Falaise travel guide

Cities and towns

About Falaise

Falaise in Normandy has a rich history as the birthplace of William the Conqueror and the battlefield of Falaise Pocket during WW2, and is surrounded by beautiful, peaceful countryside.

Born at  Falaise château in 1027, William the Conqueror, the first Norman king of England, would have known the castle in its previous motte and bailey incarnation before the stone château of today that was built during the 12th and 13th centuries. The seat of the Dukes of Normandy, and one of the oldest stone fortresses in Normandy, it has lately undergone extensive restoration work and now has several interactive exhibits and activities. An impressive bronze statue of WIlliam stands in front of the town hall. Falaise's other historical interest comes from the decisive battle for the Falaise Pocket during Operation Overlord in 1944. A strong Allied victory over the German army, Montgomery famously called it the 'beginning of the end of the war'. Today, there is a memorial on the site of the battlefield, the Memorial of Montmortel, dedicated to the military and civilian lives lost in the battle.

The town has several pretty churches with abbeys in the surrounding countryside. St Vigor chapel is just a few minutes drive away, a 15th century chapel that has been turned into a contemporary art masterpiece by Japanese artist, Takubo. Art has also found its way into Falaise through painter Andre Lemaitre, who has 90 of his works on display in the Andre Lemaitre museum in the town. Many of his paintings are of the stunning Normandy countryside between Falaise and Honfleur. More quirky, the Automates Avenue is a museum of a Parisian street whose windows are filled with 300 automatons in animated scenes, creating a fairytale atmosphere.

Take time out to explore the wonderful countryside around Falaise that is perfect for walking and mountain biking. Visit le Breche au Diable where Paleolithic archaeological discoveries have been found and go to the top of Mont Joly where the tomb of famed 18th century actress, Marie Joly, lies. There are also some great climbing opportunities in the mountains overlooking the château. Kids will love visiting the nearby adventure parks, and why not try your hand at some river sports on the river Orne? Canoeing, kayaking, pedalos, rowing boats and more are a great way to discover more of the area by river. If you prefer your watersports in a more predictable environment, Falaise has a brilliant aquatic centre where you can take part in aquasports such as aquabiking, aquaboxing and aquagym, and enjoy a variety of swimming environments. Relax afterwards in the jacuzzi, sauna or hammam or enjoy a post-workout massage.

Norman cusine is rich and tasty with lots of creamy and cheesy dishes, and desserts made with apples, all washed down with cidre, the local cider brewed from apples grown in Normandy's orchards. In Falaise you can sample some of these delicious dishes in a beautiful historic town.

Why visit Falaise? 

  • Falaise Château
  • Memorial of Montmortel
  • Beautiful Countryside
  • Aquatic Centre

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Normandy
  • Province: Calvados
  • Population: 8,500
  • Coordinates: 48.893637,-0.20196

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

The Mémorial des Civils dans la Guerre, the Memorial of Civilians in Wartime, is a unique new museum looking at the lives of civilians in France under the German Occupation, during the Allied Liberation and in the aftermath of...

Falaise, the birthplace of William the Conqueror, is proud of its medieval castle surrounded by imposing walls. Two out of its three towers are typical of the Anglo-Norman style and the third, known as the Talbot Tower, was...

This château houses a fascinating museum with a collection of 800 miniature items of furniture & antiquities. History is brought to life by a series of moving models including a talking 'cook' in the kitchen.

This wonderful, highly detailed model railway opened in 1969 and appeals to all ages. New additions are the lime kiln tour and for children the inflatable 'bouncy' train. There are 15 trains running through various landscapes...

Places to visit nearby

Caen, in Normandy, is one of the oldest university towns in France. Bustling with activity, it is a vibrant and attractive city on the River Orne.

Lisieux in Normandy sits at the heart of the beautiful Pays d'Auge countryside and is the second most visited pilgrimage site in France.

Deauville in Normandy is a glamorous town on the Côte Fleurie ('flowery coast'), famous for horse racing and its international cultural festivals.

Nearby events

Horse Racing in Cabourg

Photo finish.Whether it's trotting, jumping or flat races, the goal for horse and rider (or driver...

La Frappadingue, assault course

Beyond your limits.Do you want to to push yourself out of your comfort zone? well, here's a golden...

Book Fair

The joy of a good book.Come and discover the new edition of the Cabourg Book Fair. This season's...