From Academic Kids

Alençon is a town in Normandy, France, préfecture (capital) of the Orne département. It is situated 105 miles west of Paris, and the town has a population of 30,380 (in 1999). Alençon belongs to the Communauté urbaine d'Alençon (with 52,000 people). In the 17th century Alençon was chiefly noted for its lace called point d'Alençon. Alençon is twinned with Basingstoke in the United Kingdom.


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History

It is probably during the 4th century, while the area was being christianized, that the city of Alençon was born. The name is first seen in a document dated to the 7th century. During the 10th century, Alençon was a buffer state between Normandy (to the north) and the Maine regions (to the south). Alençon was occupied by the English during the Anglo-Norman wars of 1113 to 1203.

The city became the seat of a duke in 1415, belonging to the sons of France until the French Revolution, and some of them played an important role in French history: see Duke of Alençon. The Revolution (1789-1799) caused relatively little disorder: a few riots, some plunder, some deaths.

The fabric industry, prosperous since 1650, started to decline at that time. The economic development of the 19th century and the industrial boom was generated by several factories (mills), and transportation networks (roads and railways) developed. Unfortunately, the major railway from Brest (western tip of France) and Paris misses Alençon and favors Le Mans, 50 km south, instead.

Up until World War II, the neglected city turned in on itself, despite a flourishing printing industry.

On June 17, 1940, the German army invaded Alençon. On August 12, 1944, the city was the first French city of the continent to be liberated by the French army, by General Leclerc, after minor destruction.

After the war, the population sharply increased, and new industries settled, such as Moulinex, a home appliance manufacturer.

Economy

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

Transportation

Alençon is now linked to the autoroute (major interstate) system with Le Mans (Sarthe), and soon to Rouen (Upper Normandy) by the end of 2005.

Library of Alençon
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Library of Alençon

Famous births

Alençon was the birthplace of:

External link

gl:Alençón it:Alençon ja:アランソン sv:Alençon

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