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Les plus beaux villages de France Ville fleurie 4 fleurs Station verte

The Pays de Lyons became a renowned hunting domain for kings and Dukes of Normandy, and succeeded in playing a small role in history. Until the French Revolution in 1789, Lyons-la-Forêt was a place of residence for dukes and kings.


Since the Belle-Époque, Lyons-la-Forêt, and has become a holiday destination appreciated by artists and literary men, looking for inspiration.


The Pays de Lyons has been occupied since the gallo-roman period. Traces of a theatre from the 3rd century were discovered near the church of Lyons-la-Forêt. The national forest is a natural reserve of wood and game.

During the 11th century, Lyons-la-Forêt becomes a strategic place as it is situated at the limit of the Kindgom of France and Normandy. William the Conqueror decided to have a castle built here. His son Henry the 1st of Beauclerc fortified it. The village is the favourite residence place of the Norman dukes, but it was also quarreled about by the French Kings. Philippe-August eventually won the territory, but the castle is destroyed by the English at the end of the Hundred Years war. Still, Lyons-la-Forêt remained a royal holiday destination.

From the 16th to the 18th century, Lyons-la-Forêt plays a major role in the development of the administrative region, thanks to the three justice courts that meet here, and to the generosity of the Duke of Penthièvre (1725-1793), last lord of Lyons-la-Forêt.

The town hall of Lyons-la-Forêt and the court room (ISMH, 18th c..)

The industrial era slowly established itself in the Pays de Lyons-la-Forêt: spinning mills, printed cotton factories, and glass factories are, for a short period, an important asset of the territory. The forest exploitation is also boosted at the time, thanks to the evolution of paper.

Throughout the 20th century, the Pays de Lyons became a place of holiday and inspiration for numerous artists such as Maurice Ravel, Paul-Emile Pissaro, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, Claude Chabrol and many more.