The name of the town derives from the Latin: Noviomagus Lexoviorum (“Noviomagus of the Lexovii”). The town was originally known in Celtic as Novio Magos (“New Field”, “New Market”), which was Latinized as Noviomagus. Owing to the large number of similarly-named cities, however, it was necessary to specify where this one was located. The local French demonym Lexoviens derives from the Latin as well.
Lisieux was the capital of the Lexovii. In his work, Commentaries on the Gallic War, Caesar mentions a Gallic oppidum, a term which refers to Celtic towns located on the tops of hills. The oppidum has been pinpointed to a place referred to as le Castellier, located 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) to the southwest of the town. However the Gallo-Roman city was in fact located where Lisieux is to be found today.
Since the Middle Ages Lisieux has been the seat of one of the seven Roman Catholic dioceses of Normandy under the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical province of Rouen. The bishopric was abolished in 1801 before being recreated and merged with that of Bayeux in 1855, under the new name of “Bayeux and Lisieux”.
The best-known of the Bishops of Lisieux is Pierre Cauchon, who had a decisive influence during the trial of Joan of Arc. He is buried in Lisieux Cathedral.
Devotion to Sainte-Thérèse who lived in the nearby Carmelite convent has made Lisieux France’s second-most important site of pilgrimage, after the Pyrenean town of Lourdes.
Did you know:
The Basilica of Sainte-Thérèse of Lisieux is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica dedicated to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Located in Lisieux, France, the large basilica can accommodate 4,000 people, and, with more than two million visitors a year, is the second largest pilgrimage site in France, after Lourdes. Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica on 2 June 1980
Other places of interest:
évêché Lisieux Garden – Botanical Garden
Musée d’art et d’histoire de Lisieux
Carmel de Lisieux