Visit Argentan (Normandy, France)
Argentan is found in the Orne department of Normandy, 60km south from Caen. The town is situated on the River Orne in the rolling agricultural region of Normandy on the edge of the Natural Regional Park of Normandy-Maine, and close to the forests of Ecouves and Gouffern.
Dating back to Roman times the town has had a 'colourful' history - unfortunately involving frequent destruction - both in the Middle Ages during the wars between the French and the English, and during the 20th century, above all during the Battle of Argentan in 1944 towards the end of the Second World War, which resulted in very major damage to the town.
Despite the damage suffered by Argentan in the past, the location of the town and its historical monuments make it an interesting town for a stopover and as a base for exploring the region.
Within the town, you can see the 12th century Marguerite Tower and the donjon (castle keep), both remains from the original town defences. These are especially worth visiting for the views across the rooftops of Argentan (although only open June to September).
The Duke's castle (now the Palace of Justice) on the market square dates from the 14th century.
Two medieval churches can be seen in Argentan. The Church of Saint-Germain in the centre of the town (also next to the market place) dates from the 15th and 16th centuries and successfully combines various styles of architecture. The church has an impressive entrance, a square belltower and an unusual lantern tower. The Church of Saint-Martin dates from the same period and has a decorative belltower, although you discover the highlight inside the church with the medieval stained glass windows.
Other religious monuments in Argentan include the the Saint Nicolas Chapel and a benedictine Abbey, now a local centre for lacemaking. There are also some fine townhouses along the streets of the town centre and an impressive half-timbered house can be seen on the Ruelle de Fossés Tanarès.
There are also several parks in the town centre - we strolled through the pleasant 'Public Garden of the Normandy Forest' to see the trees.
The history of the town is closely linked with lacemaking, a story that is explained at the 'Maison des Dentelles' with an exhibition (the exhibition changes each year).
The Tourist Office in Argentan have a leaflet suggesting the best route to explore the town, or if you prefer a bit of luxury, you can explore Argentat in a horse-drawn carriage.
Note: the town was birthplace for the artist Fernand Leger and you can see the house where he was born at 5, Rue des Jacobins
Photos taken within 10 km
Tourist classifications for Argentan
Argentan is classified as a recommended detour town (plus beau detour)
Address: Argentan, Orne, Normandy, 61200 || GPS: latitude 48.7453, longitude -0.019167
Map of Argentan & places nearby
Highlights close by
Bagnoles de l'Orne 37km
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Argentan, France
- Sassy - remarkable garden (9km)
- Carrouges Chateau - national monument (23km)
- Jardins du château de Vendeuvre - remarkable garden (27km)
- Normandie-Maine - regional natural parc (32km)
- Orbec - town of art and history (44km)
Market days in Argentan: Regular market(s) are held in Argentan each Tuesday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Argentan (Francais)