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Coutances is a commune in the Manchemarker department in Normandy in north-western Francemarker.


Capital of the Unelli, a Gaulish tribe, the town took the name of Constantia in 298 during the reign of Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus. The surrounding region, called in Latin the pagus Constantinus subsequently became known as the Cotentin Peninsulamarker.

The town was destroyed by invading Normans in 866, who later established settlements and incorporated the whole peninsula into the Duchy of Normandy in 933.

In July 17, 1944, napalm was first used on the city.



Coutances Cathedralmarker is one of the major buildings of Norman architecture and contains a chapel and stained glass dedicated to Saint Marcouf. The bishop of Coutances exercised ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the Channel Islands until the Reformation, despite the secular division of Normandy in 1204. The final rupture occurred definitively in 1569.

Coutances houses a well-known botanical garden and an art museum.

Twin towns

Coutances is twinned with:

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