Top attractions in Caen
Want to get a real sense of Normandy? Visit Caen. Whether you're here for the war history or on a quick trip to France, this is a great base to see it all. Here are the best places to see and things to do...
Also known as the Abbaye Aux Hommes (Abbey for Men) this former monastery was founded by William the Conqueror in 1063. Tours take place at 10:30AM and 4:30PM on weekdays.
Block out at least half a day of your Normandy visit to take in Caen's vast World War II museum. This truly modern attraction is updated regularly, so repeat trips will still provide something new to see.
This is the sister to Abbeye St Etienne (Aux Dames) and was founded by William's wife as part of their penance for marrying as cousins (yes, really). Visit early for tranquility.
William the Conqueror strikes again with his castle, where he would entertain visiting Dukes and Kings. A popular Caen attraction, you can tour the rooms, palaces, and dungeons.
Nestled in the heart of the castle is the museum of fine art, where you can view masterpieces from Monet, Coret, Rubens, and Corbet. Make sure to swing by the sculpture park.
This church offers wonderful medieval architecture, but the highlight is the beautiful stained glass windows. Also, the bomb damage, retained and on display, is interesting.
For a change of scenery and entertainment for kids and teens, visit this theme park. Entry is reasonable, at €19 for adults and €16 for children, and there's enough to fill a day.
Situated in northern France, you can't rely on Caen weather to stay warm or dry. Conditions are best in summer, so visit between June and August if you are looking to spend time at the beach. Throughout the spring and fall, the temperature in Caen is good for sightseeing in comfort, as log as you bring an umbrella just in case!
In mid-March, the Festival Aspect des Musiques d’Aujourd’hui takes place, bringing music and performances throughout the city. There are some great deals if you visit Caen in late September, as many attractions are free on the third weekend of the month, for the Journees du Patrimone.
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- Best time to visit
- Although Caen is packed with historical sights, the crowds never get too unbearable. Visit in summer to enjoy warmer days while still enjoying all sights at your own pace without worry of too many other tourists.
Things to Do in Caen
Top Attractions in Caen
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What people are saying about Caen
The trip was perfectly coordinated, the museum displays were tremendous, the tour of the beaches and cemetery was fantastic, and our guide was very knowledgeable, sweet and easy to understand. I would recommend this tour to everyone. The lunch that is included was great, as well. It was a long day and emotionally and mentally exhausting, but totally worth it. I can't say enough good things about this guide group and the museum. They were also very accessible by email to assure me that I would make it back in time to catch my 7:30 train to Rouen. We had only 7 customers in our van so we got to know each other during the course of the day, which was nice.
The tour was a mix of museum and background WW2 info in the morning, then a great lunch, then a trip to the beaches/cemetery in the afternoon which included more detailed history and vignettes and pictures. Our guide Olivier was wonderful as well! His command of English was certainly above what I expected and he was friendly, courteous, and clearly very interested in the history. Able to answer questions both for me (little background) and for my fiancé who is in the military and had a wealth of knowledge of DDay going into it. We both enjoyed it immensely and the cost was a bargain for all things included!
Our guide Roelin was not only expert at explaining the history and facts about what we toured but she presented the information to us with such care and passion to make it very clear and personal to us. I give her a great deal of credit as she has to do the same thing day after day with other groups. She was most impressive and memorable and I remember 90% of what she explained because she explained it so well.
I have toured for over 30 years and am well informed @bout Normandy and D-Day but I learned much from him and he could answer all our questions. Often he amazed us with his knowledge On the day of our tour one the trains bringing other guests was late by 1 1/2 hours the team handled it well and split up and got everyone together later. I was impressed with their commitment to their guests.
Laurent did a great job and managed to both entertain and educate both me and my 12 year old and 18 year old all day long. This was one of the biggest investments of our trip, but well worth it for a life-long memory and one of the most important educational experiences my children will ever have. Fantastic job!