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The of Villedieu les Poêles :
Once upon a time there was a small village called Siennetre in Normandy, an area of France owned by Henry the 1st, Duke of Normandy and King of England. In 1130 the village and its surrounding land was given to the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem – becoming the Order of the Knights of Malta two centuries later (part of the Crusaders) – who built a hospice. All the territory belonging to this hospice was named Villedieu (The House of God).

Favoured with numerous privileges the Order established a colony of copper craftsmen, who became adept at the founding of bronze and the art of hammered copper. By the beginning of the 19th century the workshops of Villedieu were manufacturing pans for porridge, milk urns, fountains, etc. The word Poêles, French for famous pans, was added to the name of the town at the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to copper, Villedieu is famous for bell foundry work and bobbin lace making. The town website is a useful starting point to plan a visit.

© CRT Normandie. Photo: H. Guermonprez © CRT Normandie. Photo: H.P. Reiser

Villedieu retains its connection with the past in the names of the streets and squares, many dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. It is a beautiful old town, with interesting museums, cafes and numerous shops - many selling copper products. The lively market on Tuesdays is well worth a visit - as it is probably the best in the area.

Photo: J.C. Demais

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