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Country  France
Area  28,935
Region  Lower Normandy
Mayor  Joaquim Pueyo

Alencon is a commune in Normandy, France, capital of the Orne department. It is situated 173 kilometres (107 mi) west of Paris. Alencon belongs to the intercommunality of Alencon (with 52,000 people).


Map of Alencon


Alencon in the past, History of Alencon

The city of Alencon was probably founded in the fourth century by Alan soldiers. The name is first seen in a document dated in the seventh century. During the tenth century, Alencon was a buffer state between Normandy and the Maine regions. In 1049-1051, William Duke of Normandy, later known as William the Conqueror and king of England, laid siege to the town, which had risen in support of the Count of Anjou along with two other towns of the Belleme estates, Domfront (then in Maine) and Belleme (held directly from King Henry I of France). According to Duke Williams chaplain and panegyrist, William of Poitiers, the citizens insulted William by hanging animal skins from the walls, in reference to his ancestry as the illegitimate son of Duke Robert and a tanners daughter. On capturing the town, William had a number of the citizens hands and feet cut off in revenge. Alencon was occupied by the English during the Anglo-Norman wars of 1113 to 1203.

Alencon in the past, History of Alencon

The city became the seat of a dukedom in 1415, belonging to the sons of the King of France until the French Revolution, and some of them played important roles in French history: see Duke of Alencon. The French Revolution caused relatively little disorder in this area although there were some royalist uprisings nearby.

A long-standing local fabric industry gave birth to the towns famous point dAlencon lace in the 18th century. The economic development of the nineteenth century was based on iron foundries and mills in the surrounding region. In the first half of the twentieth century the city developed a flourishing printing industry.

Alencon was home to Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin and Louis Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux. They were the first spouses in the history of the Catholic Church to be proposed for sainthood as a couple, in 2008. Zelie and Louis were married at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Alencon on 12 July 1858 and spent their whole married life in Alencon, where Therese was born in January 1873 and spent her early childhood until the death of her mother in 1877. [1]

On 17 June 1940 the German Army took occupation of Alencon. On 12 August 1944 Alencon was the first French city to be liberated by the French Army under General Leclerc, after minor bomb damage.

After the war the population sharply increased and new industries settled. Many of these were related to plastics and the town is now a major plastics educational centre.


In the seventeenth century Alencon was chiefly noted for its lace called point dAlencon.


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