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Caen Travel Guide: 149 reviews and 397 photos

William the Conqueror

Caen is the beautiful capital city of the Region Basse-Normandie and of the département of Calvados and deserves this role, since it has experienced all the joyful and sad events that touched the region in the past.
Caen was a small village on rivers Orne and Odon when Guillaume Duke of Normandie decided in 1061 to buiuld two abbeys there. After becoming king of England as William the Conqueror, he elected Caen as his fixed residence and had a castle built. This choice marked the start of a long period of prosperity for the town.

The French revolution and Charlotte Corday

Caen played an important role in the French revolution: it was from here that Charlotte Corday left to Paris to kill Jean-Paul Marat in his bath in 1793. That murder was one of the most relevant facts of the post-revolutionary times and French artist Jacques-Louis David painted The death of Marat. Charlotte Corday was guillotined four days after killing Marat.

The landing on Normandie

The last important, but tragic, event that Caen had to experience was the landing on Normandie. At the end of the military operations that began on 6th June 1944 (D-Day), more than 70 percent of the city had been destroyed. Luckily, most monuments and buildings have been rebuilt an drestored and today Caen, with around 113,000 inhabitants, has become as prosperous as in the Middle Ages, thanks to its harbour, industries and cultural life.
Visit Caen and enjoy it!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:it has recovered its beauty despite the war
  • Cons:none
  • In a nutshell:it confirms that war cannot destroy art
  • Last visit to Caen: Aug 2001
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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