Saturday, 13 August 2022

Short history of our French twin town

A NEW book has been published about Henley’s twin town in Normandy.

A Short History of Falaise by Ian Marshall recounts the history of the town from the first Celtic inhabitants to the present day.

The 100-page book contains some fascinating facts, such as that Falaise was the birthplace of William the Conquerer as well as the father of singer Edith Piaf and she often visited the town when young.

It has been visited by 20 French or English kings, two French emperors, including Napoleon Bonaparte, and three Field Marshals, including Rommel and Montgomery. It also gave its name to a Second World War battle.

More recently, Falaise named several streets after Beatles songs following the death of George Harrison, who lived at Friar Park in Henley, in 2001.

Mr Marshall, a graduate of Cambridge University, who has lived in Normandy for several years and is now retired, says the book is not overly academic.

“It provides a useful perspective on events in England and France and their interaction at key moments,” he says. “There is also a glimpse of how these events affected the everyday lives of ordinary people.”

For more information or to order a copy, please email Mr Marshall at

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