Bernay, Eure

Last updated
Hotel de la gabelle Bernay.jpg
Hôtel de la Gabelle
Blason actuel de Bernay.svg
Coat of arms
Location of Bernay
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Normandie region location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 49°05′N0°36′E / 49.09°N 0.60°E / 49.09; 0.60 Coordinates: 49°05′N0°36′E / 49.09°N 0.60°E / 49.09; 0.60
Country France
Region Normandy
Department Eure
Arrondissement Bernay
Canton Bernay
Intercommunality Bernay et ses environs
  Mayor (20082014) Hervé Maurey (NC)
24.03 km2 (9.28 sq mi)
(2016-01-01)2 [1]
  Density460/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
27056 /27300
Elevation87–173 m (285–568 ft)
(avg. 108 m or 354 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting : residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Bernay (French:  [bɛʁnɛ] ) is a commune in the west of the Eure department about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Évreux in Northern France. The city is in the Pays d'Ouche and the Lieuvin. Bernay is in the Charentonne valley, a tributary of the Risle.

The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain. The United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered. The communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France.

Eure Department of France

Eure is a department in the north of France named after the river Eure.

In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, and five are overseas departments, which are also classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; the last two have no autonomy, and are used for the organisation of police, fire departments, and sometimes, elections.


In 2012, Bernay was designated one of the French Towns and Lands of Art and History. [2]

Since 1985, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication has pursued a policy of preserving and promoting France's heritage. Historic towns and districts have been designated Villes et Pays d'Art et d'Histoire.


The name Bernay is rooted in 5th century Roman settlement Brinnacu, from the Latin Brinnacum ("braided"), reflecting the marshy braided river land that the original settlement was built on. [3] The city has expanded around the River Charentonne, shielded by the incline to highlands ("les Monts") at the top of the Charentonne valley. The town has grown to encompass a portion of the smaller Cosnier, a tributary of the Charentonne.

Braided river A network of river channels separated by small, and often temporary, islands called [[braid bar]]s

A braided river, or braided channel, consists of a network of river channels separated by small, often temporary, islands called braid bars or, in British usage, aits or eyots. Braided streams occur in rivers with low speed, low slope, and/or large sediment load. Braided channels are also typical of environments that dramatically decrease channel depth, and consequently channel velocity, such as river deltas, alluvial fans, and peneplains.

Charentonne river in France

The Charentonne is a 63 km long river in Normandy, left tributary of the Risle. The river begins in pays d'Ouche (Orne), in the forest of Saint-Évroult, in the south of the Saint-Évroult-Notre-Dame-du-bois village and the ruins of the abbey where lived and died Orderic Vitalis (1075–1142).

Between 996 and 1008, Duke of Normandy Richard II offered this area in dowry to his wife, Judith of Brittany, who then provided for the building of a Benedictine abbey. The monks used the rivers flowing through the area for industry, for example cleansing, mills and fisheries. The abbey still stands, an example of Norman Romanesque architecture. To cover their expenses and to assure their protection, the monks yielded a part of the property in 1048. The veneration of "Notre-Dame de la Couture" (13th century) is the starting-point of important pilgrimages which attract people from across Normandy; the diocesan Marian pilgrimage still takes place each Whit Monday.

Duke of Normandy Medieval ruler of the Duchy of Normandy

In the Middle Ages, the Duke of Normandy was the ruler of the Duchy of Normandy in north-western France. The duchy arose out of a grant of land to the Viking leader Rollo by the French king Charles III in 911. In 924 and again in 933, Normandy was expanded by royal grant. Rollo's male-line descendants continued to rule it down to 1135. In 1202 the French king Philip II declared Normandy a forfeited fief and by 1204 his army had conquered it. It remained a French royal province thereafter, still called the Duchy of Normandy, but only occasionally granted to a duke of the royal house as an apanage.

Richard II, called the Good, was the eldest son and heir of Richard I the Fearless and Gunnora. He was a Norman nobleman of the House of Normandy. He was the paternal grandfather of William the Conqueror.

Judith of Brittany Duchess of Normandy

Judith of Brittany, also called Judith of Rennes (982–1017), was Duchess of Normandy from c. 1000 until her death.

The town is known for its cloth industry. Because of the diversity and abundance of the agricultural produce of the area, the town has a history of hosting market fairs, such as the "Foire Fleurie" each Palm Sunday. Bernay holds a large street market each Saturday, which takes over much of the old part of the town.

Palm Sunday Christian feast

Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels.

During the 19th century, when the road system was modernized, most industrial development moved to the outskirts of the town. During the 20th century, the arrival of new industries continued the outward expansion of Bernay, which now includes the slopes overlooking the historical city centre, which has maintained many of its original buildings.

In August 1944, during World War II, the First Canadian Army advanced east towards the Seine following the successful Operation Tractable. The Canadians liberated Bernay, which escaped damage from the Canadian bombardment of the area thanks to a thick layer of cloud, thus preserving the historical city centre.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

First Canadian Army Canadian military formation during the Second World War

The First Canadian Army was a field army and the senior formation of the Canadian Army that served on the Western Front from July 1944 until May 1945 during the Second World War.

Operation Tractable battle of World War II

Operation Tractable was the final attack conducted by Canadian and Polish troops, supported by a British tank brigade, during the Battle of Normandy during World War II. The operation was to capture the tactically important French town of Falaise and then the smaller towns of Trun and Chambois. This operation was undertaken by the First Canadian Army with the 1st Polish Armoured Division and a British armoured brigade against Army Group B of the Westheer in what became the largest encirclement on the Western Front during the Second World War. Despite a slow start and limited gains north of Falaise, novel tactics by the 1st Polish Armoured Division during the drive for Chambois enabled the Falaise Gap to be partially closed by 19 August 1944, trapping about 150,000 German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket.


Historical population
1793 5,705    
1800 6,271+9.9%
1806 6,521+4.0%
1821 6,332−2.9%
1831 6,605+4.3%
1836 7,244+9.7%
1841 6,871−5.1%
1846 7,512+9.3%
1851 7,362−2.0%
1856 7,237−1.7%
1861 7,566+4.5%
1866 7,510−0.7%
1872 7,281−3.0%
1876 7,643+5.0%
1881 7,989+4.5%
1886 8,310+4.0%
1891 8,016−3.5%
1896 7,966−0.6%
1901 8,159+2.4%
1906 8,115−0.5%
1911 7,883−2.9%
1921 7,440−5.6%
1926 7,587+2.0%
1931 7,700+1.5%
1936 7,783+1.1%
1946 8,174+5.0%
1954 8,798+7.6%
1962 9,349+6.3%
1968 10,009+7.1%
1975 10,539+5.3%
1982 10,548+0.1%
1990 10,582+0.3%
1999 11,022+4.2%
2008 10,480−4.9%
Timber framed house in Bernay Maison a colombages a Bernay (Eure).JPG
Timber framed house in Bernay


Sister cities

Bernay has four international sister cities:

See also

Related Research Articles

Falaise, Calvados Commune in Normandy, France

Falaise is a commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region in northwestern France.

Chartres Prefecture and commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Chartres is a commune and capital of the Eure-et-Loir department in France. It is located about 90 km (56 mi) southwest of Paris. Chartres is famous world-wide for its cathedral. Mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250, this Gothic cathedral is in an exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. Much of the old town, including the library associated with the School of Chartres, was destroyed by bombs in 1944.

Mont-Saint-Michel An island and mainland commune in Britanny, France

Le Mont-Saint-Michel is an island and mainland commune in Normandy, France.

Samer Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Samer(DvLz Azpect) is a commune and in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France.

Paray-le-Monial Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Paray-le-Monial[pa.ʁɛ.lə.mɔn.jal] is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in eastern France.

Aumale Commune in Normandy, France

Aumale, formerly known as Albemarle, is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region in north-western France. It lies on the river Bresle.

Beaumontel Commune in Normandy, France

Beaumontel is a commune in the Eure department in the Normandy region in northern France.

Marais-Vernier Commune in Normandy, France

Marais-Vernier is a commune in the Eure department in Normandy in northern France. It is situated near the left bank of the Seine, at the edge of a wetland formed by an old branch of the Seine. The wetland was cut off from the river with dams in the 17th century. Part of it is used for farming, part is a protected area which is important for birds like storks. The village itself is situated on the edge of the wetland.

Châteaudun Subprefecture and commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Châteaudun is a commune in the Eure-et-Loir department in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.

Verneuil-sur-Avre Part of Verneuil dAvre et dIton in Normandy, France

Verneuil-sur-Avre is a former commune in the Eure department in Normandy in northern France. On 1 January 2017, it was merged into the new commune Verneuil d'Avre et d'Iton.

Pays dOuche Region of France

The Pays d'Ouche is an historical and geographical region in Normandy. It extends from the southwest of Évreux up to Bernay and Beaumont-le-Roger as a northern limit, and down to L'Aigle and to Gacé in the south. Additional cities are Breteuil-sur-Iton, Conches and Rugles. Neighboring regions are the Pays d'Auge and to the south is Perche (Perche ).

Conches-en-Ouche Commune in Normandy, France

Conches-en-Ouches is a commune in the Eure département in northern France.

Le Bec-Hellouin Commune in Normandy, France

Le Bec-Hellouin is a commune in the department of Eure in the Normandy region in northern France.

Saint-Saëns, Seine-Maritime Commune in Normandy, France

Saint-Saëns is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region in northern France. A small town of farming and associated light industry situated by the banks of the river Varenne in the Pays de Bray, some 19 miles (31 km) southeast of Dieppe at the junction of the D929, D12, D99 and the D154 roads. Junction 11 of the A28 autoroute with the A29 autoroute is within the commune’s territory.

Morsan Commune in Normandy, France

Morsan is a commune in the Eure department in Normandy in northern France. The inhabitants are called Morsanais.

Les Préaux Commune in Normandy, France

Les Préaux is a commune in the Eure department and Normandy region of France.

Radepont Commune in Normandy, France

Radepont is a commune in the Eure department in Normandy, northern France.

Arcis-le-Ponsart Commune in Grand Est, France

Arcis-le-Ponsart is a commune in the Marne department in northeastern France. It is located along the D25 road, south of Courville, 32.2 kilometres (20.0 mi) by road southwest of Reims. The commune of Arcis-le-Ponsart has an area of 15.4 square kilometres (5.9 sq mi). The local economy is mainly agricultural based. Igny Abbey lies in this commune.

Everdon Priory was a priory in Northamptonshire, England. The village of Everdon is located about 6 km south-east of the town of Daventry.

Bernay Abbey abbey located in Eure, in France

Bernay Abbey was a Benedictine abbey in Bernay, Eure, France. The designers of its abbey church were ahead of their time, making it one of the first examples of Romanesque architecture in Normandy. It shows the early evolution of that style, its decorative elements and its building techniques.


  1. "Populations légales 2016". INSEE . Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. "VILLES ET PAYS D'ART ET D'HISTOIRE PAR RÉGION" (PDF). French Ministry of Culture. 2017-06-22. Retrieved 2017-09-10.
  3. François de Beaurepaire, Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de l'Eure, éditions Picard, 1981.