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Orne (Department, France)

Last modified: 2009-12-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: orne | basse-normandie | horse (white) |
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[Flag of the General Council]

Flag of the General Council of Orne - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 October 2009


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Administrative data

Code: 61
Region: Basse-Normandie
Traditional provinces: Normandy, Maine
Bordering departments: Calvados, Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Manche, Mayenne, Sarthe

Area: 6,103 km2
Population (2006): 292,879 inhabitants

Préfecture: Alençon
Sous-préfectures: Argentan, Mortagne-au-Perche
Subdivisions: 3 arrondissements, 40 cantons, 505 communes.

The department is named after river Orne (152 km), tributary of the English Channel.
On 21 July 1824, the municipality of Madré was transferred from the department of Orne to the department of Mayenne, while the municipality of Saint-Denis-de-Villenette was transferred from Mayenne to Orne, suppressing two enclaves / exclaves.

Ivan Sache, 14 November 2009


Flag of the General Council

The flag of the General Council of Orne, as hoisted in front of the building of the General Council at Alençon, is white with the logo of the General Council.
The logo of the General Council of Orne is made of a white horse outlined in black, with grey shadowing, running on a green rectangle charged with the writing "L'ORNE" in white letters and surmonting "Conseil Général" in black letters.

The green rectangle recall the forests (for instance, the forests of Écouves, Andaines and Gouffern) representing 17% of the area of the department) and the two Regional Nature Parks (Normandie-Maine and Perche) of the department.
The horse is a symbol of determination, spirit of conquest and dynamism; horse breeding is a traditional activity in the department.

The pride, and most visited tourist spot (more than 60,000 each year), of Orne is indeed the "Horse's Temple", Haras du Pin, located in the municipality of Le Pin-au-Haras. The oldest of the 29 national stud farms (haras), Haras du Pin, aka the "Horse's Versailles", was founded by Colbert and Louis XIV; the site was selected in 1714 because of the neighbouring pastures and abundant water resources. The historic buildings were mainly erected in 1715-1730, under the reign of Louis XV. Involved in the fightings of the French Revolution, the Franco-Prussian War and the Battle of Normandy, Haras du Pin miraculously escaped destruction.
Today, Haras du Pin, surrounded by a 1,000 ha domain, caters 230 horses, including 50 studs representing some ten horse breds (especially the four breds whose cradle is Normandy: Percheron, Pur Sang Anglais, Trotteur Français and Selle Fran¸ais). Some 700 mares are serviced every year on site and another 300 are serviced on farms. Also commissioned to teaching and training, Haras du Pin maintains a research unit dedicated to genetic improvement of horse breds.

Ivan Sache, 3 October 2009