Place:Granville, Manche, France


Alt namesSaint-Nicolas-près-Granvillesource: Family History Library Catalog
Coordinates48.833°N 1.6°W
Located inManche, France
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Granville (; Norman: Graunville) is a commune in the Manche department and region of Normandy in north-western France. Chef-lieu of the canton of Granville and seat of the , it is a seaside resort and health resort of Mont Saint-Michel Bay at the end of the , a former cod fishing port and the first shellfish port of France. It is sometimes nicknamed "Monaco of the north" by virtue of its location on a rocky promontory.

The town was founded by a vassal of William the Conqueror, on land occupied by the Vikings, in the 11th century. The old privateer city and fortification, for the defence of Mont Saint-Michel, became a seaside resort in the 19th century which was frequented by many artists, and equipped with a golf course and a horse racing course. Home of the of industrialists, an important commune which absorbed the village of Saint-Nicolas-près-Granville in 1962, port and airport of South Manche, it has also been a Douzelage city since 1991, twinned with 20 European cities. Administratively, the islands of Chausey, which include a small harbour, are part of the commune of Granville.

The town is populated by 13,021 inhabitants, who are called Granvillais.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia


According to a legend concerning the Mont Saint-Michel Bay, Granville and the insular quarter of Chausey were covered in the , sunken in 709. Granville, in the heart of the land, would then become like Dinard and Saint-Malo a coastal town known as Roque de Lihou.

In 1066, William the Conqueror in his conquest of England, sought the help of the Grant family. As a token of recognition, he awarded the lands of Roque de Lihou. The Grants are therefore the first Lords of the town after the Vikings. In 1143, the parish of Notre-Dame was created. It is probable that monks from Mont-Saint-Michel went to the Priory on Lihou during the first half of the 12th century. In 1252, in the absence of a male descendant, Jeanne de Granville married Raoul d'Argouges, Lord of Gratot. In 1424, the criminal case of Pierre Le Maçon took place in Granville, which was then judged by the chancery of Henry VI of England in February 1425, in Paris. In 1439, the construction of the began.

On 26 October 1439, Sir Thomas de Scales, Seneschal of Normandy, and English officer of the Hundred Years' War, bought the Roque of Jean d'Argouges. On order of King Henry VI of England, in order to isolate Mont Saint-Michel, the last French bridgehead into Norman territory, he had the walls of Granville built. In 1440, the construction of the fortress began. To further protect this city, Lord Thomas de Scales had a ditch dug between the peninsula and the mainland, so that the sea and the waters of the Boscq made the peninsula an island.

However, on 8 November 1442, by ruse, took over the castle since which has remained permanently in the hands of the French. Charles VII decided to make Granville a fortified town and signed a charter in 1445 granting arms and exempting the residents of tax. From 1450, ships were fishing at Newfoundland. In 1470, Louis XI visited the town to ensure its loyalty in the conflict opposing the Bretons and Burgundians. In 1492, the Jews of Spain, expelled by the Alhambra Decree, arrived in France. A community settled in Granville, their right to trade and to lend money allowed the town to arm a large fleet.

Early modern era

In 1562, the restoration of the ramparts began and a garrison moved into the barracks. Then in 1593 the keys to the city were presented to Henry IV, marking the importance of the town to the Kingdom. Under Louis XIII, the fortifications were adapted for artillery. From the reign of Louis XIV, Granville ships also had the right to capture. Therefore, between seventy and eighty ships were armed and Granville gave fifteen admirals to France, of which the best known is Georges René Le Peley de Pléville. In 1688, Louvois razed part of the defences of the town. Louis XIV appointed the first mayor of Granville in 1692: Luc Leboucher de Gastagny. However, in 1695, during the Nine Years' War, the English bombarded the city, destroying 27 houses. Vauban then studied possible improvements to the stronghold without having the time to carry them out.

Following the attack, the ramparts were raised and increased in 1720. Then, from 1749, development work and expansion of the port was undertaken, with, in 1750, the laying of the breakwater, ever-present today. This work was completed in 1757, in the meantime, a new barracks was built. In 1763, a fire swept through the faubourgs. In 1777, a new barracks was added, the Gênes barracks still present today. On 20 July 1786, a new fire broke out, this time in the Tranchée quarter at the gates of the citadel.

On 14 November 1793, or 24 brumaire year II, was the Siege of Granville by the Vendéens during the Virée de Galerne. A force of some 25,000 Vendéen troops (followed by thousands of civilians of all ages), commanded by Henri de la Rochejaquelein, headed for the port of Granville where they expected to be greeted by a British fleet and an army of exiled French nobles. Arriving at Granville, they found the walled city surrounded by Republican forces, with no British ships in sight. Their attempts to take the city were unsuccessful. During the retreat the extended columns fell prey to Republican forces. Repulsed by the population, having lost two thousand men, they had to abandon the assault but left by burning the Rue des Juifs. On 14 September 1803, the English again bombarded the town after imposing a blockade of the coast.

From 1815, after years of military conflict, in full Restoration, Granville seemed to take a new direction. The chamber of commerce and industry was created; in 1816, the shores of the Boscq baptised Cours Jonville; in 1823, the breakwater was joined to the land, and in 1827, the first stone of the Roc Lighthouse was laid.

Granville once formed part of the diocese of Coutances, the Parliament of Rouen and the intendance of Caen. Before the French Revolution, the town had two parishes: The Church of Notre-Dame du Cap Lihou and Saint-Nicolas. This parish was an appendix of Notre-Dame until Saint-Nicolas was set up in 1829 whose territory is regarded as a commune independent of Granville.

The port obtained its current appearance after 1856 and the inauguration of the wet dock and the lock. In 1860, the first wooden casino, built by former Mayor Méquin, was inaugurated. In 1865, it was followed by the hospice of St. Peter. In 1866, Victor Chesnais composed a hymn for his town, "La Granvillaise", adapted in 1868 at the theatre.

In 1867, the town acquired its first oared lifeboat, the Saint-Thomas-et-Saint-Joseph-de-Saint-Faron. In 1869, the newspaper Le Granvillais was created, and in 1870, the and railway station were opened on 3 July. The town really became a seaside resort welcoming Parisians and guests such as Stendhal, Jules Michelet and Victor Hugo, and the parents of Maurice Denis who was born "accidentally" in Granville.

From 1875, major construction resumed, with the construction of a reservoir of , Polotsk and Solferino barracks, and of the auction market hall. The town continued to equip itself with the opening in 1884 of the municipal library, in 1886 the school group of St. Paul, in 1887 the dry dock and in 1897 a corps of firefighters. To entertain holidaymakers, the Granvillaises Regatta Society was founded in 1889, the horse racing course and the Société des Courses of Granville in 1890, and the golf course in 1912. The Montparnasse derailment was on 22 October 1895, when the Granville–Paris express train overran the buffers at Paris Montparnasse station. Finally, in 1898, the St. Paul Church was inaugurated.

The 20th century began with the burning of the Château de la Crête in 1900. In 1905, fashion designer Christian Dior was born in Granville; his childhood home is now a museum. In 1908, the town was endowed with a visitor centre. It also became a centre of communication with the opening in 1908 of the railway line and tramway of Granville to Sourdeval, passing through Avranches, and one towards Condé-sur-Vire in 1910. In 1911, the new casino was opened, with the maternity hospital and the savings bank by minister Jules Pams. In 1912, electricity was installed in the commune and the Normandy-Hôtel was inaugurated. 1914 was a dark year for Granville with the loss of four sailors in the lifeboat accident of the Admiral-Amédée-Roze and departure for the war of the soldiers of the and .

After the war, the regatta resumed in 1919, the carnival in 1920 and a son of the area, , became Minister of Commerce in the seventh government of Aristide Briand and came to visit the town in 1921. In 1925, a new railway station was inaugurated, Granville became a health resort and the Hôtel des Bains opened in 1926. In 1931, the last fishing vessel returned from Newfoundland.

World War II

A garrison and coastal town closing the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, Granville has always been coveted during armed conflicts in the area. During the Second World War, on 17 June 1940, the Germans entered Granville. On 21 September 1941, an article appeared in Le Granvillais signed by the name of "Camille", where the author was alerting readers to the dangers and lack of basis for the next laws on the status of Jews of the Vichy regime. Despite this mark of resistance, eight Granville Jews were deported to Auschwitz: Léon Bobulesco and his two sons Armand and Rodolphe, Simon Goldenberg, his wife Minka and their children Henri and Ruben, as well as Smil Weesler. Three Communists suffered the same fate: Léon Lamort, René Loncle and Charles Passot.

The whole of the population underwent the constraints of the Occupation. From the beginning, the Germans built fortifications on the Pointe du Roc and forbade access to the port. On 20 May 1942, a new municipal council was installed by the prefect. on 1 April 1943, all of the Haute-Ville had to be evacuated, barriers and anti-tank roadblocks prevented access. The Normandy Hotel was transformed into a kommandantur and a branch of the Gestapo.

A signature name of this period was Maurice Marland. Born on 12 February 1888 in Falaise, and a teacher of English, French and civics, he led a resistance network. Notable in the town, in 1939, he organised the reception of Belgian refugees and the evacuation of British soldiers. Later, with Jules Leprince, they put escape routes to Jersey in place. Throughout the occupation, his relations enabled him to mount a clandestine intelligence network on port and rail facilities and enemy operations in the Channel Islands. Arrested and then released in 1941 and 1943, he nonetheless continued until 22 July 1944, when he was arrested and shot in the forest of Lucerne at the request of collaborators. On 23 July 1994, his son Serge Marland filed a complaint for crimes against humanity, the investigation concluded that he was assassinated by German soldiers. Today, the secondary school of the commune bears his name.

On 6 June 1944, the "Green Plan" of sabotage of railway lines was implemented to cut the . Liberated without fighting on 31 July 1944, it saw the troops of General Patton pass for two days, who went down to the town centre by the Coutances road and up the Rue Couraye to get out by the Avranches road: The vibration caused by the passage of armoured cars for two days brought down the façade nameplates of several houses.

Granville was reoccupied for a few hours, during the Granville Raid of 9 March 1945, by German soldiers who had landed from Jersey. On 9 March 1945, while France was liberated and Allied troops, away, had begun to cross the Rhine, German troops based in still-occupied Jersey launched a daring commando raid against Granville. Although spotted by the radar of Coutainville, the Germans aboard light boats managed to land at night in the port of Granville. They dynamited port facilities and sank four freighters. Fifteen U.S., eight British and six French soldiers were killed, seventy German prisoners were released and five Americans and four British were captured before the German commando unit took flight.

Contemporary history

During the Algerian War, the barracks housed the 3rd Demi-brigade, and then the 21st Battalion of chasseurs on foot, from 1956 to 1961. It was a training centre for thousands of contingent recruits before leaving for Kabylie or the region of Tiaret. The commune hosted the finish of stage 1 and the start of stage 2 of the 1957 Tour de France.

In 1962, the town of Granville absorbed the commune of Saint-Nicolas-près-Granville; the latter, during the revolutionary period of the National Convention (1792–95), had borne the name Champ-Libre [Free Field]. On 4 June 1965, Granville welcomed Prime Minister Georges Pompidou.

In 1970, the Regional Nautical Centre moved to Granville and in 1975, the port was completed with a marina. In 1972, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Granville, founded in 1815, took the name CCI Granville-Saint-Lô, and which then became the in 2000. In 1973, opened a factory for the production of biscottes, in business ever since.

In the 1980s, donations by Richard Anacréon allowed the opening of the Museum of modern art, many buildings in the town were classified or registered as historical monuments. In 1982, the town was endowed of a new hospital. In 1984, the military regiments left the barracks, allowing redevelopment of the Pointe du Roc.

In 1991, the opened and the Charter of the Douzelage was signed.

At the turn of the millennium, the business incubator emerged. In 2003, the A84 autoroute joined Granville with other agglomerations.

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