Last modified: 2014-02-01 by ivan sache
Keywords: calvados | villers-sur-mer |
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Flag of Villers-sur-Mer - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 January 2004
The municipality of Villers-sur-Mer (2,652 inhabitants in 2008; 899 ha) is located on the Channel, between Deauville and Houlgate.
Villers is a Roman origin, as evidenced by its name and by
archeological findings (remains of a fortified camp and a Roman way). It
is said that William the (not yet) Conqueror passed through Villers in
1066 to go to Dives, where he set up his fleet. The village increased
in the 17th-18th centuries with the building of several farms and of a castle.
The sea resort of Villers was "invented" during the Second Empire by the architect Félix Pigeory and the journalist Pierre Pitre Chevalier, then editor-in-chief of the Figaro. Among the rich families which settled in Villers, the Demachy, Napoléon III's bankers, built the San Carlo Manor. The Countess of Béarn, born Demachy, dedicated herself to the town of Villers during the First World War. The pharmacist Mariani, who invented in the 19th century a tonic prefiguring Coca-Cola, also built a big villa in Villers.
Villers attracted members of the intelligentsia such as the diva Marthe Chenal, the musicians Alfred Bruneau and Charles Koechlin, the painters Paul Huet, Constant Troyant and Eugène Boudin, and the physicist Louis Armand.
Villers-sur-Mer was liberated on 22 August 1944 by the Belgian brigade commanded by general Piron.
The main monument of Villers-sur-Mer is a small stele materializing the
"entrance" of the Greenwich meridian on the French territory. The
meridian is shown by a blue line, so that you can be photographed
"riding" the meridian.
The beach of Villers ends in the foot of the Black Cow Cliffs (Falaises des Vaches Noires). The black cows are indeed big rocks which fell down from the cliff down to the beach. The cliffs spread on five kilometers between Villers and Houlgate, including part of the municipal territory of Auberville and Gonneville. On 2 February 1995, a Decree of the Ministry of Environment listed the cliffs, very rich in fossiles, on the register of "places of scientific and landscape significance in the department of Calvados", protecting the whole area. Picking up fossiles on the seashore is permitted, but any excavation is prohibited (and extremely hazardous), except for limited sampling with scientific aim. Fossiles found in the cliffs can be seen in the paleontological museum of Villers.
Source: Tourist office website
Ivan Sache, 11 January 2004
The flag of Villers-sur-Mer is made of the municipal logo. The motto La mer en pays d'Auge means "The sea in pays d'Auge", pays d'Auge being the area limited by rivers Touques and Dive, mostly known for the three local cheeses (camembert, livarot, pont-l'évêque) and apple-derived products (cider and calvados).
Ivan Sache, 11 January 2004