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Thury-Harcourt 01.jpg
Coat of arms of Thury-Harcourt
Coat of arms
Thury-Harcourt is located in France
Coordinates: 48°59′02″N 0°28′23″W / 48.984°N 0.4730°W / 48.984; -0.4730Coordinates: 48°59′02″N 0°28′23″W / 48.984°N 0.4730°W / 48.984; -0.4730
Country France
Region Lower Normandy
Department Calvados
Arrondissement Caen
Canton Thury-Harcourt
Intercommunality Suisse Normande
 • Mayor (2008-2014) Paul Chandelier
Area1 4.90 km2 (1.89 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 1,914
 • Density 390/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 14689 / 14220
Elevation 18–156 m (59–512 ft)
(avg. 100 m or 330 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.

Thury-Harcourt is a French commune in the Calvados department in the Basse-Normandie region in northwestern France.

Situated in the Orne valley, its surroundings are much like Clécy, but the Rock of Oëtre contrasts with the plateau of Caen to the north.

This part of Norman Switzerland, with its hilly terrain, attracts visitors for various sports and outdoor activities.


The town is 24 kilometres (15 mi) south of Caen, in the Orne valley.


The original name is Thury, but the Marquis of Thury received a benefice from Henry d'Harcourt under the name of the Duke of Harcourt in 1709, requiring a change of name. The town shrank by 75% in the Battle of Normandy, in July 1944.


Town hall
The Orne valley takes an oxbow curve near Thury-Harcourt

The mayor and his deputies were re-elected by the council on 14 March 2008.[1]

The roles of the officers are in parentheses

  • Mayor : Paul Chandelier.
  • First deputy : Pierre Morel (finance and general administration)
  • Second deputy : Daniel Gandon (Social services and education )
  • Third deuputy : Guy Bizet (heritage, roads, resources)
  • Fourth deputy : Michel Durand (town planning, environnement, safety),
  • Fifth deputy: Gérard Géhanne (associations and communication).

The council has 19 members.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1962 1,191 —    
1968 1,190 −0.1%
1975 1,363 +14.5%
1982 1,586 +16.4%
1990 1,803 +13.7%
1999 1,825 +1.2%
2008 1,914 +4.9%


Frontage of the Château of Thury-Harcourt
Saint Sauveur Church
  • The park and gardens of the Château of the Dukes of Harcourt were constructed in 1635 by Odet d'Harcourt and expanded upon in 1714 and 1723.

In the battles of the Second World War, after the Normandy landings the town was bombed for the first time on 30 June 1944; the château escaped damage. It was during fierce fighting against the British 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division on 13–4 August 1944 that the German forces retreated from the town and set fire to the chateau, which had suffered little damage up to that point. The fire destroyed many public archives, a library of nearly 15,000 volumes, and hundreds of family records.

  • Roman Catholic church of Saint Sauveur, 12th century, in the middle of the town. It was bombed in the summer of 1944, and only the nave remained. It has now been restored to what it was before the war.

Thury-Harcourt railway station was destroyed by air strikes in 1944 and reconstructed in the 1950s. The passenger line opened in 1873 and was closed in 1971. Freight service stopped in 1983. A tourist train from Louvigny (close to Caen) to Clécy operated from 1991 to 1994.

  • The village of Saint-Benin merged with Thury-Harcourt in 1858. Its Roman Catholic church is from the 16th century. The choir's ogival is in good condition, but the nave was lost in a fire in the 19th century. The church is constructed from limestone and mortar. The roof is made of bâtière and is supported with cross gables. The belltower is supported by four 13th century buttresses, decorated with gargoyles bearing human faces.


Statue of Paul Heroult
  • Pierre Gringore, the poet laureate of Louis XII, was born here.
  • In 1863 Paul Héroult, invented the extraction of aluminium by elecrometallurgy. He also invented the electric oven in 1900.
  • Jean Lesueur (1598–1668), priest of the parish, accompanied many local families in their migration to Canada. He became the first secular priest in New France (now Quebec).
  • Jean Baptiste Legardeur de Repentigny, born at Thury-Harcourt about 1632, first lady of Québec.
  • Raoul Tesson, (1150–1213) Vicomte de Saint Sauveur, Seigneur de Thury et de la Roche Tesson, Sénéchal de Normandie.
  • Maurice Delaunay (1901–1995), politician, leader of Calvados 1936-1940.


In the sixteenth century many families emigrated to Canada, taking with them the curate and abbot of the parish, (Lesueur). He founded the parish Saint-Sauveur, Quebec. Pierre Legardeur got general control of Nouvelle-France and gave his name to the towns of Le Gardeur and Repentigny in Quebec.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ouest-France", 19316 (in French), édition Pays d'Auge Vire Falaise, 18 March 2008