|• Mayor (2008–2020)||Joaquim Pueyo|
|Area1||10.68 km2 (4.12 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,500/km2 (6,400/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||61001 / 61000|
|Elevation||127–152 m (417–499 ft)
(avg. 135 m or 443 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.
Alençon (French pronunciation: [a.lɑ̃.sɔ̃]) is a commune in Normandy, France, capital of the Orne department. It is situated 173 kilometres (107 mi) west of Paris. Alençon belongs to the intercommunality of Alençon (with 52,000 people).
The city of Alençon was probably founded in the fourth century by Alan soldiers. The name is first seen in a document dated in the seventh century. During the tenth century, Alençon was a buffer state between Normandy and the Maine regions. In 1049-1051, William Duke of Normandy, later known as William the Conqueror and king of England, laid siege to the town, which had risen in support of the Count of Anjou along with two other towns of the Bellême estates, Domfront (then in Maine) and Bellême (held directly from King Henry I of France). According to Duke William's chaplain and panegyrist, William of Poitiers, the citizens insulted William by hanging animal skins from the walls, in reference to his ancestry as the illegitimate son of Duke Robert and a tanner's daughter. On capturing the town, William had a number of the citizens' hands and feet cut off in revenge. Alençon was occupied by the English during the Anglo-Norman wars of 1113 to 1203.
The city became the seat of a dukedom in 1415, belonging to the sons of the King of France until the French Revolution, and some of them played important roles in French history: see Duke of Alençon. The French Revolution caused relatively little disorder in this area although there were some royalist uprisings nearby.
A long-standing local fabric industry gave birth to the town's famous point d'Alençon lace in the 18th century. The economic development of the nineteenth century was based on iron foundries and mills in the surrounding region. In the first half of the twentieth century the city developed a flourishing printing industry.
Alençon was home to Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin and Louis Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. They were the first spouses in the history of the Catholic Church to be proposed for sainthood as a couple, in 2008. Zélie and Louis were married at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Alençon on 12 July 1858 and spent their whole married life in Alençon, where Thérèse was born in January 1873 and spent her early childhood until the death of her mother in 1877. 
After the war the population sharply increased and new industries settled. Many of these were related to plastics and the town is now a major plastics educational centre.
|Climate data for Alençon|
|Average high °C (°F)||7.0
|Average low °C (°F)||1.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||77.1
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||62.0||85.0||131.4||163.4||190.3||217.7||215.0||212.4||168.2||113.6||70.5||60.4||1,689.9|
|The arms of Alençon are blazoned :
Azure, a double-headed eagle displayed Or.
Today, Alençon is home to a prosperous plastics industry, and, since 1993, to a plastics engineering school.
MPO Fenêtres is a local PVC windows company established in Alençon since 1970, is one of the first company in Alençon with around 170 employees (2009) and a turnover of 28 million euros in 2008. It is also the oldest French PVC windows company still in activity.
The A88 autoroute links the A28 just north of Alençon to the coastal port of Caen.
A comprehensive town bus system operates from 7:00 to 19:00.
There is a comprehensive network of cycle paths.
Alençon was the birthplace of:
- Anne d'Alençon (1492–1562), marquise of Montferrat ;
- Marie-Catherine de Villedieu, (1640–1683), novelist
- Pierre Allix (1641–1717), Protestant pastor and author
- Léonard Bourdon (1754–1807), Revolutionist
- Louis de Frotté, dit « Blondel » (1766–1800), chouan general
- Edme Castaing (1796–1824), doctor and murderer
- Jacques Hébert (1757–1794), editor of the extreme radical newspaper Le Père Duchesne during the French Revolution
- Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière (1755–1834), botanist
- Juste Lisch (1828–1910), architect
- Raoul Le Mouton de Boisdeffre, 1839–1919, general
- Éléonore-Aglaé-Marie Despierres (1843–1895), historian
- Adolphe Gérard (1844–1900), American restaurateur
- Adhémar Leclère (1853–1917), author
- Thérèse de Lisieux (1873–1897), Roman Catholic nun who was canonised as a saint, and is one of only 33 Doctors of the Church
- Auguste Poulet-Malassis (1825–1878), publisher and friend of Baudelaire
- Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin (1831–1877), the mother of St. Thérèse of Lisieux who, along with her husband Louis Martin, is one of the few married couples ever to be beatified by the Catholic Church.
- Daniel Balavoine (1952–1986), singer and songwriter
- Louis Barillet (1880–1948), glass blower
- André Couder (1897–1979), astronomer
- Alain Lambert (1946–), politician
- Anne Consigny (1963–), actress
- Yoann Chivard, dit « Yoann », (1971–), graphic artist
- Laurence Leboucher (1972–), female cyclist
- Lorànt Deutsch (1975–), actor and writer ;
- Benoît Tréluyer (1976–), car racer, two-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours
- Jonathan Cochet (1976–), car racer
- Anthony Geslin (1980–), cyclist
- Orelsan (1982–), rapper
- Arnold Mvuemba (1985–) footballer
Twin towns – sister cities
Alençon is twinned with:
- Basingstoke, United Kingdom
- Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium
- Koutiala, Mali
- Quakenbrück, Germany
- Crynant, United Kingdom
- Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - Zelie Martin's life
- Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - Louis Martin's life
- Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - St. Therese's life
- Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - The basilica of Notre Dame
- Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) - Alençon, the birthplace of St. Therese
- "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alençon.|
- Official town website
- Alençon Tourist Office
- Shrine of Alençon : pilgrimage on the steps of St. Therese and her parents, the blessed Louis and Zelie Martin
- Web site about the life, writings, spirituality, and mission of St. Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, who was born in Alencon on 2 January 1873; information about the life of her family in Alencon and about pilgrimages to Alencon
- Alencon's citizen portal