Calvados

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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 English Channel coast. The pronunciation varies: in French the final 's' is not mute; in English usually Calvadoss with stress on the first syllable.

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History

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.

Geography

Calvados belongs to the region of Basse-Normandie 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.

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