Caen

Part of the Château de Caen

Caen is the capital of Lower Normandy and of Calvados département in northern France and has a population of 115,000.

Understand

Caen is a college city and thus very active. It is a modern city; four-fifths of it was demolished in 1944 and rebuilt in the 1950s and 1960s. However, some old buildings remain, especially churches.

In summer, tourists (mainly British and German) gather in Normandy for Second World War memorials and the Memorial for Peace. Caen is an excellent base for visits to the D-Day beaches.

Get in

By car

From Paris, by A13 (toll). From Cherbourg by N13. From Rouen, by A13 or N175 (toll). From Rennes, by A84. From Tours and Le Mans, by N138, via N158, at Sées.

By train

Trains leave about every 2 h from Paris Saint-Lazare station to Caen and Cherbourg. It lasts about 2 h long and costs 33.30 €. If you book early, you can get tickets as cheap as 15 €. Out of rush hours, tickets cost 22.40 € for people under 25.

Note that the train posting in Paris St-Lazare can be confusing to the first time traveler. The train line number ("la voie") is not posted unil 15-20 min before the departure, so do not panic if you arrive earlier than that (notice that the train will be at a line number near the office "Grandes Lignes"). Look for the train heading to Cherbourg. Caen will not be the listed destination, as it is a stop along the way. Do not forget to punch ("composter") your ticket in one of the yellow machines before boarding to validate your ticket.

Caen's train station is a 15-20 minute walk from the centre of the city, and is frequently serviced by public transport.

By ferry

Ferries cross the Channel from Portsmouth (UK) to Ouistreham, 15 km north of Caen with buses from the ferry terminal to Caen train station.

By plane

The Caen - Carpiquet airport is connected to Lyon, Nice and Paris.

Get around

A guided bus in Caen

The bus verts will get you around Normandy easily. Within Caen and its close suburbs, use the bus and tramway network, called twisto. The tourist information centre in central Caen provides timetables and excellent maps of the city's public transport network.

See

Mairie (Town Hall)

Do

D-Day Landing Beaches. Caen is close enough to the D-Day sites to act as a base from which to explore the D-Day sites. It is a short train ride from Caen to Bayeux. From Bayeux train station, you can catch a bus to some of the D-Day beaches but services are infrequent; if you want to see more than one of the beaches you should rent a car or join a guided tour.

Many companies offer guided tours to the battle sites from Caen or Bayeux, and the Memorial for peace runs half-day tours of the landing beaches.

Buy

Sunday morning market. The market in Caen on a Sunday morning, around the port de plaisance is the 5th largest in France and is a great place to wander and buy some fantastic local produce.

Eat

The Vaugueux is full of restaurants.

Drink

The Rue Ecuyère, near to the Rue Saint Pierre is famous for its bars. If you are looking for a pub, you will find some at the harbour located Quai Vendeuve.

Sleep

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, July 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.