1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Argentan
ARGENTAN, a town of north-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Orne, 27 m. N.N.W. of Alençon on the railway from Le Mans to Caen. Pop. (1906) 5072. It is situated on the slope of a hill on the right bank of the Orne at its confluence with the Ure. The town has remains of old fortifications, among them the Tour Marguerite, and a château, now used as a law-court, dating from the 15th century. The church of St Germain (15th, 16th and 17th centuries) has several features of architectural beauty, notably the sculptured northern portal, and the central and western towers. The church of St Martin, dating from the 15th century, has good stained glass. The handsome modern town-hall contains among other institutions the tribunal of commerce, the museum and the library. Argentan is the seat of a sub-prefect, has a tribunal of first instance and a communal college. Leather-working and the manufacture of stained glass are leading industries. There are quarries of limestone in the vicinity. Argentan was a viscounty from the 11th century onwards; it was often taken and pillaged. During the Religious Wars it remained attached to the Catholic party. François Eudes de Mézeray, the historian, was born near the town, and a monument has been erected to his memory.