CAEN

France

Caen is a commune in the northwestern parts of France. It is the prefecture of the Calvadosdepartment. The city proper has 108,365 inhabitants (as of 2012), while its urban area has 420,000, making Caen the largest city in former Lower Normandy.

Info Caen

introduction

Caen is a commune in the northwestern parts of France. It is the prefecture of the Calvadosdepartment. The city proper has 108,365 inhabitants (as of 2012), while its urban area has 420,000, making Caen the largest city in former Lower Normandy. It is also the second largest municipality in all of Normandy after Le Havre and the third largest city proper in Normandy, after Rouen and Le Havre. The metropolitan area of Caen, in turn, is the second largest in Normandy after that of Rouen, the 21st largest in France.

It is located 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) inland from the English Channel, two hours north-west of Paris, and connected to the south of England by the Caen-(Ouistreham)-Portsmouth ferry route. Caen is located in the centre of its northern region, and it is a centre of political, economic and cultural power. Located a few miles from the coast, the landing beaches, the bustling resorts of Deauville and Cabourg, Norman Switzerland and Pays d'Auge, Caen is often considered the archetype of Normandy.

Caen is known for its historical buildings built during the reign of William the Conqueror, who was buried there, and for the Battle for Caen—heavy fighting that took place in and around Caen during the Battle of Normandy in 1944, destroying much of the city. The city has now preserved the memory by erecting a memorial and a museum dedicated to peace, the Memorial de Caen.

info
POPULATION : 108,365
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE :
RELIGION :
AREA : 25.70 km2 (9.92 sq mi)
ELEVATION :2–73 m (6.6–239.5 ft)
(avg. 8 m or 26 ft)
COORDINATES : 49°11′N 0°22′W
SEX RATIO :
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE :
POSTAL CODE : 14118 / 14000
DIALING CODE :
WEBSITE :

Tourism

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.


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 [www] 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.

History

Hundred Years' War

In 1346, King Edward III of England led his army against the city, hoping to loot it. It was expected that a siege of perhaps several weeks would be required, but the army took the city in less than a day, on 26 July 1346, storming and sacking it, killing 3,000 of its citizens, and burning much of the merchants' quarter on the Ile Ste-Jean. During the attack, English officials searched its archives and found a copy of the 1339 Franco-Norman plot to invade England, devised by Philip VI of France and Normandy. This was subsequently used as propaganda to justify the supplying and financing of the conflict and its continuation. Only the castle of Caen held out, despite attempts to besiege it. A few days later, the English left, marching to the east and on to their victory at the Battle of Crécy. It was later captured by Henry V in 1417 and treated harshly for being the first town to put up any resistance to his invasion.


Second World War

During the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War, Caen was liberated from the Nazis in early July, a month after the Normandy landings, particularly those by British I Corps on 6 June 1944. British and Canadian troops had intended to capture the town on D-Day. However they were held up north of the city until 9 July, when an intense bombing campaign during Operation Charnwood destroyed 70% of the city and killed 2,000 French civilians. The Allies seized the western quarters, a month later than Field Marshal Montgomery's original plan. During the battle, many of the town's inhabitants sought refuge in the Abbaye aux Hommes ("Men's Abbey"), built by William the Conqueror some 800 years before. Both the cathedral and the university were entirely destroyed by the British and Canadian bombing.


Post-war

Post-Second World War work included the reconstruction of complete districts of the city and the university campus. It took 14 years (1948–1962) and led to the current urbanization of Caen. Having lost many of its historic quarters and its university campus in the war, the city does not have the atmosphere of a traditional Normandy town such as Honfleur, Rouen, Cabourg, Deauville andBayeux.

The Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit filmed the D-Day offensive and Orne breakout several weeks later, then returned several months later to document the city's recovery efforts. The resulting film, You Can't Kill a City, is preserved in the National Archives of Canada.

Climate

Caen has an oceanic climate that is slightly mildened due to its somewhat inland position. In spite of this, summers are still cool by French standards and is a typical maritime climate in terms of high precipitation, relatively modest sunshine hours and mild winters.

Climate data for Caen

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)16.1
(61)
20.8
(69.4)
24.4
(75.9)
26.4
(79.5)
30.4
(86.7)
34.1
(93.4)
36.6
(97.9)
38.9
(102)
33.5
(92.3)
28.9
(84)
21.6
(70.9)
17.2
(63)
38.9
(102)
Average high °C (°F)8.0
(46.4)
8.6
(47.5)
11.5
(52.7)
13.6
(56.5)
17.1
(62.8)
20.1
(68.2)
22.6
(72.7)
22.8
(73)
20.1
(68.2)
16.1
(61)
11.5
(52.7)
8.3
(46.9)
15.1
(59.2)
Average low °C (°F)2.6
(36.7)
2.4
(36.3)
4.2
(39.6)
5.3
(41.5)
8.5
(47.3)
11.0
(51.8)
13.1
(55.6)
13.2
(55.8)
11.1
(52)
8.7
(47.7)
5.3
(41.5)
3.0
(37.4)
7.4
(45.3)
Record low °C (°F)−19.6
(−3.3)
−16.5
(2.3)
−7.4
(18.7)
−5.7
(21.7)
−0.8
(30.6)
1.0
(33.8)
4.7
(40.5)
4.0
(39.2)
1.8
(35.2)
−3.7
(25.3)
−6.8
(19.8)
−11.0
(12.2)
−19.6
(−3.3)
              
Source #1: Météo France
Source #2: Infoclimat.fr 

Geography

Caen is in an area of high humidity. The Orne River flows through the city, as well as small rivers known as les Odons, most of which have been buried under the city to improve urban hygiene.

Caen is 10 km (6 mi) from the Channel. A canal (Canal de Caen à la Mer) parallel to the Orne was built during the reign of Napoleon III to link the city to the sea at all times. The canal reaches the English Channel at Ouistreham. A lock keeps the tide out of the canal and lets large ships navigate up the canal to Caen's freshwater harbours.

Economy

The agricultural and food-processing Agrial cooperative has its head office on Caen. Agrial group processes vegetables, cider apples, milk, poultry and meat with the help of its 12,000 employees and all its partners.

Prices in Caen

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€1.04
Tomatoes1 kg€2.16
Cheese0.5 kg€6.00
Apples1 kg€2.40
Oranges1 kg€2.15
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.50
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€6.00
Coca-Cola2 liters€2.30
Bread1 piece€1.34
Water1.5 l€0.75

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€29.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€44.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€8.00
Water0.33 l€1.50
Cappuccino1 cup€2.00
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€4.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€4.00
Coca-Cola0.33 l€2.00
Coctail drink1 drink€8.00

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€18.00
Gym1 month€36.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€16.00
Theatar2 tickets€62.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.16
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€7.00

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack
Tampons32 pieces€5.90
Deodorant50 ml.€2.70
Shampoo400 ml.€4.50
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.50
Toothpaste1 tube€2.00

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€88.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)€45.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€97.00
Leather shoes1€108.00

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.30
TaxiStart
Taxi1 km
Local Transport1 ticket€1.45

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

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

Transportation - Get In

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.

Transportation - Get In

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.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

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


Transportation - Get Around

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

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping

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.

Restaurants

The Vaugueux is full of restaurants.

Sights & Landmarks

  • 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.

Things to 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.

  • On the bus website [www] 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.

Nightlife

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.

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