"Caen, 'the battlefield'" Top 5 Page for this destination Caen by jayhawk2000

Caen Travel Guide: 142 reviews and 374 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 and Cons
  • 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
  • Last visit to Caen: Sep 2001
  • Intro Updated Jan 3, 2003
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Reviews (10)

Comments (11)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    Nice page, looks worth a visit!

  • Goner's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2008 at 11:07 AM

    How did a Jayhawker get all the way to Manchester??

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 22, 2004 at 9:51 AM

    I think you're right that Caen is a neglected place. At least I have neglected it up to now. Looks good in your photos, in any case.

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2004 at 5:15 AM

    Thanks for the information & photos ! Today is the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

  • Cynthia_marie's Profile Photo
    May 4, 2004 at 9:05 PM

    Your great tips have put me well on my way to learning much about Caen. Can't wait to see it in person.

  • BerniShand's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2004 at 1:47 PM

    I wish we had visited here, it didnt look too interesting in the guide book ! will certainly spend a day or two here next time

  • coceng's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2003 at 3:01 AM

    Hhmm, very nice page & photos ! Maybe I'll reach here next year...should I ? :) Regards.

  • diocletianvs's Profile Photo
    Oct 25, 2003 at 4:45 AM

    Another great page. From your pictures and texts it seems that this place should not be missed. The churches look very interesting.

  • Imbi's Profile Photo
    Sep 21, 2003 at 3:11 AM

    robert ! very comprehensive and informative page.enjoyed it very much.

  • sim1's Profile Photo
    Jun 9, 2003 at 2:43 PM

    Excellent page! Great intro and great tips! Maybe the guidebooks undersell Caen, but you certainly sold me on this place! I am going to remember your tip! Thanks :-)

jayhawk2000

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