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Town hall

Coat of arms

Lisieux is located in France
Coordinates: 49°09′N 0°14′E / 49.15, 0.23Coordinates: 49°09′N 0°14′E / 49.15, 0.23
Country France
Region Normandy
Department Calvados
Arrondissement Lisieux
Canton Lisieux-1, Lisieux-2, and Lisieux-3
Intercommunality Lisieux Pays d'Auge
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Bernard Aubril
Area1 13.07 km2 (5.05 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 22,109
 • Density 1,700/km2 (4,400/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 14366 / 14100
Elevation 32–152 m (105–499 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Lisieux (French pronunciation: [li.zjø]) is a commune in the Calvados department in the Basse-Normandie region in northwestern France. It is the capital of the Pays d'Auge area, which is characterised by valleys and hedged farmland.

Geography[edit | edit source]

Lisieux is situated on the confluence of the river Touques and many of its tributaries: the rivers Orbiquet, Cirieux and Graindain.

The town is in the heart of the Pays d'Auge, of which it is the capital. Lisieux is therefore surrounded by Normandy's typical hedged farmland, where there is a mix of livestock farming (mostly milk cows) and cider apple cultivation (from which cider and calvados are made, not forgetting pommeau).

Climate[edit | edit source]

Lisieux has a temperate oceanic humid climate.

Town Sunshine Rain Snow Storms Fog
Paris 1,797 h/year 642mm/year 15 d/year 19 d/year 13 d/year
Nice 2,694 h/year 767mm/year 1 d/year 31 d/year 1 d/year
Strasbourg 1,637 h/year 610mm/year 30 d/year 29 d/year 65 d/year
Lisieux[1] 1,764 h/year 711mm/year 14 d/year 17 d/year 54 d/year
National average 1,973 h/year 770mm/year 14 d/year 22 d/year 40 d/year

The table below shows the temperatures and precipitation for the year 2007 (provided by the Caen-Carpiquet weather station:[2]

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average max. temperature (°C) 10.1 11.1 11.8 17 17.3 20.1 21.3 21 19.3 15.3 11.5 7.9
Average min. temperature (°C) 4.7 5.5 3.5 6.3 9.4 11.5 12.9 12.6 10.3 7.3 5.2 1.9
Average temperature (°C) 7.4 8.3 7.6 11.6 13.3 15.8 17.1 16.8 14.8 11.3 8.3 4.9
Precipitation (average height in mm) 45 83 90 23 91 83 135 49 56 39 44 81

The table below shows the record minimum and maximum temperatures:[3]

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Max. recorded temp. (°C) 16.1 20.8 24.4 26.4 30.4 34.1 36.6 38.9 33.5 27.6 19.9 17.2
Year of max. temp. 1993 1960 1946 1984 1953 2001 1952 2003 1961 1985 1982 1989
Min. recorded temp.(°C) −19.6 −16.5 −7.4 −5.7 −0.8 1 4.7 4 1.8 −3.7 −6.8 −11
Year of min. temp. 1985 1956 1965 1978 1955 1962 1962 1974 1948 1997 1989 1948

Transport[edit | edit source]

Lisieux railway station

The town of Lisieux is served by a bus network called Lexobus, with 6 routes. The town is also linked to surrounding towns and villages by a network of buses; Bus Verts du Calvados. There is a railway station in Lisieux, which is the connecting station between the Paris-Cherbourg and Paris-Trouville/Deauville main lines, served by Corail Intercités Normandie trains. The station is also accessible by the Transport express régional (regional express) trains on the Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie routes. The railway station appeared in the film Un singe en hiver by Henri Verneuil.

To reach the town by car, the D613 (formerly route nationale 13) from Paris to Cherbourg crosses the town from east to west. The second main road of Lisieux is the D579, leading to Deauville to the north and the department of Orne to the south. Lisieux benefits from a bypass, built in the 1990s, running to the south of the town, easing traffic in the town-centre, particularly on boulevard Sainte-Anne.

History[edit | edit source]

Toponymy[edit | edit source]

The name of the town comes from the Gallic tribe which inhabited the region: the Lexovii during Gallo-Roman times. This explains why inhabitants are known as Lexoviens today. The commune was known as Noviomagus (Celtic novio, "new", and magos, "market") or Noviomagus Lexoviorum by the Romans.

Antiquity[edit | edit source]

Lisieux is the former capital of the Lexovii. In his work, Commentaries on the Gallic War, Caesar mentions a Gallic oppidum, a term which refers to Celtic towns located on the tops of hills. The oppidum has been pinpointed to a place referred to as le Castellier,[4] located 3 km to the south-west of the town. However the Gallo-Roman city was in fact located where Lisieux is to be found today.

Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

Lisieux was an important center of power in medieval times. The bishopric of Lisieux controlled most of the Pays d'Auge by the 12th century. King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine are thought to have married at Lisieux in 1152, and the town remained powerful for several centuries afterwards until in the 14th century the triple scourges of the Plague, war and resulting famine devastated Lisieux and reduced its influence. The main judge of Joan of Arc, Pierre Cauchon, became a bishop of Lisieux after her death and is buried in the Lady Chapel of the cathedral.

Events[edit | edit source]

Lisieux during the Second World War

  • 4th century: Presence of the Germanic laeti, auxiliaries of the Roman Army, who settled in Lisieux with their families. Their graves have been discovered in the “Michelet” necropolis, some of which contain artefacts typical of northern Germania.
  • 1432: Pierre Cauchon, the supreme judge during the trial of Joan of Arc at Rouen became the bishop of Lisieux. He commissioned the building of the side chapel of the cathedral, in which he is now buried.
  • 1590: During the Eighth War of Religion, Henri IV had to fight to win back his kingdom. When he arrived at Lisieux he took the town without force, after the garrison had fled the town.
  • 1907: The first helicopter flight, piloted by Paul Cornu.
  • 1897: Sister Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, later to become "St. Therese of Lisieux," died in the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux.
  • 1925: Sister Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face was canonized.
  • 1937: Monseigneur Eugenio Pacelli, papal legate and future Pope Pius XII, visited Lisieux.
  • 6/7 June 1944: The Allied bombardment killed 800 victims and destroyed two thirds of the town.
  • 23 August 1944: Liberation by the Allied troops.
  • 1960: Lisieux merged with the Saint-Jacques commune.
  • 2 June 1980: Pope Jean-Paul II visited Lisieux.

Religion[edit | edit source]

Since the Middle Ages Lisieux has been the seat of one of the seven Roman Catholic dioceses of Normandy under the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical province of Rouen. The bishopric was abolished in 1801 before being recreated and merged with that of Bayeux in 1855, under the new name of "Bayeux and Lisieux".

The most well known of the Bishops of Lisieux is probably Pierre Cauchon who had a decisive influence during the trial of Joan of Arc.

Devotion to Sainte-Thérèse who lived in the nearby Carmelite convent has made Lisieux France's second most important site of pilgrimage, after the Pyrenean town of Lourdes.

Administration[edit | edit source]

Les maires de Lisieux[edit | edit source]

List of everyone who has held the position of Mayor of Lisieux:[5]

March 2001 incumbent Bernard Aubril UMP Teacher
1989 2001 Yvette Roudy PS
1977 1989 André-Eugène Baugé
1953 1977 Robert Bisson
1945 1953 André Carles
1945 Casimir Hue
1936 1945 Albert Degrenne
1932 1936 Henry Chéron Lawyer
1909 1932 Arthur Lesigne
1908 1909 Joseph Guillonneau
1894 1908 Henry Chéron Lawyer
1881 1894 Théodule Peulevey Industrialist
1878 1881 Louis Michel
1875 1878 Léopold Frauque
1871 1875 Jules Prat
1853 1871 François Fauque
1848 1853 Victor Godefroy
1847 1848 Jean-Lambert Fournet Industrialist
1842 1847 Adrien-Benjamin Formeville
1832 1842 François-Pierre Leroy-Beaulieu
1816 1832 Joseph-François de Bellemare
1813 1816 Jean-Jacques Nasse
1808 1813 Louis-Jacques-Hippolyte Thillaye du Boullay
1798 1808 Jean-Jacques Nasse
1797 Guillaume-François Riquier
1796 Pierre Lerebours
1795 Jean-Baptiste Vergé
1795 Michel Bloche
1794 Jean Coessin
1793 Louis-Jean-René Prieur
1792 Michel Bloche
1791 Thomas Gannel
1790 François-Pierre Leroy-Beaulieu

International relations[edit | edit source]

Lisieux is twinned with:

Population[edit | edit source]

Lisieux is set to once again become Calvados' second largest town in terms of population. Its metropolitan area of 45,065 inhabitants is also the second largest of the department.

The inhabitants of Lisieux are known as Lexoviens.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1793 10,118
1800 10,171 +0.5%
1806 10,937 +7.5%
1821 10,403 −4.9%
1831 10,257 −1.4%
1836 11,473 +11.9%
1841 11,378 −0.8%
1846 11,968 +5.2%
1851 11,754 −1.8%
1856 12,993 +10.5%
1861 13,121 +1.0%
1866 12,617 −3.8%
1872 18,341 +45.4%
1876 18,396 +0.3%
1881 16,039 −12.8%
1886 16,267 +1.4%
1891 16,260 −0.0%
1896 16,349 +0.5%
1901 16,084 −1.6%
1906 16,239 +1.0%
1911 15,948 −1.8%
1921 15,341 −3.8%
1926 15,192 −1.0%
1931 15,362 +1.1%
1936 16,032 +4.4%
1946 12,746 −20.5%
1954 15,342 +20.4%
1962 21,156 +37.9%
1968 23,830 +12.6%
1975 25,521 +7.1%
1982 24,940 −2.3%
1990 23,703 −5.0%
1999 23,166 −2.3%
2008 22,109 −4.6%

Sights[edit | edit source]

About 60 percent of the town was destroyed in 1944, so few of the monuments have been preserved.

Basilica of Sainte-Thérèse de Lisieux[edit | edit source]

The Basilica of Sainte-Thérèse de Lisieux was constructed in honour of Sainte-Thérèse de Lisieux, who was beatified in 1923 and canonized in 1925. It was built for pilgrims who came in increasing numbers to venerate the new saint in the town where she had lived and died.

Château de Saint-Germain-de-Livet[edit | edit source]

As its name indicates, the Château de Saint-Germain-de-Livet is situated in the commune of Saint-Germain-de-Livet. It is to be found opposite the village church which dates from the 19th century. The château has been owned by the town of Lisieux since 1958 when it was donated by the Riesener family.

From an architectural point of view the château comprises a half-timbered manor dating from the 15th century and a glazed brick and stone building from the Pré-d'Auge dating from the end of the 16th century.

The chateau combines medieval and Renaissance elements and is surrounded by a moat and a peacock garden.

Saint-Pierre Cathedral[edit | edit source]

Lisieux’s Saint-Pierre Cathedral is a rare monument which survived the 1944 allied bombardment. Even though the cathedral has been around since the 6th century, the church we see today must have been constructed between 1160 and 1230 by Bishop Arnoul.

From the outset, the architect designed quadripartite rib vaults and flying buttresses, making it one of Normandy’s first gothic buildings. The nave is fairly austere and is inspired by the Gothic style of the Île de France whereas the most recent parts of the building were constructed in the 18th century (the chevet, the lantern tower and the western façade) in Norman style.

It is wrongly claimed that Henry Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy and future king of England, married Eleanor of Aquitaine at the cathedral in 1152. Having been involved in the trial of Joan of Arc, Pierre Cauchon was in fact named as Bishop of Lisieux in 1432 and is buried there.

Town Hall[edit | edit source]

The town hall (18th century) was formerly a private residence.

Personalities[edit | edit source]


Photo gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ These figures, cited on the French wikipedia page for Lisieux, are drawn from the Internet site for the nearby town of Caen Caen and from France's National Meteorology site in French).
  2. ^ Meteo France (in French)
  3. ^ Meteo France and (both in French)
  4. ^ François Neveux, Bayeux et Lisieux, villes épiscopales de Normandie à la fin du Moyen Age (Éditions Lys, 1996)
  5. ^ Hôtel de ville : Lisieux. Lisieux : Mairie de Lisieux, 2007, d'après A.-J.L. Dingremont, Du corps municipal de Lisieux. Lisieux, J.J. Pigeon, 1849.

External links[edit | edit source]

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