Falaise is a town (population 9,000) on the Ante River in the French region of Lower Normandy, south of the regional center Caen. It is famous as the birthplace of William the Conqueror and as the scene of remarkably fierce fighting in August 1944 during the Battle of Normandy, after the D-Day landings on the coast north of Caen.


In August 1944, two German armies were encircled in the Falaise pocket and mostly destroyed by the Allies, though they fought hard to escape via the "Falaise gap" to the east. 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 eventually taken by Canadian and Polish troops. Falaise was largely restored after the war.

Get in

By road

From Paris, Falaise is a 262 km (3 h) drive west of the French capital by the A13, then south from Caen.

Located in the southern reaches of Normandy, Falaise represents half a day's excursion from the other major towns of Normandy:



Go next

Having visited Falaise, you might like an excursion to other places that were important in the life of William the Conqueror. Caen and Bayeux lie less than 1 h to the north of the city.

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