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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coat of Arms of Calvados
Location of Calvados in France
Department number: 14
Region: Basse-Normandie
Prefecture: Caen
Subprefectures: Bayeux
Arrondissements: 4
Cantons: 49
Communes: 706
President of the General Council: Anne d'Ornano
Miscellaneous Right-wing
Population Ranked 31st
 -1999 648,385
Population density: 117/km2
Land area¹: 5548 km2
¹ French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2.

The French department of Calvados is part of the region of Basse-Normandie in Normandy. It takes its name from a cluster of rocks off the coast.



Calvados is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from a part of the former province of Normandy. The name "Orne inférieure" was originally proposed for the department, but it was ultimately decided to call the area Calvados.

Its etymology is most likely derived from the Salvador, a ship from the Spanish Armada that sank by the rocks near Arromanches-les-bains in 1588. However, others insist that the name Calvados was derived from calva dorsa, meaning bare backs, in reference to two sparsely vegetated rocks off its shore.[1]

On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces landed on the beaches of the Bay of the Seine in what became known as the Battle of Normandy.


Calvados belongs to the region of Basse-Normandie and is surrounded by the departments of Seine-Maritime, Eure, Orne and Manche. On the north is la Baie de Seine, part of the English Channel. On the east, the Seine River forms the boundary with Seine-Maritime. Calvados includes the Bessin area, the Pays d'Auge and the area known as the "Suisse normande" ("Norman Switzerland").

Calvados' most notable places include Deauville and the formerly elegant 19th-century casino resorts of the coast.


Agriculture dominates the economy of Calvados. The area is known for producing butter, cheese, cider and the apple-based spirit that shares its name (see Calvados (spirit)).


The President of the General Council is the centrist Anne d'Ornano. She is the wife of Michel d'Ornano, the former dominant figure of the right and centre in the department. The Conseil General of Calvados and Devon County Council signed a Twinning Charter in 1971 to develop links with the English county of Devon.[2]

Party seats
Socialist Party 18
Miscellaneous Right 18
Union for a Popular Movement 6
Left Radical Party 3
New Centre 3
MoDem 1


The inhabitants of Calvados are called "Calvadosiens" (male) and "Calvadosiennes" (female). In 1999, Calvados counted 648,299 inhabitants, making it the 30th most populated French department.

Age distribution in Calvados:

  • 75 years and older: 7.2%
  • 60 – 74 years old: 13.16%
  • 40 – 59 years old: 25.52%
  • 20 – 39 years old: 28.53%
  • 0 – 19 years old: 25.6%


The Bayeux Tapestry is on display in Bayeux and makes the city one of the most-visited tourist destinations in Normandy. Juno Beach Centre at Courseulles-sur-Mer, Calvados, commemorates the D-Day landing of the Canadian liberation forces at Juno Beach during World War II in 1944. The cult of Saint Thérèse de Lisieux brings large numbers of people on pilgrimage to Lisieux, where she lived in a Carmelite convent. Every September, Deauville hosts the Festival of the American Movie and the beach resort of Cabourg hosts the Festival of the Romantic Movie Annually, the city of Caen celebrates the festival of the electronical cultures called "Nordik Impakt".

The local dialect of the Norman language is known as Augeron. It is spoken by a minority of the population.


Calvados, via the port of Ouistreham, is an entrance to the continent from Britain. There are two airports: Caen-Carpiquet and Deauville-Saint Gatien. The department of Calvados has several popular tourist areas: the Bessin, the Plaine of Caen, the Bocage Virois, the Côte de Nacre, the Côte Fleurie and the Pays d'Auge. Several beaches of Calvados are popular for water sports, including Cabourg and Merville-Franceville-Plage.

Tourist capacity (2001):

  • 7,818 hotel rooms
  • 13,734 camping sites
  • 1,176 beds (holiday villages)
  • 619 rural gites

The beaches of Calvados were received during the second half of the nineteenth century near Paris, development of railway network and fashion of sea bathing Duke of Morny created the seaside resort of Deauville in 1860, the train from Paris' s yarrête in 1863. The Coast Coast and pearl flowers (Houlgate, Deauville, Cabourg, Honfleur) are lined with villas secondary-like small mansions, the wealthy Parisian and English, built during the Belle Epoque.

Calvados hosts many tourists on the beaches of the landing of 1944. Several monuments of the history of landings on the Normandy coast:

Tourism History

    * The Memorial de Caen, Caen;
    * The museum D-Day Omaha Vierville-sur-Mer;
    * The Museum of the Battle of the Falaise pocket at Falaise;
    * The Museum of the battery at Merville Merville-Franceville-Plage;
    * The museum of the landing at Arromanches-les-Bains;
    * The memorial of General de Gaulle to Bayeux;
    * The Museum of the Atlantic Wall in Ouistreham;
    * The museum Juno beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer;
    * The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy in Bayeux;
    * The Pegasus Memorial Museum in Ranville;

Architectural Tourism

    * The Castle of Pommeraye, Switzerland Norman;
    * The Chateau Ganne, The Pommeraye;

Gastronomic tourism

Increasingly, Norman gastronomy attracts tourists in search of "local products" such as Camembert, Livarot, l'évêque deck, calvados, pommel, cider, St. Jacques shells of Port en Bessin ... Rural tourism is growing much.

Ecological Tourism

    * The regional park of Marais du Cotentin and Bessin, near Isigny-sur-Mer;
    * The natural reserve of the hill from Mesnil-Soleil Damblainville;
    * The cliffs of black cows in Houlgate.
    * La Suisse Normande

Municipalities with more than 10% of second homes

According to the general census of the population of March 8, 1999, 19.2% of homes available in the department were second homes.


Aquatic sports are often played on the coasts and beaches, for example, kite surfing and beach volleyball. For the season 2007/2008, the soccer team of Caen will play in the Ligue 1 French championship (Elite).

See also


  1. ^ Lepelley, René (1990). Calvados, qui es-tu, d'où viens-tu ou le nom énigmatique d'un département Français  : Critique d'une tradition, hypothèses diverses, proposition d'interprétation. C. Corlet.  
  2. ^ "Twinning". Devon County Council. Retrieved 08 December 2009.  

External links

Coordinates: 49°02′N 0°15′W / 49.033°N 0.25°W / 49.033; -0.25


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Calvados is a region of Basse-Normandie famous for its apple liqueur.

  • Bessin (NW, around Bayeux and the D-Day beaches)
  • Bocage Normand (SW, around Vire)
  • Caen and its surrounding area
  • Côte de Nacre (Coast north of Caen, west of the Orne estuary)
  • Côte Fleurie (NE coast, from Merville-Franceville to Honfleur)
  • Pays d'Auge (SE, quite rural)
  • Pays de Falaise (South)
  • Suisse Normande (South, quite mountainous)
  • Caen, the capital
  • Falaise, with the castle where William the Conqueror was born
  • Cabourg and Deauville, sea-side resorts famous for their casinos, film festivals, expensive houses and horse-racing
  • Bayeux, old town with the famous Bayeux Tapestry
  • Lisieux, pilgrimage town with a world-famous basilica
  • Ouistreham, Trouville, other famous resorts
  • Honfleur, on the Seine estuary, whose old port was a favourite of many painters
  • Livarot, Pont-L'Évêque, Camembert, famous for their cheeses
  • Arromanches, a good base for exploring D-Day beaches
  • Vire, the main city of the south-west of Calvados, famous for its andouillette
  • Colleville-sur-Mer for the famous American cemetery, and the German Cemeteries at La Cambe and Marigny
  • La Pointe du Hoc, cliff which was the scene of a daring US rangers mission during the D-Day landings
  • Many cemeteries, museums, memorials, and other places linked to D-Day and the Battle of Normandy
  • Farms where you can buy local gastronomical products and see how they are made, in particular cidre, calvados, and other apple products, and cheese and dairy products
  • Orne Bay, which can be reached from Ouistréham, Sallenelles and Merville-Franceville.
  • Suisse Normande, a hilly region at the south
  • Pays d'Auge, a much more agricultural region to the East.
  • Many beaches, resorts, etc.


French is the official language, and all the locals will speak it. Some may use some non-standard expression, but most will make the effort to not use these if you are foreign.
Local expressions you might encounter are 'Tantôt' meaning either this morning, this afternoon, tomorrow morning/afternoon or yesterday morning/afternnon, depending of the speaker.
As Normandy is a premium tourist destinations, many of the younger people will speak English, and will be willing to speak it. Spanish, Italian, and German are also quite widely studied at school.
Although there are Norman languages, they are mostly dying out, and the speakers will also speak French. You may also meet the occasional speaker of neighbouring regions' local languages, such as Breton or Picard, but in any case, a stranger would only address you to establish contact in French (or English if you were in a tourist place).

Get in

By Air

There is an airport in Caen (Caen-Carpiquet) with flights to Shoreham in the UK with Skysouth, Lyon and seasonally Nice with Air France/Britair, Paris-Orly with Airlinair and Chalair. Note that these are usually not daily apart from the Lyon connection. The other international airport is in Deauville, with flights to Shoreham with Skysouth. Both will also have charter flights. Other local airports are the two in Paris, which are well connected to the Train service and have many international connections; and Dinard which has flights to the UK with Ryanair and to Guernsey with Aurigny Air Services (the airport is not connected to public transport in any useful sense, but has hire car offices).

By Ferry

There is a ferry-port in Ouistréham, with ferries to Portsmouth with Brittany Ferries. Another popular option with the locals is the crossings run by LD Lines to Le Havre and Dieppe from Newhaven and Portsmouth, which are sometimes substantially cheaper. Cherbourg, Calais and Saint-Malo are also within driving distance.
Brittany Ferries
LD Lines
A Ferry To: Price Comparison site

By Rail

Rail is the most commonly used public transport in France for inter-regional travel. It is cheap, fast and reliable. Check out reductions for under-26, over-25 and group travellers. Tickets can usually be bought abroad, on the internet, at stations; in advance or on the day.
Caen is the main station, alongside Lisieux, Bayeux, Trouville-Deauville and Cabourg-Dives. There are also stations in Lison, Le Molay Littry, Audrieu, Bretteville Norrey, Frénouville Cagny, Mézidon, Moult Argences, St Pierre sur Dives, Coulibœuf, Le Grand Jardin, Pont L'Évêque, Blonville Bennerville, Villers/Mer, Houlgate and Dives Port-Guillaume.
Trains go towards Saint-Lô (Cherbourg and Rennes), Paris (2 hours away), Alençon (Le Mans), and Rouen.
SNCF website

By Car

Roads in France are good.
The main motorway is the A13 to Caen from Paris (225km / 139 miles). It then continues to Cherbourg (although it is not always a motorway). Some of it is toll, but quite cheap. The A84 goes from Caen to Rennes. You can also take the RN13 from Paris, which is free.
To cross the Seine, you can use the Pont de Normandie between Le Havre and Honfleur. Toll is 5€ for a car. A popular site in itself, the bridge, which opened in 1995, at the time was the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, and had the record for the longest distance between piers; these records were lost in 1999 and 2004 respectively.
There is a free bridge further south at Tancarville, and more bridges as you go further south (where the Seine isn't as wide).



D-Day circuits are signposted, and take you around Normandy retracing the history of the 1944 events in the Region. Details can be obtained through the Official Site

Stay safe

France is a pretty safe country, and Normandy doesn't have any big cities with no-go areas, although as in any place, you should stick to a few obvious rules (don't walk down dark alleyways at 4 in the morning, etc...).
If in trouble, speak to a policeman (Policier or Gendarme) or go to a police station (Comissariat) where you will be given help.
For health issues, go see a doctor (médecin, around 20€). For ER/A&E, ask for Urgences. You can call SOS Médecin (Tél: 36 24), who can send out a doctor (very useful in rural areas). Chemist are Pharmacies, and most major towns will have a Pharmacien de garde who will stay open all night for emergencies (they take turns, check in the local paper to get the name and phone number).
Emergency phone numbers are:

  • 15 for ambulances
  • 17 for police
  • 18 for fire service (who also serve as ambulances and deal with issues such as gas leaks, traffic collisions, etc...)

The European Emergency number 112 will also work.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also calvados


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. A département of France, in the Basse-Normandie region.


Simple English

Calvados can be:


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