Falaise, Calvados

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Coordinates: 48°53′34″N 0°11′31″W / 48.8927777778°N 0.191944444444°W / 48.8927777778; -0.191944444444


Falaise is a commune in the Calvados département in the Basse-Normandie region in Normandy, north-western France. Population (1982) 8,820; (1990) 8,387; (1999) 8,797.



Falaise lies on the Ante River, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) southeast of Caen.


The town was the birthplace of William I the Conqueror, first of the Norman Kings of England. The Château de Falaise (12th-13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. Also, the Treaty of Falaise was signed at the castle in December 1174 between the captive William I, King of Scots, and the English King Henry II Plantagenet.

The town is also the place were Rabbi Yom Tov of Falaise, grandchild of Rashi held his rabbinical court. In modern times it is known for the battle of the "Falaise Pocket" during the Allied reconquest of France (called Operation Overlord) in August 1944 in which two German armies were encircled and destroyed by the Allied armies. Some 10,000 German troops were killed and 50,000 taken prisoner.

Two-thirds of Falaise was destroyed by Allied bombing before the town was taken by a combined force of Canadian and Polish troops. Falaise was largely restored after the war.


The arms of Falaise are blazoned :
Gules, a castle argent masoned on a mount sable.

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