Armorican massif .

The geology of Normandy extends from the Paleoproterozoic to the Quaternary . In Jobourg the oldest rocks are in France for the digestion. These gneisses, which are more than two billion years old, can also be found in the Bailiwick of Guernsey . The Roche d'Oëtre is one of the most picturesque landscapes of the Armorican massif. The landscapes in the Armorican massif or in the Paris basin are different. At the boundary between the two geological units, in Laize-la-Ville near Caen, two discordances can be observed: the Cadomian and the Variscan discordance. Numerous fossils can be found in the Paris Basin. Bayeux takes its name from Bajocium . The cliff coast of les Vaches Noires is known for its fossils.

Transport links

The cities with the Norman names

Normandy is crossed by the Paris-Saint-Lazare-Rouen-le Havre , Paris-Saint-Lazare-Caen-Cherbourg and also by the Paris-Montparnasse-Argentan-Granville railway . The Lison – Lamballe railway connects Caen with Rennes , and thus Normandy with Brittany . The A13 motorway connects Paris to Caen via Rouen .


The most populous cities in Normandy are:

city Inhabitants (year) Department
Le Havre 170,147 (2017) Seine-Maritime
Rouen 110,145 (2017) Seine-Maritime
Caen 105,354 (2017) Calvados
Cherbourg-en-Cotentin 79,200 (2017) Some
Evreux 47,733 (2017) Your
Dieppe 29,080 (2017) Seine-Maritime
Sotteville-lès-Rouen 28,965 (2017) Seine-Maritime
Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray 28,641 (2017) Seine-Maritime
Alencon 25,848 (2017) Orne
Le Grand-Quevilly 25,698 (2017) Seine-Maritime


Between 58 and 51 BC Gaius Iulius Caesar conquered the region and named the area Lugdunensis secunda . The first cities to emerge were Constantia , Augusta and Rotomagus . From the late 4th century onwards, the fortified towns and forts on the coast belonged to the Limes of the so-called Saxon coast , whose crews were under the command of a Dux tractus Armoricani et Nervicani . Gregory of Tours mentions the settlement of Saxony around Augustodurum in today's Normandy for the 2nd half of the 5th century . 486/87 the Franks under the Merovingian Clovis triumphed over the last Gallo-Roman military leader Syagrius and occupied the Gallic territories north of the Loire. Clovis founded a bishopric in Rouen . In the 7th and 8th centuries, monasteries were founded in Jumièges , St. Quen and St. Wandrille . In 709, the Bishop of Avranches founded the monastery on Mont-Saint-Michel . In 841 Rouen was sacked by the Normans . In 911 the West Franconian King Charles the Simple entrusted the Normans Rollo with the county of Rouen , which became the core of a largely independent duchy .

Normandy got its current name in the Middle Ages as the home of the Normans, who were formed as a tribe from native "French" residents and newly arrived Vikings . According to evidence from language and place name research , the majority of the Vikings who had settled came from Denmark , a smaller number from Norway . It can be assumed that their wives almost all came from the local native population. The history of the Duchy of Normandy began when the Viking jarl Rollo (Gånge Rolf), presumably from Norway, who had devastated the Seine area around Paris , awarded Normandy as a fief by Charles the Simple in the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte got (911). He was thus integrated into the West Franconian "state" and was supposed to defend Normandy against further attacks by Vikings coming from outside (shift his attention from the inland to the coast).

Rollos descendant Wilhelm , Duke of Normandy, succeeded in conquering England in 1066 , which earned him the nickname “the Conqueror”. He was then crowned King of England . The dukes of Normandy stayed until 1087 and were kings of England from 1106 to 1144 and from 1154 onwards, before Normandy was conquered by the French King Philip II during a war in 1204 . During the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) it was occupied by English troops from 1346 to 1360 and again from 1415 to 1450.

During the Second World War , Normandy was occupied by the German Wehrmacht . The coast of Lower Normandy served the Western Allies as a landing zone for the long-planned invasion. The following loss-making expedition, also known as Operation Overlord , began on June 6, 1944 with 6,400 landing craft. After the US Army, the British, Canadians, Poles and French troops had been held up by German forces for a month and a half, the Americans broke out of the pocket on July 25, 1944. Caen in particular suffered greatly from the fighting. A few weeks later they led to the liberation of Paris (August 25, 1944) and, after a few months, all of Western Europe .

Coat of arms and flag of the historic province

William the Conqueror is said to have received a flag from Pope Alexander II . It can be found on the Bayeux Tapestry . It was supposed to be a sign of papal protection and was not linked to either the duke or the duchy. It is believed, however, that William the Conqueror actually used a flag. It is said to have been white and marked with a blue bordered gold cross.

A coat of arms for Normandy was not introduced until the time of the Crusades and the rule of the Plantagenet . This coat of arms was originally a blue shield with six golden leopards. It was changed to a red shield with three golden leopards, the coat of arms of Richard the Lionheart . After 1204 the leopards were reduced to two and for six centuries this remained the coat of arms of Normandy until the so-called "leopard dispute" ignited on the occasion of the upcoming 1000th anniversary of Normandy.

The leopard fight

Many local poets and some historians, but mostly local patriots , saw the shield with three leopards as the actual coat of arms of Normandy. It was the coat of arms that is also in use on Guernsey and Jersey . This should also tie in with the Anglo-Norman dukes and kings as creators of modern England. They saw the coat of arms with only two leopards as a result of the conquest of Normandy by the central power in Paris. The three leopards were undeniably an expression of pride and a desire for autonomy. This version is currently preferred in the Cotentin Peninsula area . The dispute over the number of leopards petered out over the course of the 20th century.

The flag proposal 1920

To avoid the dispute over the number of leopards, local patriots launched a campaign for their own Norman flag. It began in the 1920s with an article in the Bulletin des Normands de Paris . Professor Jean Adigard Des Gautries , an expert in name research for Scandinavia and Normandy, advocated a special flag because the coat of arms and flag would have different functions. The three leopards should only be used as banners. The proposal was not widely accepted because the patriots were too attached to the leopard. The discussion came up again in 1954. This time it was young people around Viking magazine , which appeared from 1949 to 1958. There, the different flags of the Normandy regiments in the Ancien Régime were pointed out with different color combinations around a white cross, which could not be continued due to the monarchical tendency and the lack of popular acceptance.

The first suggestion was a red flag with a yellow Scandinavian cross and two or three leopards on the back. It was shown in Cherbourg during the Wiking Week of 1955, and it even blew on the town hall. But it did not prevail despite the diligent efforts of the Viking newspaper . One reason was that it resembled the signal flag "R" of the international flag alphabet . Another reason was that this flag was used by the Quisling government's Norwegian 'National Collection' during the Third Reich . The third reason was that the separatist movement, which had wanted to detach Scania from Sweden, had used this flag. The use of this flag could have strained the desired good relations with the Scandinavian countries. The fourth reason given is that this flag was also used by the Finnish independence movement in 1917 and was thus linked to Finnish history.

St. Olavs Flag

Against this background, a new flag proposal was drawn up in 1974. It was supposed to remind of Olav the saint , who was baptized in Rouen . It was the red Scandinavian cross with a yellow border on a red cloth. It was endorsed by the “Association française d'études internationale de vexillologie” and featured in the books Flags Through the Ages and Across the World by Whitney Smith (1975) and World Encyclopädia of Flags by Alfred Znamierowski (1999), as well as numerous other vexillological books Treatises recorded. Some patriots, however, did not want to leave the leopards and put them in the upper leech . It is also common in this form, especially on stickers. The city of Falaise uses it as a flag. However, this flag never became official, but was restricted to supporters of the “Mouvement normand” (Norman movement).


Political structure

The Normandy region is divided into five departments :

OZ = Ordinal number of the department         Arr. = Number of arrondissements        According to = Number of municipalities
W. = Coat of arms of the department Kant. = Number of cantons
ISO = ISO-3166-2 code GV = Number of municipal associations
OZ W. Department prefecture ISO Arr. GV Kant. According to Residents
January 1, 2017
(inh / km²)
14th Coat of arms of the Calvados department Calvados Caen FR-14 000000000000004.00000000004th 000000000000016.000000000016 000000000000025.000000000025th 000000000000527.0000000000527 000000000694002.0000000000694.002 000000000005534.00000000005,534 125
27 Coat of arms of the Eure department Your Evreux FR-27 000000000000003.00000000003 000000000000016.000000000016 000000000000023.000000000023 000000000000585.0000000000585 000000000601843.0000000000601.843 000000000006042.00000000006,042 100
50 Coat of arms of the Manche department Some Saint-Lô FR-50 000000000000004.00000000004th 000000000000008.00000000008th 000000000000027.000000000027 000000000000446.0000000000446 000000000496883.0000000000496,883 000000000005965.00000000005,965 83
61 Coat of arms of the Orne department Orne Alencon FR-61 000000000000003.00000000003 000000000000016.000000000016 000000000000021.000000000021st 000000000000385.0000000000385 000000000283372.0000000000283,372 000000000006104.00000000006.104 46
76 Coat of arms of the Seine-Maritime department Seine-Maritime Rouen FR-76 000000000000003.00000000003 000000000000021.000000000021st 000000000000035.000000000035 000000000000708.0000000000708 000000001254378.00000000001,254,378 000000000006278.00000000006,278 200
total 000000000000017.000000000017th 000000000000073.000000000073 000000000000131.0000000000131 000000000002651.00000000002,651 3,330,478 000000000029923.000000000029,923 111
Arrondissements in the Normandy region
Cantons in the Normandy region
Associations of municipalities in the Normandy region

Regional council

Result of the election of the regional council on December 13, 2015:

See also: List of Presidents of French Regional Councils

Archeology in Normandy

A debate is taking place within French archeology in new publications on the megalithic origins that first emerged in north-west France. The “Paris School” emphasizes the influence of the ceramic band on the cultures of La Hoguette and Cerny, while the “Atlantic School” emphasizes developments along the Atlantic facade with its impressive product groups. In an alternative model, forms of interaction between Neolithic and Mesolithic people in different regions are again emphasized.

The first archaeological excavation in France took place in 1685 in Houlbec-Cocherel in the Eure department in Normandy. The first publications with archaeological topics from the region come from Charles Alexis Adrien Duhérissier de Gerville (1769-1853) from Gerville-la-Forêt, who introduced the term Romanesque in 1818 .

Arcisse de Caumont (1801–1873) is considered the father of Norman archeology. In 1823 he founded the Société Linnéenne de Normandie (the French Society for Natural History named after Carl von Linné ) and in 1833 a Society for the Preservation of Monuments. A high school and street in his hometown of Caen bear his name and a memorial to him in Bayeux .

Another representative of Norman archeology was Jean Désiré Benedikt Cochet (1812-1870), known as L'Abbe Cochet. Together with the amateur archaeologist Jacques Boucher de Perthes, he was a founder of scientific archeology in France.

Léopold Victor Delisle (1826–1910), born in Valognes ( Département Manche ), was a manuscript researcher and historian who, as head of the national library, expanded its holdings enormously and took up subjects from Normandy. Léon Coutil (1856–1943) dealt with Gallic and Etruscan subjects in Les Casques Proto-Etrusques, Etrusques et Gaulois .

Michel de Boüard (1909–1989) was a historian and medieval archaeologist as well as dean of the philosophical faculty in Caen.


Seafood in
Étretat's gastronomy

The three big C's stand for Norman cuisine: cider , calvados and camembert . The mild and humid climate offers ideal conditions for keeping livestock and for growing apples. It is estimated that there are around 10 million apple trees in the region that bloom from mid-April to mid-May. The apple sparkling cider is enjoyed not only as a beverage but also used for cooking, for example for the production of Norman sauce or Tripes à la mode de Caen ( tripe on Caener kind). Calvados is an apple brandy wine. Camembert is not the only type of cheese native to Normandy. Livarot , Pont-l'Évêque and Neufchâtel as well as some newer cheeses (e.g. Boursin , Le Coutances ) also come from Normandy.

Also typical is the generous use of crème fraîche , which, like cheese production, goes back to the widespread dairy industry. Meat dishes such as steak normand , fish or the moules frites (mussels with french fries) are served à la crème . Beurre d'Isigny (butter from Isigny-sur-Mer ) and Crème d'Isigny (cream from Isigny-sur-Mer) have been around since the 16th century. Since 1986 they have had the controlled designation of origin ( Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée , AOC) Isigny- Sainte-Mère and since 1993 the protected designation of origin Appellation d'origine protégée (AOP). The caramel sweets Caramels d'Isigny , which are made with the generous use of cream and are also protected by a controlled designation of origin , also come from Isigny .

In addition, the coastal towns of Normandy developed for tourism are particularly popular all year round for their fresh seafood , oysters , mussels à la crème and à la Normande as well as fish specialties by gourmets from the French hinterland and foreign holidaymakers.

Normandy as a travel destination

Normandy was already becoming a popular travel destination at the beginning of the 19th century. When Napoleon visited the port city of Dieppe with his wife Marie-Louise of Austria , Dieppe was already a popular vacation spot for British high society . Shortly afterwards, Hortense de Beauharnais and the Duchess of Berry, Marie Caroline , made Dieppe the first seaside resort in France. Above all, they were enthusiastic about the romantic castles and abbeys as well as the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. Stendhal then coined the word tourism , and William Turner illustrated the first travel guide "Romantic Normandy", which appeared in 1828 in two volumes.

Particular tourist attractions are the legendary Mont-Saint-Michel and the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry . Further sights are the house and garden of the Impressionist Claude Monet in Giverny , the white chalk cliffs of Étretat and the landing coast, where the Allied troops landed on June 6, 1944, on so-called D-Day . La Cité de la Mer is a museum, located in Cherbourg , dedicated to the sea. The directly adjacent towns of Deauville and Trouville-sur-Mer are popular seaside resorts. For Christian pilgrims, the places of birth and death of St. Therese of Lisieux , Alençon and Lisieux , as well as Rouen as the place of the martyrdom of St. Johanna von Orléans special attraction.

Most of the foreign tourists come from England (2012: 791,330 overnight stays), the Netherlands (2012: 628,661 overnight stays), Belgium (2012: 393,383 overnight stays) and Germany (2012: 330,270 overnight stays). The Normandy Tourist Board is based in Évreux .


  • Dominique Auzias: Normandy. Nouvelles Éditions Université, 2005, ISBN 2-7469-1263-5 .
  • Michel de Boüard: Histoire de la Normandie. Private, Toulouse 2001, ISBN 2-7089-1707-2 .
  • Charles Brisson, René Herval, A. Lepilleur: Legends et récits de Normandie. Ancre de Marine, Louviers 2004, ISBN 2-84141-188-5 .
  • V. Carpentier, E. Chesquiére, C. Marcigny: Archéologie en Normandie. Edition Quest-France, Rennes 2007, ISBN 978-2-7373-4164-9 .
  • Arcisse de Caumont (1801–1873), érudit normand et fondateur de l'archéologie française, (Mémoires de la Société des antiquaires de Normandie, T. XL), 2004, 515 p., 158 ill. ( ISBN 2-9510558-2-X )
  • Serge Gleizes, Christian Sarramon, Philippe Delerm: L'art de vivre en Normandie. Flammarion, Paris 2004, ISBN 2-08-201254-9 .
  • Sabine Grimkowski: Normandy: A travel companion. Insel, Frankfurt am Main / Leipzig 2007, ISBN 978-3-458-34968-6 .
  • Arnold Hugh Martin Jones, John Robert Martindale: The prosopography of the later Roman Empire. 2. AD 395-527. Cambridge University Press, 1971, pp. 504 f.
  • Jean Mabire: Normandy folkets St. Olavs flag. In: Nordisk Flaggkontakt. No. 42, 2006, pp. 35-38.
  • Ralf Nestmeyer : Normandy. Michael-Müller-Verlag, Erlangen 2013, ISBN 978-3-89953-766-6 .
  • Mark Patton: Neolithization and megalithic origins in North-Western France: A regional interaction model. In: Oxford Journal of Archeology. Volume 13 (3), 1994. pp. 279-293
  • Klaus Simon: Normandy. Dumont-Reiseverlag, Ostfildern 2009, ISBN 978-3-7701-7274-0 .
  • Dieter Strauch:  Normans. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd Edition. Volume 21, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2002, ISBN 3-11-017272-0 , pp. 365-381.
  • Klaus van Eickels , John Insley, Claude Lorren:  Normandy. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd Edition. Volume 21, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2002, ISBN 3-11-017272-0 , pp. 340-361.

Web links

Commons : Normandy  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Notes and individual references

  1. Bay of Écalgrain and Bay of Cul-Rond Website Lithothèque de Normandie (French)
  2. Landscapes website Lithothèque de Normandie
  3. ^ Discordances in Laize-la-Ville website Lithothèque de Normandie (French)
  4. ^ Arnold Hugh Martin Jones, John Robert Martindale, 1971, pp. 504-505
  5. Cf.: The female ancestors of today's Icelanders almost all come from Ireland , from where the Vikings who sailed to Iceland robbed or took their wives with them .
  6. Chester Wilmot: The Struggle for Europe . Book Guild Gutenberg, Zurich 1955, pp. 247–455.
  7. a b Mabire p. 35.
  8. The flag is no longer available; because it is very rare.
  9. Viking was only very poorly known. The number of subscribers was 500 and the loose copies were 50.
  10. Mabire p. 37.
  11. Mabire p. 38.
  12. Résultats régionales 2015 on, accessed on January 11, 2016
  13. Website of the Isigny-sur-Mer dairy cooperative (French). Accessed on February 2, 2010
  14. Norman kitchen specialties (
  15. Agricultural Products - Crt Normandy . Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  16. Comité Régional de Tourisme de Normandie (CRT Normandie)