Caen is one of those Norman towns that have had damage during the war, but do not look back, and so now merged with modern history. Before the Norman Conquest of England was the birthplace of William and Matilda, and both are buried here noble abbeys.
Caen is awash in greenery, as you can see the castle of Caen, a park in August when William was home to the French Revolution, now dotted with historic captivating fragments like the old booths and walls. The city is also an easy ride from the landing beaches, the Belle Epoque resort of Cabourg and Bayeux where the famous tapestry is displayed.
1. Mémorial de Caen
Founded in 1988, the Caen Memorial is above an underground bunker from which the German General Wilhelm Richter coordinated the defense of the beaches of Normandy on D-Day
You can walk through this tunnel 70 meters, then head for wider exhibition on World War II.
The Caen Memorial is described as a “museum for peace” with a message of hope.
The galleries trace the accumulation of the conflict, the French occupation, the Holocaust and postwar.
2. Abbey of Sainte-Trinité
This Romanesque Norman abbey was founded in the mid 11th century by Matilda of Flanders, who was William the Conqueror’s wife.
The grave of Matilda in the abbey church and marked by a black stone unpretentious with a Latin inscription filed at the time of his death, unlike William, whose tomb at the Abbaye aux Hommes Caen was updated Many times.
The church is the only part of the abbey open to the public that holds the rest of the government offices, but many recommend and offers several tours a day.
3. Château de Caen
In medieval citadel of Caen, built by William the Conqueror in 1160 it would have been a monumental landmark; Today, it is easy to have an idea of the dimensions in the park where the dungeon and many houses were.
There are compelling fragments that remain, such as foundations of the residence of William and walls and two formidable sentry boxes, which are still standing.
These defenses are mostly of the Hundred Years War in the 1400s and the walls give you a fantastic view of Caen.
4. Abbaye aux Hommes
William the Conqueror created the abbey in 1063 to obtain absolution for married Matilda of Flanders, who happened to be a cousin.
The building is another treasure Norman Romanesque, with the austere walls, unadorned of the western facade crowned by the more decorative Gothic towers.
The must-see inside is the grave of William, who has been in the chancel since 1087, while the wooden stalls and pulpit were made in the 1600s.
5. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen
In the Château de Caen Fine Arts Museum of the City of displays 350 works that will take you on a journey of discovery through the French and European art of the 1300s to today.
The galleries are weighted towards the renaissance and baroque, with pieces by Nicolas Poussin and Rubens, as well as Italian masters such as Veronese and Tintoretto.