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Coordinates: 48°25′50″N 0°05′35″E / 48.4306°N 0.0931°E / 48.4306; 0.0931

Commune of Alençon

Blason Alençon.svg
Hotel de ville Alencon.jpg
Town hall of Alençon
Alençon is located in France
Country France
Region Basse-Normandie
Department Orne
Arrondissement Alençon
Intercommunality Alençon
Mayor Joaquim Pueyo
Elevation 127–152 m (420–500 ft)
(avg. 135 m/440 ft)
Land area1 10.68 km2 (4.12 sq mi)
Population2 28,935  (1999)
 - Density 2,709 /km2 (7,020 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 61001/ 61000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Alençon is a commune in Normandy, France, capital of the Orne department. It is situated 105 miles (169 km) west of Paris. Alençon belongs to the intercommunality of Alençon (with 52,000 people).



It was probably during the fourth century, while the area was being Christianised, that the city of Alençon was founded. The name is first seen in a document dated in the seventh century. During the tenth century, Alençon was a buffer state between Normandy and the Maine regions. In 1047, William Duke of Normandy, later known as William the Conqueror and king of England, laid siege to the town. The citizens insulted William by hanging animal skins from the walls, in reference to his ancestry as the illegitimate son of Duke Robert and a tanner's daughter. On capturing the town, William had the citizens' hands cut off in revenge. Alençon was occupied by the English during the Anglo-Norman wars of 1113 to 1203.

The city became the seat of a dukedom in 1415, belonging to the sons of the King of France until the French Revolution, and some of them played important roles in French history: see Duke of Alençon. The French Revolution caused relatively little disorder in this area although there were some royalist uprisings nearby.

The fabric industry gave birth to the famous point d'Alençon lace. The economic development of the nineteenth century and the industrial boom was generated by several factories (mills), and transport networks (roads and railways) developed. In the first half of the twentieth century the city developed a flourishing printing industry.

On 17 June 1940 the German Army occupied Alençon. On 12 August 1944 Alençon was the first French city to be liberated by the French Army under General Leclerc, after minor bomb damage.

After the war the population sharply increased and new industries settled. Many of these are related to plastics and Moulinex was a major employer until the closure of the Moulinex factories throughout France in 2001.

Alençon is linked by the A28 autoroute to Le Mans in the Sarthe to the south. In late 2005 Alençon was linked to Rouen by a new section of the A28 autoroute.


Arms of Alençon

The arms of Alençon are blazoned :
Azure, a double-headed eagle Or.


In the seventeenth century Alençon was chiefly noted for its lace called point d'Alençon.

Today, Alençon is home to a prosperous plastics industry, and, since 1993, to a plastics engineering school.

MPO Fenêtres is a local PVC windows company established in Alençon since 1970, is one of the first company in Alençon with around 170 employees (2009) and a turnover of 28 million euros in 2008. It is also the oldest French PVC windows company still in activity.


Alençon is now linked to the autoroute (major interstate) system with Le Mans (Sarthe), and to Rouen (Haute-Normandie) since the completion of the A28 on 27 October 2005.

They also have available from the hours of 7:00 to 19:00 an inter-city bus system.

Notable people

Alençon was the birthplace of:

On 19 October 2008, Blessed Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin and Louis Martin (blessed), the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, were beatified.[1] They were the first spouses in the history of the Catholic Church to be proposed for sainthood as a couple. Zelie and Louis were married at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Alencon on 12 July 1858 and spent their whole married life at Alencon.

International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Alençon is twinned with:

See also


External links

Redirecting to Alençon


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


French Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia fr




  1. Town in Orne:
    chef-lieu du département de l'Orne en France

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