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Prefecture building of the Manche department, in Saint-Lô
Prefecture building of the Manche department, in Saint-Lô
Flag of Manche
Coat of arms of Manche
Coat of arms
Location of Manche in France
Location of Manche in France
Coordinates: 49°03′N 01°15′E / 49.050°N 1.250°E / 49.050; 1.250Coordinates: 49°03′N 01°15′E / 49.050°N 1.250°E / 49.050; 1.250
Country France
Region Normandy
Prefecture Saint-Lô
Subprefectures Avranches
 • President of the General Council Jean-François Le Grand
 • Total 5,951 km2 (2,298 sq mi)
Population (20137)
 • Total 499,919
 • Rank 52nd
 • Density 84/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 50
Arrondissements 4
Cantons 27
Communes 476
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Manche (French pronunciation: ​[mɑ̃ʃ]) is a French department in Normandy (Normandie), named for the English Channel, which is known as La Manche, literally "the sleeve", in French, that borders its north and west shores and part of its east shore.


Manche is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from part of the province of Normandie.

The first capital was Coutances until 1796, and it resumed that role after World War II because of the almost complete destruction of Saint-Lô during the battle of Normandy following D-Day. When Saint-Lô was rebuilt, it again became the capital.


Map of Cotentin peninsula

The Department includes the Cotentin Peninsula down to the famous Mont St Michel; though of the off-shore Channel Islands only Chausey forms part of the territory of the department.

Manche borders the Normandy departments of Calvados to the east and Orne to the southeast. Mayenne, a department of the Pays de la Loire, is to the south-east, and Ille-et-Vilaine in Brittany is to the south-west.

The region is lush and green with sandy beaches, remaining very rural and farming oriented. The peninsula was originally joined as a single land mass to Cornwall and Dorset in England, meaning that the underlying countrysides of both are very similar - although as farming practices have varied considerably between the UK and France, there are substantial regional differences today in terms of flora and fauna. Flat marsh areas in the department are known for their bird watching. The region and around St Lo is also the horse capital of France, where the cooler climate compared to the south is ideal for breeding and training.

France's first EPR reactor is near completion at Cherbourg and the TGV fast trains are planned for Paris to Caen and Cherbourg for 2020.


The climate is oceanic, with relatively mild winters temperatures can go below zero for a few days occasionally. Temperate summers, around 20 °C, can occasionally reach 35 °C in direct sun light. Precipitation is substantial, and varies greatly by region, between 700mm on the coast and 1300mm in the southern central area. Highly localised, not life-threatening flash flooding has been experienced over the last few years in the spring period.

The west coast benefits from the Gulf stream's influence, allowing the naturalization of many Mediterranean and exotic plants (mimosas, palms, agaves...).

There is often a sea breeze on the coast, which combined with tides contributes to quick temperature changes over a single day. Sea temperatures can be very pleasant for swimming between June and October.


Inhabitants of the department are called Manchots or Manchois.


A neighborhood in Saint-André-de-l'Épine
  • Football: main clubs: AS Cherbourg, US Avranches, Saint-Lô, Granville, Villedieu, UST Équeurdreville-Hainneville...
  • Cycling: the Tour de France has visited the department 21 times with stages ending at Cherbourg (16), Avranches (2), Granville (1), Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët (1), and the Mont Saint-Michel (1).
  • Sailing: the Solitaire du Figaro has come to Cherbourg several times.
  • Tennis: hosts the Challenger La Manche tournament.
  • Thai boxing: Villedieu-les-Poêles
  • Badminton: Two local clubs compete in the national championship (N3): St Hilaire du Harcouet and Hainneville.
  • Golf: course: Granville, Bréhal, Coutainville, Cherbourg, Centre Manche, Fontenay, Côte des Isles


See also

External links

  • (in French) Prefecture website
  • (in French) General Council website
  • (in English) Manche at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
  • (in French) A whole wiki about the Manche !
  • (in French) Comité départemental du tourisme de la Manche
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