Argentan (French pronunciation: ​[aʁʒɑ̃tɑ̃]) is a commune and the seat of two cantons and of an arrondissement in the Orne department in northwestern France.

Argentan is located 180 km (110 mi) NE of Rennes, 131 km (81 mi) ENE of the Mont Saint-Michel, 188 km (117 mi) SE of Cherbourg, 58 km (36 mi) SSE of Caen, 133 km (83 mi) SW of Rouen and 100 km (62 mi) N of Le Mans.

The Château of the dukes in the center of Argentan.
The Château of the dukes in the center of Argentan.
Coat of arms of Argentan

Coat of arms
Location of Argentan
Argentan is located in France
Argentan is located in Normandy
Coordinates: 48°45′N 0°01′W / 48.75°N 0.02°WCoordinates: 48°45′N 0°01′W / 48.75°N 0.02°W
IntercommunalityArgentan Intercom
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Pierre Pavis
18.18 km2 (7.02 sq mi)
 • Density800/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
61006 /61200
Elevation152–228 m (499–748 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.


Panther Argentan
Heavy fighting in August 1944, following the Allied invasion of Normandy, left the town in ruins.
Gare d'Argentan 1
SNCF train station

Argentan is situated near the Orne River. Although the region was heavily populated during the Gallo Roman period the town is not mentioned until 1025–1026. The toponym comes from the Gaulois words, argentos (silver) and magos (market).[2] The town grew in importance during the Middle Ages.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Argentan alternated between prosperity and destruction, as English forces occupied the city several times. The Plantagenets had considered this town as one of the most important of Normandy.

During the reign of Louis XIV, Colbert set Alençon against Argentan in an economic competition on lace making. Thus, the point d'Argentan ("Argentan stitch") and the point d'Alençon ("Alençon stitch") were created. Argentan became a very important town for traditional industry. It also gained in religious importance with the building of a Benedictine Abbey and two churches, Saint-Martin and Saint-Germain. Several mansions (hôtels particuliers) were also built.

During World War I, the French 104th Infantry Regiment/14th Infantry Brigade was stationed at Argentan. It participated in the battle of Verdun in 1916.

During World War II, the city was almost totally destroyed. On 5 June 1944, on the eve of the Allied D-Day landing on the beaches of Normandy, the city suffered an important air raid in which the train station was destroyed.[3] The city suffered further damage when it was bombed on 6 and 7 June by B-17 and B-24 bombers of the U.S. Eighth Air Force.[4] The greatest part of the city was, however, left in ruins two and half months later, at the end of August, during the battle of the Argentan-Falaise Pocket. The U.S. Third Army, under the command of general George S. Patton liberated Argentan after eight days of violent combat against the German 9th Panzer Division and the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich. The U.S. 80th Infantry Division liberated the city in the morning of 20 August.


Historical population

Main sights

Chapel Saint Nicholas end of 11century
Chapel Saint Nicholas - built end of the 11th century
Hôtel du Moulin de Tercey, 2 rue Saint-Martin
Hôtel du Moulin de Tercey, 2 rue Saint-Martin
Donjon of argentan, built by Henry II of England
Donjon of Argentan, built by Henry II of England
St Germain church and weekly market
St Germain church and weekly market. Market days are Tuesday,Friday, and a small one on Sunday morning. Church built 16th-18th century.
Tour Margarite is the only surviving tower from the original fortifications.
Tour Marguerite is the only surviving medieval tower remaining from the Middle Ages in Argentan.
St.Martin church, built in the 15th and 16th centuries
Donjon Argentan
Vestige of Henry II of England's donjon or castle keep built in the 12th century.
Hotel Joseph de Laleu 56 rue Saint Martin built in 1651
Hotel Joseph de Laleu 56 rue Saint Martin built in 1651
Ango house
This hotel particulier was the Nicolas Ango house, built by an up-and-coming bourgeois.
Abbaye in Argentan now a restaurant
Abbaye in Argentan now a restaurant
Faces on the old former abbay in the Romanesque style.
Faces on the old former abbey in the Romanesque style.
Chateau of the Dukes of Alençon now the Court House (Palais de la Justice)
Château of the Dukes of Alençon, dating from the 15th century, now functioning as the Court House (Palais de la Justice)
Birthplace of André Mare (1885- 1935) Painter decorator. cofounder with Louis SUE de la Compagnie the Arts Françaisue de Prison
Birthplace of André Mare (1885-1935) Painter and decorator. Cofounder, with Louis SÛE, of the Compagnie the Arts Française. Corner of rue de la Vieille Prison and rue Pierre Ozenne.
Hotel particulaire
One of a number of Hotel Particulaires, or private homes, from the 17th century. Rue St.Martin
Hotel particulaire rue St.Martin
Hotel particulaire rue St.Martin and rue Pierre Ozenne
  • Donjon of Argentan
  • Tour Marguerite, a medieval tower
  • Ducal Castle (14th century), now a Court House. It houses the St. Nicholas Chapels (late 11th century), built by Pierre II of Alençon
  • Saint Martin church (15th–16th centuries)
  • Saint Germain church (16th–18th centuries)
  • Saint Roch Chapel
  • Museum of the Argentan lace


Argentan was the birthplace of:

International relations

Argentan is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. ^ MOULIN, Marie-Anne; CHAVE, Isabelle; FAJAL, Bruno; FOUCHER, Jean-Pascal; et al. (2008). Argentn et ses environs au Moyen Âge: Approche historique et archéologique. Public Library: Conseil général de l'Orne. p. 38. ISBN 978-2-86061-032-2.
  3. ^ Destruction of Argentan SNCF train station in August 1944: (French site)
  4. ^ Freeman, Roger A., The Mighty Eighth, Motorbooks International, 1981, 1990, pp. 259 & 260.
  5. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 2013-07-11.

External links

Argentan lace

Argentan lace or Point d'Argentan is a needle lace from the 18th century. Argentella is derived from Argentan.


Argentella is a type of needle lace derived from Argentan lace, with a Rosacé ground, a "striking ground of tiny webs."

Argentella: A French needle lace made also at Abbisola in Italy. Developed from Argentan with Rosacé ground.

Argentella. A name given to a lace made in Genoa [Italy], but worked much like [the French] Point d'Alençon.

argentella lace[:] An early, white needlepoint lace made in Italy. Similar to the Alençon lace, but made with flat cordonnet. The patterns are delicate and spread over a net ground with small dots at the corners.

Argentella. ...a variant of point d'Alençon, which has a large mesh with a six-sided dot in the centre. This dotted réseau is known as fond de neige, and œil de perdrix, also as réseau rosaceé.

Arrondissement of Argentan

The arrondissement of Argentan is an arrondissement of France in the Orne department in the Normandy region. Since the January 2017 reorganization of the arrondissements of Orne, it has 123 communes.


Aunou-le-Faucon is a commune in the Orne department in northwestern France.


Boischampré is a commune in the Orne department in northwestern France. It was formed in 2015 by the merger of the former communes Saint-Christophe-le-Jajolet, Marcei, Saint-Loyer-des-Champs and Vrigny.

Falaise Pocket

The Falaise Pocket or Battle of the Falaise Pocket (German: Kessel von Falaise; 12 – 21 August 1944) was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War. A pocket was formed around Falaise, Calvados, in which the German Army Group B, with the 7th Army and the Fifth Panzer Army (formerly Panzergruppe West) were encircled by the Western Allies. The battle is also referred to as the Battle of the Falaise Gap (after the corridor which the Germans sought to maintain to allow their escape), the Chambois Pocket, the Falaise-Chambois Pocket, the Argentan–Falaise Pocket or the Trun–Chambois Gap. The battle resulted in the destruction of most of Army Group B west of the Seine, which opened the way to Paris and the Franco-German border for the Allied armies on the Western Front.

Six weeks after D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, the German Army was in turmoil. While the Allied Army experienced great difficulty in breaking through the German lines (the city of Caen was supposed to have been captured on the first day of the invasion and was not taken until late in July) the German Army's defence of this area of Normandy was expending irreplaceable resources. The Allied air forces controlled the skies (up to 100 km behind enemy lines), bombing and strafing Axis troops, reinforcements, and necessary army supplies, such as fuel and ammunition. On the Eastern Front, the Soviet Union's Operation Bagration and the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive were in the midst of destroying the German Army Group Centre. In France, the German Army had used its available reserves (especially its armour reserves) to buttress the front lines around Caen, and there were few additional troops available to create successive lines of defence. To make matters worse, the 20 July plot—in which officers of the German Army, including some stationed in France, tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler and seize power—had failed, and in its aftermath there was very little trust between Hitler and his generals.

In order to break out of Normandy, the Allied armies developed a multi-stage operation. It started with a British and Canadian attack along the eastern battle line around Caen in Operation Goodwood on 18 July. The German Army responded by sending a large portion of its armoured reserves to defend. Then, on 25 July thousands of American bombers carpet bombed a 6,000-metre hole on the western end of the German lines around Saint-Lô in Operation Cobra, allowing the Americans to push forces through this gap in the German lines. After some initial resistance, the German forces were overwhelmed and the Americans broke through. On 1 August, Lieutenant General George S. Patton was named the commanding officer of the newly recommissioned US Third Army—which included large segments of the soldiers that had broken through the German lines—and with few German reserves behind the front line, the race was on. The Third Army quickly pushed south and then east, meeting very little German resistance. Concurrently, the British and Canadian troops pushed south (Operation Bluecoat) in an attempt to keep the German armour engaged. Under the weight of this British and Canadian attack, the Germans withdrew; the orderly withdrawal eventually collapsed due to lack of fuel.

Despite lacking the resources to defeat the US breakthrough and simultaneous British and Canadian offensives south of Caumont and Caen, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, the commander of Army Group B, was not permitted by Hitler to withdraw but was ordered to conduct a counter-offensive at Mortain against the US breakthrough. Four depleted panzer divisions were not enough to defeat the First US Army. The disastrous Operation Lüttich drove the Germans deeper into the Allied envelopment.

On 8 August, the Allied ground forces commander, General Bernard Montgomery, ordered the Allied armies to converge on the Falaise–Chambois area to envelop Army Group B, with the First US Army forming the southern arm, the British the base, and the Canadians the northern arm of the encirclement. The Germans began to withdraw on 17 August, and on 19 August the Allies linked up in Chambois. Gaps were forced in the Allied lines by German counter-attacks, the biggest being a corridor forced past the 1st Polish Armoured Division on Hill 262, a commanding position at the mouth of the pocket. By the evening of 21 August, the pocket had been sealed, with c. 50,000 Germans trapped inside. Many Germans escaped, but losses in men and equipment were huge. A few days later, the Allied Liberation of Paris was completed, and on 30 August the remnants of Army Group B retreated across the Seine, which ended Operation Overlord.

Fernand Léger

Joseph Fernand Henri Léger (French: [leʒe]; February 4, 1881 – August 17, 1955) was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. In his early works he created a personal form of cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style. His boldly simplified treatment of modern subject matter has caused him to be regarded as a forerunner of pop art.

Florent Geroux

Florent Geroux (born July 16, 1986) is a jockey who has earned over 1,000 wins in American thoroughbred horse racing, including the 2017 Breeders' Cup Classic on Gun Runner.

Franck Berrier

Franck Berrier (born February 2, 1984) is a retired French football player.

Jérémy Leveau

Jérémy Leveau (born 17 April 1992 in Argentan) is a French cyclist, who currently rides for UCI Professional Continental team Delko–Marseille Provence.

Margaret of Lorraine

Not to be confused with Marguerite of Lorraine.Margaret of Lorraine (born 1463 at the castle of Vaudémont, Lorraine – 2 November 1521 in Argentan, Normandy) was Duchess of Alençon, and a nun of the order of Poor Clares (Ordre des Clarisses). She was beatified in 1921.

Orne's 3rd constituency

The 2nd constituency of the Orne (French: Troisième circonscription de l'Orne) is a French legislative constituency in the Orne département. Like the other 576 French constituencies, it elects one MP using the first past the post election system with a run-off.

Orne (river)

The Orne (Ptolemeus Olina) is a river in Normandy, within northwestern France. It discharges into the English Channel at the port of Ouistreham. Its source is in Aunou-sur-Orne, east of Sées. Its main tributaries are the Odon and the Rouvre.

The Orne flows through the following departments and towns:

Orne (named after the river): Sées, Argentan

Calvados: Thury-Harcourt, Caen, Ouistreham

Richard Peduzzi

Richard Peduzzi (born 1943 in Argentan, Orne) is a French scenographer. He was the director of the French Academy in Rome from September 2002 to August 2008.

Since 1969, he has decorated the sets designed by Patrice Chéreau, and together they have put on several dramatic texts by Bernard-Marie Koltès. In the theatre, they participated in the centennial productions of Der Ring des Nibelungen at Bayreuth under the direction of Pierre Boulez. For the Opéra National de Paris, they presented Alban Berg's Lulu, and Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann, and for the La Scala, Milan, they collaborated on Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (2007). Peduzzi also created films with Chéreau, such as La Reine Margot and Ceux qui m'aiment prendront le train. He was nominated for a César Award for Best Production Design in 1976 for his work on La Chair de l'orchidée.

Peduzzi's sets are often formed of large vertical masses symbolising the dangers that threaten the characters.

Route nationale 26

The Route nationale 26, or RN26, is a highway in France connecting Verneuil-sur-Avre with Argentan.


Écouché-les-Vallées is a commune in the department of Orne, northwestern France. The municipality was established on 1 January 2016 by merger of the former communes of Batilly, La Courbe, Écouché (the seat), Loucé, Saint-Ouen-sur-Maire and Serans. On 1 January 2018, the former commune of Fontenai-sur-Orne was merged into Écouché-les-Vallées.

Communes of the Orne department

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.