Government buildings are nice too in Alençon!!!

Don’t ask me why but usually do not take photos of government buildings well maybe the city hall but not others. And do not know why took of them all while visiting Alençon! I guess looking back they all have wonderful architecture and on most a nice piece of history. Hope you enjoy the government buildings of Alençon! Remember in the Orne dept 61 of the region of Normandy!

The Préfecture (regional govt) of the Orne  is at 39 Rue Saint-Blaise , and was originally a mansion built around 1630 by the election of Alençon, Charles de Fromont de Bouaille, Lord of the Besnardière. In 1676, Elisabeth d’Orléans, half-sister of the ” Grande Demoiselle”, and cousin of Louis XIV, Duchess of Guise and apanagist of the Duchy of Alençon, took possession of it.


Since 1815, the Hotel Fromont de La Besnardière has become the Prefecture of the Orne Department 61.  They gardens are open to the public only on heritage days. The hotel which houses the prefecture was built around 1630 by Charles Fromont of Besnardière, of Alençon. Elegant building of pure Louis XIII style, the hotel Fromont de La Besnardière consists of a central pavilion, with pyramidal roof and broken pediment, and two side pavilions, lower and more important, with high roofs.

Elisabeth d’Orléans had decided to bequeath her home to the Hôtel-Dieu, but after her death an endless family lawsuit took place and the hotel was finally recovered by king Louis XV in 1751. The latter gives it to the City to house the intendants. They will remain there until 1792. The main house, the pavilion adjoining, on the right, the two concierge pavilions on the right and left of the entrance gate. Only the park/garden can be visited. Belonging to the Department of the Orne since 1800, it makes the prefecture on same year. The Hôtel Fromont de La Besnardière is one of the most beautiful prefectural residences of France.

Official préfecture of the Orne dept 61

The Palais de Justice or courthouse at Place du Maréchal Ferdinand Foch was built from 1818-1824 in Neo Classic style. It was built due to the visit of Napoléon 1er in 1811 to Alençon. Not much to write about a courthouse just a wonderful architecture! and great free parking area!!

Official govt Courthouse of Alençon


The present Hôtel de Ville or  City Hall at Place du Maréchal Foch is at least the fifth building assigned to the municipal administration. In 1444, Alençon already owned a City Hall, a memory of the former municipality founded, it is said, by William III first Earl of Alençon, but its location is unknown. This City Hall, disappeared during the English occupation, is restored by Louis XI in 1473 and installed in a house located in the rue aux Goguets , now current  rue de l’Ancienne-Mairie which remains until around 1650, when it is transferred to Place du Palais  in a house built in 1587. In 1728, a fourth building was built near the former courthouse which stood on the site of the Hotel des Postes and it was in 1783 that the foundation stone of the present City Hall was laid. It is built on the site of part of the castle, and  is in 1790 that the municipal administration settles in the building whose campanile is completed in 1797.


The City Hall is a classic-style, Louis XVI style freestone construction. The building curves gracefully into a circular arc and the facade, supported by pilasters, is imbued with great nobility. It is surmounted by a rectangular pediment and balustrades evoking the Petit Trianon. Inside, the staircase holds the eye and the City Hall, with its Directoire style chandelier, is remarkable. The woodwork of the salon  is of the late 18C. A semicircular window, filling the middle in the place of the clock, is framed by a horizontal band while the body itself of the pyramid is decorated with garlands. The latter has been replaced by a wooden entablature garnished with zinc. Above, the lantern is crowned with a small dome surmounted by an iron flag. All different was the octagonal campanile with its arched windows, cornice and roof, the ridges of which followed the curves of the pyramid. The summit was formed by the ducal crown; in the middle rose a strongly downward Corinthian column supporting an eagle. it should be known that at the beginning, the City Hall only included the central part. It was not until 1839 and 1854 that the north and south wings, which belonged to private individuals, were acquired by the town of Alençon. Restored from 1997, the City Hall was inaugurated in 1999.

City of Alençon on the City Hall

And there you go a review of government in the city of Alençon, dept 61 of the Orne in the region of Normandy. And who said, government buildings should be awful, these are nice me think. Enjoy the government buildings of Alençon!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



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