Vire, France

Town in the Calvados department, on the Vire River, 32 mi SW of Caen. It grew up around a castle built by Henry I of England during the 12th century and became an important stronghold. The nearby valley of Vau-de-Vire was the home of Oliver Basselin, whose 15th-century drinking songs gave rise to the term "vaudeville". During World War II the town was occupied by the Allies in July 1944 after the landings in Normandy.