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Calvados (Department, France)

Last modified: 2017-08-12 by ivan sache
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Flag of the General Council of Calvados - Image by Ivan Sache, 25 September 2009


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Administrative data

Code: 14
Region: Normandie (Basse-Normandie until 2014)
Traditional provinces: Normandy
Bordering departments: Eure, Manche, Orne

Area: 5,548 km2
Population (2006): 671,351 inhabitants

Préfecture: Caen
Sous-préfectures: Bayeux, Lisieux, Vire
Subdivisions: 4 arrondissements, 49 cantons, 705 communes.

Ivan Sache, 11 November 2009


Flag of the General Council

The flag of the General Council of Calvados is white with the logo of the General Council in the middle. The flag can be seen for instance during events sponsored by the General Council.

The logo of the General Council of Calvados is made of two approximate square fields placed side by side, on the left a green square with a white apple, on the right a blue square with two white waves. "Conseil Général" is written above the logo, "Calvados" below it, in blue letters.
The department has a nearly rectangular shape, which might have been reproduced on the logo.

The green square with the apple symbolizes the agricultural tradition of the department, and more generally of Normandy, which is often represented by pastures planted with apple trees. Apples are used to produce cider, calvados and pommeau. Cider has been produced in Normandy since the Middle Ages. One metric ton of cider apples can yield 650 to 750 liters of cider, classified as doux (sweet) when below 3° or brut (raw) when between 4 and 5°. Traditional cider (more than 5°) is a farm production. In the past, cider presses had circular millstones made of wood or granite and were powered by a horse. Distilation of cider gives calvados. The oldest mention of calvados distilling dates back to the 15th century. There are now two protected brands of calvados called calvados and calvados du pays d'Auge, respectively. Since the 16th century, apple juice was preserved in calvados. That mixture (16-18°) is now a protected brand called pommeau. Calvados was traditionnally used in the trou normand (Normand hole). This "hole" is a break made in a long meal, during which a small glass of calvados is drunk bottoms up. The "hole" is expected to stimulate the appetite for the rest of the meal. The famous gastronom Curnonsky said the "the trou normand speeds up the digestion of the first part of the meal and allows to start its second part with greater style". More and more often, the trou normand is now made of an apple sorbet washed down with calvados.

The blue square with the waves symbolizes the coast of the department, known as Côte de Nacre (east) and Côte Fleurie (west). At the end of the 19th century, sea resorts were built on that coast, the most famous of them being Deauville and Cabourg. These resorts were not far from Paris and attracted the upper society of the Belle Epoque. The writer Marcel Proust described Cabourg (as Balbec) in À la recherche du temps perdu (especially in À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleur and Sodome et Gomorrhe II). The book was based on his personal experience as a tourist in the Grand Hôtel in Cabourg, where his room can still be rented - and visited when not rented.
In June 1944, the peaceful beaches of the Côte de Nacre received code names of Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword Beach (from west to east) and were the place of the Allied landing (along with Utah Beach, located in the department of Manche). Collectively known as Plages du Débarquement (Landing Beaches), these beaches are one of the most visited places in France.

Ivan Sache, 2 November 2002


Communauté de communes de Trévières

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Flag of the Communauté de communes de Trévières - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 14 June 2017

The Communauté de communes de Trévières (25 municipalities; 7,327 inhabitants in 2013, 17,296 ha) was created in 1999. It was seated in Formigny (part since 2017 of the new municipality of Formigny-la-Bataille, including the former municipalities of Aignerville, Écrammeville and Louvières).
In January 2017, the Communauté de communes de Trévières merged with Intercom Balleroy Le Molay-Littry and Isigny Grandcamp Intercom to forem Isigny-Omaha Intercom.

Omaha Beach spreads on the municipal territory of Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer Vierville-sur-Mer, once members of the Communauté de communes de Trévières. Omaha Beach was the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. The 16th Regiment of the 1st US Infantry Division and the 116th Regiment of the 29th US Infantry Division were designated to attack this beach. These military formations were under the command of Major General Leonard T. Gerow, commander of the 5th US Army Corps, and General Omar N. Bradley, commander of the 1st US Army. Between 2,000 and 4,700 were killed, wounded, or missing.
The tourist office of Omaha Beach is located in the former municipality of Formigny, which flew the flag of the Communauté de communes de Trévières, white with the logo (photo).

Olivier Touzeau, 14 June 2017