COUTANCES, a town of France, capital of an arrondissement of the department of La Manche, and the seat of a bishop, is built on a granite ridge which rises between the canalized River Soulle and the stream called the Bulcard, 16 miles W.S.W. of St Lb and 7 miles from the sea. From the hill, up the sides of which the crooked streets of the town are built, a fine panorama of the surrounding country is obtained. The cathedral of Notre Dame on the height, with two lofty towers terminating in spires, was inaugurated by William the Conqueror in 1056, and is one of the finest specimens of ecclesiastical architecture in Normandy. The churches of St Nicolas and St Pierre, dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, are also fine. The palais de justice, lycee, episcopal palace, and halle aux grains are among the chief buildings. Some manufactures of woollen and cotton goods, marble working, and traffic in corn, poultry, cattle, and horses are the industries of the town. Contances is the ancient Roman Cosedia in the country of the Unelli. Towards the end of the 3d century its name was changed to Constantia. Many traces of Roman work are still to be seen in its environs. An aqueduct, between the town and a hill on the east, was constructed about the middle of the 13th century on the site of one which was built by the Romans ; originally it had sixteen arches, but eleven of these are now ruined. In the Middle Ages Coutances was capital of the vice-county of Coutentin or Cotentin, a district noted for its breed of cattle. It was held by the English from 1417 to 1449. Population (1872), 14,557.