Alencon is a commune in Normandy, France. It is the capital of the Orne department and situated 105 miles to the west of Paris. The city itself has a small land area ? occupying just 11 square kilometers with a population of almost 30 thousand making the population density fairly high at over 2700 people per square kilometer. It was during the 4th century, while the area was becoming largely Christian that the city of Alencon was founded. In 1047 William the Conqueror laid claim to the city to which the citizens protested. During the 19th century, Alencon became important due to its bustling economy based on several mills and the good transport network consisting of roads and railways leading in and out of town. The industry evolved and in the early 20th century, the printing industry became the major player in the town?s economic income.
For anyone visiting the city of Alencon, your first stop should definitely be the high streets. With the feel and allure of medieval cobbled stone streets underfoot and lined with street cafes, gift shops, street markets, parks and chocolatiers, this part of the Alencon experience is as authentic as it gets. If you?re lucky enough, you?ll find one of the frequent shows, exhibitions or festivals happening at the nearby Parc des Promendades and even if there isn?t, the incredible rose garden there is worth a visit anyway.
Possibly the most popular attraction in the area is the Castle of William The Conquerant situated just outside the city. It is built with prime examples of medieval architecture and combines its two purposes almost perfectly ? it was used both as a place of residence and a military fort. The castle has been changed and modified slightly through the years as the needs for the building changed but the general design has remained largely unchanged. At the beginning of the 16th century, following the advances in military artillery, the castle was abandoned as it became impossible to defend.