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.
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.
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.
- L'abbaye d'Ardenne
- Les plages du Débarquement
- Les villes balnéaires de la côte Fleurie : Cabourg, Houlgate, Deauville, Trouville...
- Les petites stations balnéaires de la côte de Nacre
- Le pays d'Auge
- La Suisse normande
- Le Bessin
- Le Bocage virois
- Le Mont Saint Michel
- Memorial for peace: a modern museum focusing on Second World War and the Cold War
- L'abbaye aux Hommes (Men's abbey) and l'abbaye aux Dames (women's abbey), a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture
- Fine arts museum
- Museum of Normandy, within the Castle
- Caen Castle / Château ducal de Caen - William the Conqueror's castle, one of the largest medieval castles in Europe
- Saint-Pierre church
- Saint-Nicolas church and cemetery
- Escoville mansion
- Saint-Jean church
- Vaugueux district
- La rue Froide and Saint-Sauveur church
- Caen is 15 km away from the D-Day beaches.
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.
- On the bus website there is a map of the bus route to the D-Day beaches. Bus No. 70 takes you to Omaha beach, the American cemetery, and to Pointe Du Hoc. Bus No. 74 takes you to Arromanches beach, the location of the Mulberry harbors. Note the bus timetable as buses are few and far between so schedule your bus trip to take into account the few buses. Also, buses do not run when there is heavy snow, so check the bus website beforehand during the snow season.
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.
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.
The Vaugueux is full of restaurants.
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.
- Le Bas Manoir, 1 Route de Verson (On the west side of the perifirique.), ☎ +33 6 07 86 65 25, e-mail: email@example.com. High quality B&B with two rooms. Ensuite bathrooms, Free WiFi,access to garden, deliciuos breakfast. 18th century estate. €110.
- The little 17th century harbor of Honfleur (65 km north-east)
- The Pays d'Auge, typical landscapes and villages, horse farms (Le Haras du Pin is the most famous one), cheeses, cider, roman churches and half-timbered houses
- Deauville, the century-old-sea resort for the upper-class
- The world-famous Mont-Saint-Michel, at the frontier between Normandy and Brittany
- The Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey)
- The little sea-resort of Granville
- The fabulous landscapes of the Cotentin area