Coutances Cathedral, photographed by Jersey photographer Philip Godfray in the 1880s
Capital of the Unelli, a Gaulish tribe, the town took the name of Constantia in 298 during the reign of Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus. The surrounding region, called in Latin the pagus Constantinus subsequently became known as the Cotentin peninsular.
The town was destroyed by invading Normans in 866, who later established settlements and incorporated the whole peninsular into the Duchy of Normandy in 933.
Coutances Cathedral is one of the major buildings of Norman architecture and contains a chapel and stained glass dedicated to Saint Marcouf. Coutances houses a botanical garden and an art museum.
Coutances is twinned with
- Ilkley in England
- Saint Ouen, Jersey
- La Pocatière, Quebec
- Ochsenfurt in Germany
- Troina in Sicily