Encompassing the north-western departments of Calvados, Manche and Orne is the administrative region of Frace, Basse- Normandie (Lower Normandy). This region was created when the Normandy region was split into Upper and Lower Normandy in 1956.
The region stands out from a historical point of view because it is the birthplace of William I also known as the Conqueror, also its coast was where several landings were done by the Allied troops in 1944, during the Normandy Invasion. These have ultimately greatly contributed to the liberation of occupied France during the World War II. Lower Normandy suffered significant damage during the War, especially its villages and towns were damaged greatly.
The region still has a strong rural character although not many are still working in agriculture. Western lands of the region are used as a permanent pasture or forage crops are cultivated there because the most dominating is the animal husbandry. For example, Perche and Auge are one of the major producers of beef and also Camembert cheese is largely produced in Orne. Other types of cheese are produced in Livarot and Pont. Horses are also raised in both Orne and Calvados in a large number. The farm are mainly small ones and those which are bigger are used to farm cereal and grow apple that’s later used for cider and cider brandy. On the northern side of Mache the farms that are there grow vegetables and near the coast oyster farming takes place along with fishing.
Over in the late 50’s, metallurgical industries and traditional textile have declined, and because Basse-Normandie gained from the effect of decentralisation of firms based in Paris, it led to the growth of industries such as the electronics, electrical and mechanical engineering.
Other industrial activities that have grown are shipbuilding and repair, commercial vehicles and automobile manufacturing along with beverage and food processing. They even touched the topic of nuclear waste processing.
The Basse-Normandie’s main administrative and business centre is located at Caen, and around it is where the concentration o industry related activities take place.
Basse-Normandie is also well-known for its costal resorts areas that frequently attract tourists from all over the place. Some of these are the Deauville, the Granville, the Trouville and Mont-Saint-Michael that has an abbey that is situated high above the sea and which has Gothic style architecture.
Normandy had its own regional language called Norman and it is still in use to this day in Lower Normandy. Even dialects have formed, such as the one in Contenin which stands out the most among all others. Nevertheless French is still spoken and you can get around just fine if you know it.
For those who love to read Basse-Normandie has had its fair share of great authors that were born there, such as Marcel Proust, Guy de Maupassant and Jules Barbey d’Auverilly. And many important Norman-language authors attached to Basse-Normandie in a special way, such as Cotis -Capel, Alfred Rossel and even Louis Beuve.
The region also has several famous people in various cultural fields, such as the Jean-Francois in visual arts and the composer Erik Satie for music.
Basse-Normandie hosts several renowned events such as the Deauville American Film Festival and the Deauville Asian Film Festival.
If you want to move to Lower Normandy, no matter where you go you will be able to fully enjoy picturesque landscapes and buildings together with the rich culture and history. If you’re undecided about how to go about moving to Basse-Normandie let us help you.
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Photographer: Sandra Lopes Martins