|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Daniel Caruhel|
|• Land1||9.9 km2 (3.8 sq mi)|
|• Population2 Density||1,300/km2 (3,300/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||50218 / 50400|
|Elevation||0–67 m (0–220 ft)
(avg. 37 m or 121 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The residents are called Granvillais.
Administratively, the island of Chausey is part of the commune of Granville, which includes a small harbour.
Harbour and Sea Traffic
Despite the proximity with the Chausey islands, which is part of the commune, there are no regular passenger sea services between Granville and Chausey. There are some tourist services by private companies from Granville, and from Saint-Malo in Brittany. French and British security forces operate permanently in this very dangerous and narrow area of the Channel, which one of the busiest sealanes in the world.
There are some sea services to England and to the Channel Islands, however, this traffic is relatively light from Granville, as Saint-Malo and Cherbourg offer better facilities for passenger and cargo traffic.
This part of the Channel is known for its many rocks off the coast, not always visible above sea level, and for the dangerous flows caused by tides. The bay of Mont Saint-Michel experiences one of the greatest tidal ranges in the world, and this causes strong currents that generate dangerous flows into the international sea routes, adding to the normal tidal flow that goes along the Channel. The area also often experiences fog as well as easterly winds which can create dangerous storms during autumn and winter.
The waters off Granville are regularly affected by pollution caused by modern shipwrecks, or by illegal fuel tank discharges into the sea. There is now an international agreement between France and the UK, as well as other European countries bordering the Channel, to severely punish ship-owners when such pollution can be proven. The area is constantly under surveillance by aircraft and radar operated by civil and military authorities. Granville harbour hosts a small maritime emergency rescue team.
The number of rocks and shipwrecks in the area creates an environment rich in seafood, which can be exploited from the small harbour of Granville. Fishing is dangerous in the area, and many small fishing boats have been involved in collisions with large commercial vessels such as container ships and oil supertankers.
The town was founded in 12th century and was taken several times by the English who fortified it in 1437.
In 1441, Louis XI granted a charter so that the town once again became French. During the following centuries, Granville was bombarded by the English in 1645 and 1803. Furthermore, the town resisted the attacks of the Huguenots in 1695 and Vendean in 1793.
In October 1793 a force of some 25,000 Vendéan 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. Suffering from hunger and disease, thousands died. (See Battle of Granville).
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: L'église 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.
In 1962, Saint-Nicolas-près-Granville was attached to Granville.
The arms of Granville are blazoned :
The old town preserves all the history of its military and religious past. The lower town was partly built on land reclaimed from the sea. The upper part of the old town is surrounded by ramparts from the fifteenth century. These are entered through the drawbridge (Grand'Porte), the bloody theatre of the "Siège des Vendéens" in 1793.
Inside the walls of the upper town are some beautiful houses of which several are concentrated on Rue Saint-Jean.
The ancient church of Notre-Dame du Cap Lihou (1441-1796) which dominates the heights, constitutes an imposing granite building of the Romanesque / early Gothic style. It was built by the English during the Hundred Years' War. As well as a thirteenth-century miraculous statue of Mary, visitors should note, on the eighteenth-century façade, the quatrain:
Si l'amour de Marie
Est en ton cœur gravé
En passant ne t'oublie
De lui dire un Ave.
(If the love of Mary is engraved on your heart, when passing do not forget to say Hail to her). The same verses are to be seen on the façade of Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours in Montréal.
There is a museum located in one of the gates which preserves invaluable documents enabling visitors to discover the history of the town through the centuries.
Granville also is the home of the Musée Christian Dior, which is located in the fashion designer's childhood home, Villa Les Rhumbs.
- Christophe Auguin (born 1959), sailor, winner of the 1996-1997 Vendée Globe yacht race
- Bernard Chenez (born 1946), cartoonist
- Christian Dior (1905–1957), legendary couturier
- Jacques Gamblin (born 1957), actor
- Étienne-François Letourneur (1751–1817), Director of the First French Republic
- Jacky Robert (born 1950), chef
Twin towns - Sister cities
Granville is a founding member of the Douzelage, a unique town twinning association of 24 towns across the European Union. This active town twinning began in 1991 and there are regular events, such as a produce market from each of the other countries and festivals. Discussions regarding membership are also in hand with three further towns (Agros in Cyprus, Škofja Loka in Slovenia, and Tryavna in Bulgaria).
- Altea, Spain - 1991
- Bad Kötzting, Germany - 1991
- Bellagio, Italy - 1991
- Bundoran, Ireland - 1991
- Granville, France - 1991
- Holstebro, Denmark - 1991
- Houffalize, Belgium - 1991
- Meerssen, the Netherlands - 1991
- Niederanven, Luxembourg - 1991
- Preveza, Greece - 1991
- Sesimbra, Portugal - 1991
- Sherborne, United Kingdom - 1991
- Karkkila, Finland - 1997
- Oxelösund, Sweden - 1998
- Judenburg, Austria - 1999
- Chojna, Poland - 2004
- Kőszeg, Hungary - 2004
- Sigulda, Latvia - 2004
- Sušice, Czech Republic - 2004
- Türi, Estonia - 2004
- Zvolen, Slovakia - 2007
- Prienai, Lithuania - 2008
- Marsaskala, Malta - 2009
- Siret, Romania - 2010
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Granville.|
- Granville town council website (French)
- Remnants from world war II in Granville
- Georges Vérez. sculptor of Granville War Memorial.