Manche, department (1990 pop. 480,900), NW France, in Normandy, on the English Channel. Manche is coextensive with the Cotentin peninsula and extends S into the Norman woods. Saint-Lô (the capital), Cherbourg, and Avranches are the chief towns, and Mont-Saint-Michel is off the coast. Manche is largely agricultural, with extensive animal breeding and raising. Although industry is secondary, there are textile, copper, tile, and food industries, and, at Cherbourg, shipbuilding. The name Manche derives from the French name for the English Channel.
Manche is a French department in Normandy named after La Manche ("the sleeve"), which is the French name for the English Channel.


Manche is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from part of the province of Normandie.

The first capital was Coutances until 1796, and it resumed that role after World War II because of the almost complete destruction of Saint-Lô during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. When Saint-Lô was rebuilt, it again became the capital.


The department includes the Cotentin Peninsula and the islands of Chausey. It is part of the region of Basse-Normandie and is surrounded on three sides by the English Channel, with 350km of coastline, and on the other by the departments of Calvados, Orne, Mayenne, and Ille-et-Vilaine. Geologically, the department is connected to the Massif Armoricain.


The climate is oceanic, with mild winters, temperatures rarely reaching below freezing, and temperate summers, around 25°C. Precipitation is substantial, but varies greatly by region, between 700mm on the coast and 1300mm in the openfield land of the south.

The west coast benefits from the Gulf stream's influence, allowing the naturalization of many mediterranean and exotic plants (mimosas, palms, agaves...).

There is often a sea breeze on the coast, which combined with tides contributes to quick temperature changes over a single day.


Inhabitants of the department are called Manchots or Manchois.

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