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The Mont Saint-Michel seen from the town's outskirts
The Mont Saint-Michel seen from the town's outskirts
Pontorson is located in France
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Country France
Region Normandy
Department Manche
Arrondissement Avranches
Canton Pontorson
 • Mayor Patrick Larivière
Area1 61.47 km2 (23.73 sq mi)
Population (2013)2 4,496
 • Density 73/km2 (190/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 50410 / 50170
Elevation 5–73 m (16–240 ft)
(avg. 18 m or 59 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Notre-Dame de Pontorson, built between 1050 1150,[1] with additions in the 15th century.[2]

Pontorson is a commune in the Manche department in north-western France. On 1 January 2016, the former communes of Macey and Vessey were merged into Pontorson.[3]


Pontorson is situated about 10 kilometres from the Mont Saint-Michel, to which it is connected by highway and a walking path along the river Couesnon. The river also gives its name to the town's main street.


The town was founded in the 12th century after a vow by William the Conqueror. It was home to a fortress, which was razed to the ground in 1623 by order of King Louis XIII of France.

During World War II, after the liberation of the area by Allied Forces in 1944, engineers of the Ninth Air Force IX Engineering Command began construction of a combat Advanced Landing Ground outside of the town. Declared operational on 10 August, the airfield was designated as "A-28", it was used by the 368th Fighter Group which flew P-47 Thunderbolts until early September when the unit moved into Central France. Afterward, the airfield was closed.[4][5]

Frantz Fanon practiced psychiatry at Pontorson in the early 1950s.

In 1990, Pontorson twinned with the village of Highworth in England.

Main sights

Notre Dame, Pontorson, France, n.d.. Photograph taken by A. Kingsley Porter. Facade of church. No date.
  • Notre-Dame church (11th-12th centuries). It is in Romanesque-transition Gothic style; it has a massive appearance with a central portal, flanked by two towers.
  • Old Protestant Temple (16th century)
  • Guischard de la Ménardière house (also known as "Roman House", 11th-12th centuries)
  • Residence of the counts of Montgomery


Pontorson is home to the nearest SNCF railway station to France's second most popular tourist attraction, Mont Saint-Michel.

Despite the town's role as a tourist gateway, train services are relatively rare, about three or four per day.

See also


  1. http://pagesperso-orange.fr/ot.pontorson/livres/Decouverte%20du%20Mt%20St%20Michel.htm#eglise notre dame
  2. http://www.mondes-normands.fr/angleterre/Patrimoine_architectural/Normandie/Avranchin/pontorson/1608Pontorson/index.htm
  3. Arrêté préfectoral 23 October 2015 (French)
  4. Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
  5. Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.