"Caen, 'the battlefield'" Top 5 Page for this destination Caen by jayhawk2000
Caen Travel Guide: 149 reviews and 391 photos
The capital and largest city of Basse Normandie, Caen is a city shaped by war. Its name derives from the Celtic word for 'battlefield' and true to its name Caen has been invaded many times during its history.
The most recent battle fought here was the most devastating, when Allied troops spent several weeks driving out the Nazi soldiers occupying the city. About three-quarters of Caen was left in rubble.
I think the guidebooks undersell Caen. They all refer to the disastrous bombings that flattened much of the city during WWII, but neglect to mention the successful sensitive rebuilding programme.
There are about a dozen medieval churches in various states of repair, plus the occasional timbered building and old stone townhouse.
Everything is built to a certain height and in a traditional style incorporating the famous local yellow limestone, so in many streets you’re convinced you’re in a far older and grander city.
We have few other points of reference and perhaps on travelling more in France our estimation of the city will go down, but we thought Caen was attractive and pleasant.
Our hotel was superb, the shopping good and the bus service convenient. Caen served us perfectly as a base camp to see Bayeux and the D-Day beaches.
Give Caen a chance sometime...who knows what you'll find!
- Pros:Superb transport links, terrific base for D-Day Beaches
- Cons:Can't think of any!
- In a nutshell:A terrific base for day trips in Normandy
William the Conqueror established himself here in 1060. The ramparts of his Ducal Chateau remain an imposing presence in... more travel advice
Mathilda's Abbaye aux Dames (the Women's Abbey) sits on a hill to the east of the Ducal Chateau. Both abbeys were built... more travel advice
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Caen Travel Guide
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