—  Department  —

Coat of arms
Location of Manche in France
Coordinates: 49°03′N 01°15′E / 49.05°N 1.25°E / 49.05; 1.25Coordinates: 49°03′N 01°15′E / 49.05°N 1.25°E / 49.05; 1.25
Country France
Region Basse-Normandie
Prefecture Saint-Lô
Subprefectures Avranches
 - President of the General Council Jean-François Le Grand
 - Total 5,938 km2 (2,292.7 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 - Total 495,153
 - Rank 52nd
 - Density 83.4/km2 (216/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 50
Arrondissements 4
Cantons 52
Communes 602
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Manche is a French department in Normandy named after La Manche ("the sleeve"), which is the French name for the English Channel.



Manche is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from part of the province of Normandie.

The first capital was Coutances until 1796, and it resumed that role after World War II because of the almost complete destruction of Saint-Lô during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. When Saint-Lô was rebuilt, it again became the capital.


The Department includes the Cotentin Peninsula down to the famous Mont St Michel; though not the off-shore Îles Anglo-Normandes, which are British Crown Dependencies. These islands are a wonderful example of when Normandy invaded England and vice-versa, and oaths of allegiance to new kings got mixed up. Other reefs and not quite islands such as the Minquiers are technically British, though they are annually contested in good fun by French and Channel Island fishermen. The coast is fantastic for sailing and boating though the unusually fast tidal races require a certain yachting skill to navigate safely.

The region is lush and green with amazing sandy beaches, remaining very rural and farming orientated. The peninsula was originally joined as a single land mass to Cornwall and Dorset in England, so the countrysides are very similar. Flat marsh areas as Marais are common and great for wildlife and bird watching. Walking, cycling, and horse riding are possible on local trails from most towns, opening up some of Europe's most beautiful scenery. A wonderful canal tow path, river Vire, and disused railway line walk from the north coast past St. Lo to Mont St Michel, is another way to take in the countryside stopping off as you go in nearby towns.

The region and around St Lo is the horse capital of France, where the cooler climate compared to the south is ideal for breeding and training. The national Haras stud at St Lo is worth a visit as it reflects the history of people working successfully with horses on their local land.

France's first EPR reactor is near completion at Cherbourg and the TGV fast trains are planned for Paris to Caen and Cherbourg for 2020. The current train service is reasonable at 2 1/2 hours on a through train. Its hard to imagine now the World War II landings and the sheer scale of destruction that was done to the area, an area chosen then for its geography and wide coastal sandy beaches.


The climate is oceanic, with relatively mild winters temperatures can drop to -10°C for a few days occasionally. Temperate summers, around 25°C, can occasionally reach 40°C in direct sun light. Precipitation is substantial, and varies greatly by region, between 700mm on the coast and 1300mm in the southern central area. Highly localised, not life threatening flash flooding has been experienced over the last few years in the spring period.

The west coast benefits from the Gulf stream's influence, allowing the naturalization of many mediterranean and exotic plants (mimosas, palms, agaves...).

There is often a sea breeze on the coast, which combined with tides contributes to quick temperature changes over a single day. Sea temperatures can be very pleasant for swimming between July and October.


Inhabitants of the department are called Manchots or Manchois.


  • Football : main clubs : AS Cherbourg, US Avranches, Saint-Lô, Granville, Villedieu, UST Équeurdreville-Hainneville...
  • Cycling : the Tour de France has visited the department 21 times with stages ending at : Cherbourg (16), Avranches(2), Granville(1), Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët(1) and the Mont Saint-Michel(1).
  • Sailing: the Solitaire du Figaro has come to Cherbourg several times.
  • Thai boxing : Villedieu-les-Poêles
  • Badminton : Two local clubs compete in the national championship (N3): St Hilaire du Harcouet and Hainneville.
  • Golf: course: Granville, Bréhal, Coutainville, Cherbourg, Centre Manche, Fontenay, Côte des Isles

See also

Basse-Normandie flag.svg Normandy portal

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • MANCHE — La Manche est une mer épicontinentale et intracontinentale, qui forme un couloir entre le sud de la Grande Bretagne et la France du Nord Ouest. Sa profondeur ne dépasse généralement pas cent mètres, et se tient le plus souvent entre trente et… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • manche — 1. (man ch ) s. m. 1°   Partie d un instrument par où on le prend pour s en servir. •   L homme enfin la prie humblement [la forêt] De lui laisser tout doucement Emporter une unique branche, Afin de faire un autre manche, LA FONT. Fabl. XII, 16.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Manche — Region Basse Normandie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • manche — Manche, penac. Ores est masculin, et signifie la partie et endroit de l outil, par où lon l empoigne pour en oeuvrer, Manubrium capulus, Et vient de ces deux mots Latins, Manus et Capio, comme si vous disiez Manucapium, que l Italien de deux mots …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Manche — Manche, n. [Also {maunch}.] [F. manche, fr. L. manica. See {Manacle}.] A sleeve. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • manche — [Basiswortschatz (Rating 1 1500)] Auch: • etwas • einige • ein paar • (irgend)ein(e) • irgendwelche Bsp.: • …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • Manche — Manche, La →↑La Manche …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Manche — Manche, La (spr. Mangsch), 1) im Französischen der Frankreich von England trennende Kanal, s.d.; 2) ein darnach benanntes französisches Departement, Theil der ehemaligen Normandie (Cotatin u. Avranchin), an den Kanal, Calvados, Orne, Mayenne u.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Manche — (spr. māngsch ), Departement an der Nordwestküste von Frankreich, ist aus dem westlichen Teil der ehemaligen Niedernormandie gebildet und umfaßt die beiden Landschaften Avranchin (im S.) und Cotentin (im N.). Es hat 6411 qkm (116,4 QM.)… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Manche, La — (spr. māngsch , »Ärmel«), franz. Bezeichnung des Kanals (s. d., S. 535) zwischen Frankreich und England …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Manche — Manche, La (spr. mangsch), der Meeresarm zwischen Frankreich und England (s. Kanal). Danach benannt das franz. Dep. La M. im nordwestl. Frankreich, 6412 qkm, (1901) 491.372 E.; Hauptstadt Saint Lô …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon