The Caen-Normandie urban area
Caen-Normandie is a population catchment area of nearly 400,000 inhabitants. It offers many contrasting landscapes and the range of activities that you would expect from a large urban area. The area provides both tranquillity and abundance, countryside and sea, town and countryside, and everywhere the French art de vivre and gastronomy.
Where you can take a break
In the heart of Normandy, whose quality of life and gastronomy are known to all, bordered by the beaches of the Channel (from Lion-sur-Mer to Ouistreham Riva-Bella) including one of the D-Day landing beaches (Sword Beach), Caen-Normandie enjoys a wild, unspoiled natural setting.
Here you can choose between countryside and forests, large towns and small villages, walks in the countryside or along the coast.
Where history begins
It is also an area steeped in history. Caen was founded by William the Conqueror in the eleventh century and it also has Viking roots. Its architectural heritage, – Caen Castle, the two Caen abbeys, the Vaugueux district (Caen), the Ardenne abbey (Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe), the church of Thaon (eleventh and twelfth centuries) and the castle of Bénouville, to name just a few examples – has been exceptionally well preserved and showcased.
Where the wind of Freedom blows
And this area is also a humanist one. Caen has the largest number of book shops per inhabitant in France! But although since the 15th century academic work has given this area an ongoing desire to develop knowledge and share ideas, the sacrifice accepted on June 6, 1944 for the reconquest of the Freedom of Europe means that the people who live here always have the price of peace and freedom in mind, and as a result, more than anywhere else, want to protect them, both for themselves and for visitors.
Where the love of good food is a fine failing
With its privileged location by the sea, the quality of its markets, renowned chefs and four-star restaurants, Caen-Normandie is also appreciated for its exceptional gastronomy.
Where you will find plenty to enjoy
In the history of the twentieth century with the Caen Memorial, in the history of the region with the Museum of Normandy, in the history of art with the Museum of Fine Arts, or higher still, the most beautiful coastal landscapes at the Pointe du Siège (Ouistreham Riva-Bella) and its belvedere overlooking the Orne Estuary and its seal colonies.
Caen has the largest number of book shops per inhabitant. Each has its own personal touch, its speciality and style. You can even have a coffee or a tea in some of them. But voyages of cultural discovery are also to be made in the town’s theatres, the Zénith, current music scenes (Le Cargö in Caen or the Big Bang Café in Hérouville Saint-Clair) or during the opera season of the Caen Orchestra.
Caen is one of the greenest towns in France (25% of its total area). Colline aux Oiseaux and its rose garden, Vallée des jardins, racecourse and its natural meadow in the town centre, the banks of the Orne and the canal, urban marina (the Saint-Pierre marina in Caen), Grimbosq forest 20 minutes away by car, all for sports activities or just walks. A short stay in a thallasotherapy centre will then be welcome!
Whether you’re following in the footsteps of the past in the Vaugueux district of Caen, or those of William the Conqueror in Caen Castle or the Abbaye aux Hommes, or his wife, Mathilde, at the Abbaye aux Dames, the medieval and natural heritage of the area is also to be discovered along the Caen canal, by the sea or along the Orne and its greenway (on foot or by bike).
Lovers of “Art Nouveau” villas on the seashore in Lion-sur-Mer and Hermanville-sur-Mer, will be spoilt for choice, as will lovers of the famous "Caen Stone", the golden limestone that adorns so many buildings, especially in the Saint-Sauveur de Caen square, and with which the many local churches (Caen is nicknamed "the city of 100 steeples"!) were built, for example Saint-Pierre church in the centre of Caen.
There are elegant boutiques to tempt you in rue Froide and rue Saint-Pierre in Caen (and nearby streets), shopping and leisure centres (Rives de l'Orne in Caen), supermarkets (Mondeville 2 or Mondevillage, in Mondeville) and shopping for the home (Ikea in Fleury-sur-Orne).