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Destinations from Caen to the best attractions in the region
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Caen is a commune situated in the North-West of France, a part of the Calvados department in the Normandy region. The city served as the capital of the Basse-Normandie region until 2015. The name "Caen" was established in 1025 when the former duchy was ceded to the Vikings. From 1050 onwards, the city began to prosper under the reign of William the Bastard, also known as William the Conqueror, especially after the conquest of England.
University of Caen
One of the oldest universities in France is housed in Caen. The institution was built by order of King Henry VI and was completed in 1432. This academic hub fostered intense intellectual activity, leading to prosperity and shaping the city's urban face until the Enlightenment era.
The city is also home to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Normandy Museum. The imprint of Romanesque architecture is heavily evident in the cityscape. Meanwhile, the Renaissance era brought affluence to Caen, visible in landmarks such as the Escoville mansion and the half-timbered houses of Rue Saint-Pierre. Due to its rich history and culture, Caen is often referred to as the "Athens of Normandy."
The 19th century marked a pivotal period for Caen as the city was, for the first time, connected to Paris. This development signaled its entry into the industrial era. Following industrialization, the Canal of Caen was inaugurated in 1857, which facilitated the international prosperity of Caen's commercial port.
What’s done and see in Caen ? Attractions, monuments ?
As a visitor to Caen, you'll be captivated by the city's architectural richness from the Romanesque and Renaissance periods, as well as its captivating natural heritage. Here are some of the natural and architectural treasures you can explore during your stay in Caen, along with the recreational activities and key attractions the city offers.
Situated in Jeanine Boitard Square in Caen, this cooler, or icehouse, has existed for approximately 150 years. Originally an open-air quarry, it was subsequently covered and used to store food. During the bombings of 1944, some residents used it as a shelter. The city of Caen organizes guided tours of this cooler every Monday, although it is seldom open to the public.
Caen stone, a symbol of the city, is a limestone rock used since ancient times. It's ocher in color, easy to cut, and exhibits fine, homogeneous characteristics. Formed 165 million years ago, this stone is exported to Belgium, Holland, and Germany. It has been used in notable structures such as the Canterbury Cathedral, Buckingham Palace in England, and the Saint-Pierre Church and the two abbeys in Caen. If time permits, visit a Cintheaux quarry to witness the extraction process firsthand.
Floral Park of the Bird Hill
The Bird Hill, a sprawling green space spanning 17 hectares, is located near the Caen Memorial. It includes a must-see rose garden. The park is open year-round from 10 am, with free entry. Guided tours can also be arranged by appointment.
Museums in Caen
The Museum of Initiation to Nature, situated in the historic Abbaye-aux-Hommes, focuses on the ecosystem of Normandy, featuring Raptors from Bocage, preserved marsh birds, and seabirds. A touchpad enhances the visit experience. Museums and sites in Vieux-la-Romaine, located 15 minutes from Caen, offer a glimpse into Gallo-Roman daily life through archaeological remains. For an immersive experience, films, tactile exhibits, and collections are staged. Other notable museums include the Caen Memorial Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Normandy Museum.
Leisure Activities in Caen
Caen offers a myriad of leisure activities including guided city tours with musical walks and theatrical tours, museum explorations, climbing courses, and air sports. Spend a day at Festyland, the largest amusement park in Normandy. For an engaging exploration, choose the riddle trail or cycling circuits, which don't require a guide. For a gastronomic adventure, try the local pancakes, buckwheat burgers, and Orne cheeses. The city, known for Guillaume de Conquérant, is teeming with creperies and tea rooms where you can savor these local specialties.
Are there comfortable hotels and accommodation for tourists in Caen ?
Accor Ibis Budget Memorial
For your stay in Caen, consider the Accor Ibis Budget Memorial. Situated just 10 minutes from the city center and 5 minutes from Caen Carpiquet airport, this hotel overlooks the marina and offers 80 air-conditioned rooms. Additional amenities include a 24-hour bar with a terrace and secure parking. The hotel is easily accessible via the A84 motorway and the Caen ring road. It is also equipped for guests with disabilities, making it an ideal choice for both business and leisure travelers.
Hotel B&B IFS
Hotel B&B IFS is located near the Caen Memorial. Offering room rates between 40 and 75 euros per night and a breakfast service at 6 euros, it's a budget-friendly option for your stay. The hotel is easily accessible by Line A of the tram. If you're seeking group accommodations, the Lemonnier Institute or the Robert Rème residence are among the top-rated establishments by tourists visiting Caen.
Stay at Hotel Mary's
For a luxurious stay in Caen, consider choosing Mary's Hotel, known for its high-quality services, warm hospitality, and unique charm. The hotel provides well-decorated, equipped, spacious, and well-maintained rooms that are non-smoking, furnished, and supremely comfortable. The hotel welcomes all guests, from couples and families to tourists and business professionals.
Staying at Mary's Hotel will facilitate your exploration of the city, as the hotel is situated just a few minutes from the SNCF train station. Additionally, several popular attractions are located nearby, including Rives de l'Orne, Caen City Center, Laser Game Evolution Caen, Escape Yourself, and the Cinéma Pathé. Numerous quality restaurants surround the hotel as well, such as Villa Al Taglio, La Fromentine, L'Oriental Couscous, and Le Bistrot Saint Michel.
Mary's Hotel offers a full suite of services to meet your needs, including room service for breakfast, complimentary newspapers in the lobby, luggage storage, fax/photocopying services, a concierge, and more. The staff is friendly, attentive, professional, competent, and responsive, ensuring that you have the best possible stay. The hotel has garnered a great deal of praise from professional clients for the quality of its services, so you can trust in their ability to satisfy your needs.
Make your reservation today! The team at Mary's Hotel will be entirely at your disposal to answer any questions you may have about their services or accommodations. Don't hesitate to reach out if you require a private car service from the hotel to any destination you wish to explore.
Discover the Abbaye-aux-Hommes
If you're visiting Normandy, and in particular, the city of Caen, the Abbaye-aux-Hommes is a historical and tourist site you must not miss. This building, constructed in the 11th century, remains a remarkable presence in the heart of the city and has managed to preserve its beauty over centuries.
A Place of Worship
Still an active Roman Catholic place of worship, the Abbaye-aux-Hommes is located in the west of Caen and maintains its Romanesque and Gothic style. However, it wasn't until after the end of the revolution that it solidified its role as a place of worship. Over the years, it has served various functions, even becoming the town hall in 1960.
A Historic Monument
When can you visit? The Abbaye-aux-Hommes opens its doors to the public from Monday to Thursday all year round, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Fridays, visitors are welcomed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. depending on the season. During summer, families and groups of young people can also visit on weekends and public holidays between the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Visiting the Abbaye-aux-Hommes offers a unique opportunity to explore a key piece of Caen's history while appreciating its architectural grandeur and timeless elegance.
How to get from Caen to Paris airports ?
Indeed, traveling from Caen to Charles de Gaulle Airport requires covering a distance of approximately 256 kilometers. If you choose to utilize a chauffeured car service and take the A13 route, you can expect the journey to take around 2 hours and 40 minutes under normal traffic conditions.
On the other hand, if your destination is Orly Airport from Caen, the journey spans about 241 kilometers. Again, under normal traffic conditions, the ride by car or mini van should take roughly 2 hours and 38 minutes.
Please note, these are estimated times and real travel duration might differ depending on the current road conditions, weather, and time of the day. It's always a good idea to leave some extra time for potential delays when planning your travel to the airport.