Normandy is a very attractive part of France. Its rural area and the seaside view have numerous travel destinations to offer. One of its biggest seaside attractions is Mont Saint Michel. However, Normandy’s historic city Caen is also a charming location for planning a holiday. This port city is loaded with many medieval masterpieces, beautiful Romanesque churches and important memorials which showcase the history of battles fought in Normandy. Vacation to Caen provides an offbeat experience to travellers.
Before planning a vacation to Caen, let’s go through the overview –
Vacation to Caen – A Beautiful Norman City
Caen is one of the largest cities in Normandy, France. This Norman city has a long history associated with it. This city has faced huge destruction during World War 2nd and the French revolution but later it stood again. Now this beautiful city beautifully representing the amalgam of modernity and historical architecture.
Caen is also rich in lush vegetation, which can be seen at the Château de Caen, an opulent park littered with fascinating historical relics and Colline aux Oiseaux.
Popular Things to on a Vacation to Caen
The D-Day beaches, Cabourg and Bayeux are other attractions near the city which you can visit after your Caen holiday. Check out the array of popular things to see and do on a vacation to Caen.
Caen Castle – Most Iconic Attraction of Caen
The Caen Castle or Chateau de Caen is one of the largest walled castles in Europe as well in France. This castle is constructed in 1060 by William Conquerant who was the king of England at that time. But in the 1944 war, this castle was bombed and devasted. Later Caen castle has been restored and converted into an impressive tourist attraction.
This majestic monument from the medieval era symbolizes the heritage of Caen. Inside this castle, you will visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts de which houses a great collection. This includes an extraordinary collection of European paintings from the 15th to 17th century.
Explore Musee des beaux-arts de Caen
Coming to the Museum of Fine Arts of Caen, as we stated above it is located in the vicinity of Chateau de Caen. This city’s fine arts museum displays more than 350 pieces of artwork from the French and European eras. Probably it is said that you will find paintings and other artifacts from 1300 to date.
The galleries you found here are a perfect example of renaissance and baroque which include artwork of Nicolas Poussin, Rubens, Veronese and Tintoretto. Documents related to the French movement and landscape portraits by Boudin are also the highlights of this museum. So it is a great place for art lovers when they are on vacation to Caen.
See William’s Tomb at Abbaye aux Hommes
Your vacation to Caen is incomplete without visiting the Abbaye aux Hommes. Another important medieval attraction of Caen is this Men’s Abbey. This beautiful Abbaye was established by William the Conqueror in 1603. In revenge attacks for their marriage, cousins William the Conqueror and Mathilda of Flanders ordered the construction of Abbaye aux Hommes and its neighbour, Abbaye aux Dames.
The structure is another Norman Romanesque masterpiece, Its facades, walls and Gatholic towers are adorned with unembellished ornaments. William’s tomb is a must-see within. Another highlight of this Abbaye is the spectacular St Stephen’s Church, with its Romanesque nave and Gothic choir.
Explore the Mémorial de Caen
Mémorial de Caen tops the list when you are on a vacation to Caen. This is a modern museum that gives honour to those who lost their lives in world war 2nd and displays all the memories of the war. There are a 70 m long tunnel through which you can learn how the battles were fought.
This memorial of Caen gives the message of peace thus sometimes people call it the Museum for Peace too. The galleries chart the build-up to the conflict, the French occupation, the holocaust and then the post-war era. It also focuses on the Cold War, displays artifacts such as the German Trabant car and Berlin Wall.
On Vacation to Caen, Admire Saint Pierre Church
The Church of Saint Pierre is an ideal example of majestic gothic and renaissance architecture. It stands tall with a height of 76m and its tower is soaring in the sky. This church was constructed in various eras from the 12th to the 15th century.
Its choir, facades and towers are decorated with light stonework which looks so mesmerising that it drew the attention of global tourists. Watch spectacular gothic vault in the choir and the late-gothic ambulatory chapels inside as well.
Relax at Colline aux Oiseaux
La Colline aux Oiseaux is a beautiful garden loaded with flowers which you must include in your vacation to Caen. The reason behind this recommendation is that this garden is a perfect place for relaxation and to enjoy with family. In 1994, the park was inaugurated to remember D-Day.
This 42-acre park has a huge rose garden, a scale model of Normandy, a boxwood maze and an animal park is also located inside it. Wander through the several gardens, plan a picnic and have fun with your kids here at Colline aux Oiseaux, Caen.
Learn History of Caen at Musée de Normandie
On your vacation to Caen, the Musee de Normandie or simply the Museum of Normandy showcase the thousand years of history and display traditions of Normandy which date back to the prehistoric ages. You will see ceramics that are 7,500 years old as well as tools and arrowheads found in Vierville and Neolithic burial objects.
With intriguing exhibits about cider and cheese-making over the years, you can learn more about how the Vikings came to settle in Normandy in the 10th century, as well as traditional Norman attire. The museum is divided into sections that display artifacts from the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and other exhibits that depict Caen’s rich past.
Take your Kids to Festyland Parc
Finally after completing your tour of Caen, now it’s time for fun and recreational activities so head towards Festyland Prac. This is the largest theme park in Caen, Normandy. Totally a destination for kids and adults. Yes, it is not like big Disney parks of Europe but contains small water slopes, rides and fun is guaranteed here.
Pirate, Viking, Medieval and Belle Époque are the four zones of Festyland Parc. In the Viking zone, there are two rollercoasters, four splash rides, and a variety of smaller attractions such as flying chairs, a 3D theatre and an adventure playground rocking boat.
In the end, I only want to say that, vacation to Caen is a must for all those who love art, culture and history. Yes, this city of France does not contain many attractions but for a small weekend getaway with your family members, you can plan a trip to Caen.