Calvados (department)

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Abbaye aux Dames 1.JPG
Bayeux Historic Centre.jpg
France-000813 - Omaha Beach (14880489210).jpg
Manoir de Boissey facade sud.JPG
From top down, left to right: Abbaye aux Dames in Caen, Bayeux's historic centre, Omaha Beach and timber framing house in Boissey
Flag of Calvados.svg
Arms of the French Department of Calvados.svg
Coat of arms
Location of Calvados in France
Coordinates: 49°02′N0°15′E / 49.033°N 0.250°E / 49.033; 0.250 Coordinates: 49°02′N0°15′E / 49.033°N 0.250°E / 49.033; 0.250
Region Normandy
Prefecture Caen
Subprefectures Bayeux
   President of the General Council Jean-Léonce Dupont (New Centre)
  Total5,535 km2 (2,137 sq mi)
  Rank 34th
  Density130/km2 (320/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number 14
Arrondissements 4
Cantons 25
Communes 527
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Calvados (French pronunciation:  [] ; English: /ˈkælvəds/ ) is a department in the Normandy region in northwestern France. [1] It takes its name from a cluster of rocks off the English Channel coast.

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.

Regions of France France top-level territorial subdivision

France is divided into 18 administrative regions, which are traditionally divided between 13 metropolitan regions, located on the European continent, and 5 overseas regions, located outside the European continent. The 13 metropolitan regions are each further subdivided into 2 to 13 departments, while the overseas regions consist of only one department each and hence are also referred to as "overseas departments". The current legal concept of region was adopted in 1982, and in 2016 what had been 27 regions was reduced to 18. The overseas regions should not be confused with the overseas collectivities, which have a semi-autonomous status.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.0 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.



Calvados is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 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 after a group of rocks off its coast.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

The Kingdom of France was organized into provinces until March 4, 1790, when the establishment of the department system superseded provinces. The provinces of France were roughly equivalent to the historic counties of England. They came into their final form over the course of many hundreds of years, as many dozens of semi-independent fiefs and former independent countries came to be incorporated into the French royal domain. Because of the haphazard manner in which the provinces evolved, each had its own sets of feudal traditions, laws, taxation systems, courts, etc., and the system represented an impediment to effective administration of the entire country from Paris. During the early years of the French Revolution, in an attempt to centralize the administration of the whole country, and to remove the influence of the French nobility over the country, the entirety of the province system was abolished and replaced by the system of departments in use today.

Normandy Administrative region of France

Normandy is the northwesternmost of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.

One popular legend ascribes its etymology to the Salvador, a ship from the Spanish Armada that sank by the rocks near Arromanches-les-bains in 1588. It is more likely, however, that the name Calvados was derived from calva dorsa, meaning bare backs, in reference to two sparsely vegetated rocks off its shore. [2]

Spanish Armada Fleet of Spanish ships, intended to attack England in 1588

The Spanish Armada was a Habsburg Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from Corunna in late May 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. Medina Sidonia was an aristocrat without naval command experience but was made commander by King Philip II. The aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and her establishment of Protestantism in England, to stop English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to stop the harm caused by English and Dutch privateering ships that interfered with Spanish interests in America.

After the allied victory at Waterloo the department was occupied by Prussian troops between June 1815 and November 1818.

Battle of Waterloo Battle of the Napoleonic Wars in which Napoleon was defeated

The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seventh Coalition: a British-led allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and a Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal Blücher. The battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

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

Allies of World War II Grouping of the victorious countries of World War II

The Allies of World War II, called the "United Nations" from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.


Calvados belongs to the region of Normandy and is surrounded by the departments of Seine-Maritime, Eure, Orne and Manche. To the north is the Baie de la 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").

The most notable places in Calvados 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 Calvados, the apple spirit that takes its name from the area.


The President of the General Council is the centrist Jean-Léonce Dupont, 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. [3]

Socialist Party 18
Miscellaneous Right 18
The Republicans 6
Left Radical Party 3
New Centre 3
MoDem 1

Current National Assembly Representatives

ConstituencyMember [4] Party
Calvados's 1st constituency Fabrice Le Vigoureux La République En Marche!
Calvados's 2nd constituency Laurence Dumont Socialist Party
Calvados's 3rd constituency Sébastien Leclerc The Republicans
Calvados's 4th constituency Christophe Blanchet La République En Marche!
Calvados's 5th constituency Bertrand Bouyx La République En Marche!
Calvados's 6th constituency Alain Tourret La République En Marche!


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

Age distribution in Calvados:


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 festival of Beauregard, just around Caen.

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


Calvados is one of the most visited areas in France because of its seaside resorts which are among the most prestigious in France with their luxurious hotels, casinos, green countryside, manors, castles, the quiet, the chalk cliffs, the typical Norman houses, the history of William the Conqueror, Caen, Bayeux, Lisieux, the famous D-day beaches and numerous museums about the Second World War. The culinary specialties from the verdant countryside of Calvados are abundant: cider, calvados, camembert and Pont-l'Évêque cheeses.

One of the advantage of Calvados is to be fairly near large urban centers (Paris, Ile de France). Calvados is therefore often preferred for holidays and for weekends and sometimes considered as the countryside of Paris .

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 Plain 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):

Municipalities with more than 10% of second homes

This ranking takes into account all the municipalities having over 10% of second homes in the departement of Calvados. 80% of owners are from the Paris area, 10% are English and 10% are local.

According to the general census of the population of 1 January 2006, 18.9% of housing available in the department were second homes.


CityMunicipal PopulationNumber of homesSecond home% Second home
Villers-sur-Mer 0 02,5410 09,2800 07,85784.67%
Cabourg 0 03,965010,1060 08,03979.54%
Houlgate 0 01,9020 04,6580 03,66578.67%
Tourgéville 0 0 09220 02,4230 01,88877.92%
Benerville-sur-Mer 0 0 04910 01,2330 0 092474.93%
Varaville 0 0 07670 01,4770 01,10674.88%
Gonneville-sur-Mer 0 0 05810 0 08990 0 065172.41%
Colleville-sur-Mer 0 0 01670 0 02700 0 019572.22%
Blonville-sur-Mer 0 01,5460 02,7140 01,95171.90%
Deauville 0 03,9730 07,7940 05,48470.36%
Merville-Franceville-Plage 0 01,7400 02,5350 01,69466.81%
Saint-Côme-de-Fresné 0 0 02190 0 02940 0 019666.64%
Danestal 0 0 02650 0 03250 0 021365.49%
Asnelles 0 0 05890 0 08360 0 054665.31%
Trouville-sur-Mer 0 04,9920 08,1100 05,15963.61%
Saint-Arnoult 0 0 09100 0 09220 0 057662.48%
Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer 0 01,8510 02,1110 01,27160.22%
Courseulles-sur-Mer 0 04,1060 05,0220 02,77555.26%
Villerville 0 0 07500 0 08130 0 042552.23%
Grandcamp-Maisy 0 01,7570 01,7590 0 082947.13%
Équemauville 0 01,2550 0 08800 0 039544.89%
Bernières-sur-Mer 0 02,3730 01,8540 0 078542.34%
Langrune-sur-Mer 0 01,6900 01,2360 0 047938.73%
Arromanches-les-Bains 0 0 06020 0 04880 0 018738.34%
Bonneville-la-Louvet 0 0 07680 0 05150 0 019537.92%
Ver-sur-Mer 0 01,5080 01,0420 0 039437.77%
Hermanville-sur-Mer 0 02,6920 01,6980 0 058634.53%
Colleville-Montgomery 0 02,2540 01,3390 0 044433.14%
Dives-sur-Mer 0 05,8640 03,9770 01,30532.81%
Luc-sur-Mer 0 03,1860 02,1790 0 070532.35%
Saint-Gatien-des-Bois 0 01,3120 0 07800 0 025132.18%
Ouistreham 0 09,2520 06,5190 02,02331.04%
Lion-sur-Mer 0 02,5680 01,5380 0 041126.75%
Touques 0 03,8480 02,6430 0 070626.69%
Port-en-Bessin-Huppain 0 01,9580 01,1340 0 020718.24%
Honfleur 0 08,1770 04,7930 0 066113.79%


Aquatic sports are often played on the coasts and beaches, for example, kite surfing and beach volleyball. Stade Malherbe Caen is a professional football team from Caen, who currently play in Ligue 1.

See also


  1. Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Calvados"  . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. 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.
  3. "Twinning". Devon County Council. Archived from the original on 19 October 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2009.

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