Falaise is a town (population 9,000) on the Ante River in the French region of Lower Normandy, famous as the birthplace of William the Conquerer and the scene of the fierce fighting of August 1944 associated with the Allied "breakout" from the "Falaise pocket" that built up after the D-Day landings, to drive towards Paris during the Western campaign against the German occupation.
In August 1944, two German armies attempted to breakout of the "Falaise pocket" (also known as the "Falaise gap"). With the United States First Army on the southern arm, the British 2nd Army on the base, and the Canadian First Army on the northern arm, the Allied Armies encircled and destroyed both the German Seventh and the Fifth Panzer Armies. Some 10,000 German troops were killed and 50,000 taken prisoner. This decisive battle led to a rapid advance of the Allied Armies through northern France and through the Low Countries to the Rhine Delta allowing the immediate liberation of Paris. Two-thirds of Falaise was destroyed by Allied bombing before the town was eventually taken by Canadian and Polish troops. Falaise was largely restored after the war.
Located in the southern reaches of Normandy, Falaise represents half a day's excursion from the other major towns of Normandy: