Our Hotels in Caen
Despite catastrophic damage suffered as a result of Allied bombing, the city has been beautifully rebuilt and is much more than a place of pilgrimage for European history buffs. Many of the most striking attractions in Caen are buildings that date back to the time of William the Conqueror, the most influential in a series of dukes who developed the city from minor Roman settlement to capital of Lower Normandy. Cathedrals and castles aside, reasons to visit Caen include a thriving restaurant scene and the proximity not only of the region's many beaches and coastal resorts, but also the idyllic countryside of the Pays d'Auge.
Looking for accommodation in Caen? The best Caen hotel deals are available through ALL Accor.
Top Things to Do in Caen
Those who wish to experience how the city may have looked before the conclusion of the Second World War should take a walk in Caen's Vaugueux district. Uniquely preserved from bomb damage, the pristine old quarter charms with cobbled streets and quaint half-timbered houses. It's also home to some of the best restaurants in Caen. Come to sample traditional specialties such as tripes à la mode de Caen (a hearty stew of tripe and ox feet), or to while away an afternoon over a glass of cider or calvados from the orchards of the Pays d'Auge. Afterwards, the city's most iconic landmark, the Château de Caen, is a short stroll away.
Commissioned by William the Conqueror in the 11th century as the new seat of the ducal court, this magnificent fortress resisted siege during the Hundred Years War, served as a barracks during the Second World War, and emerged from both conflicts relatively unscathed. Climb up to the belvederes for sweeping views across the ramparts, or visit the two museums housed within its walls. The first is the Museum of Normandy, which provides an overview of Norman culture from prehistory up until the Industrial Revolution. The second is the Museum of Fine Arts, with its collection of European masterpieces by the likes of Rubens, Monet and Rodin.
Two more top Caen attractions owe their existence to William the Conqueror: the Abbaye aux Hommes and Abbaye aux Dames (sometimes called the abbey of Sainte-Trinité) were both built by the duke to make amends to the Pope for having married his wife, Mathilde of Flanders, against canon law. The tomb of the legendary monarch lies in the Abbaye aux Hommes, although his remains were evicted from their final resting place during the French Revolution. Mathilde's black marble tomb is one of the highlights of the Abbaye aux Dames, along with the church's spectacular pink-hued stained glass windows.
For culture of another kind, explore the ballet, opera, theatre and musical performances on offer at the modern Théâtre de Caen.
Remembering the D-Day Landings
For many people, the area's connection to the Battle of Normandy is a major attraction. If you are among them, make the Caen Memorial Museum your first port of call – it's considered one of the foremost Second World War museums in Europe, with particular highlights including General Richter's underground bunker and archive footage from the D-Day Landings. A visit to one, some or all of the five D-Day Landing Beaches is also highly recommended. The beaches span over 70 kilometres of the French coastline from Sainte-Marie-du-Mont to Ouistreham, with the closest to Caen being Sword Beach. You can explore independently or join a guided tour of the beaches' museums, memorials and war graves.
Witnessing the site of so much human suffering can be an overwhelmingly emotional experience. For the perfect antidote, pay a visit to the Botanical Garden in Caen, with its exotic greenhouses and tranquil flowerbeds that showcase endemic flora from across Lower Normandy. Alternatively, La Colline aux Oiseaux is a wonderful floral park for families, with a spectacular rose garden, children's playground and animal park. It's conveniently located across the road from our hotel near the Caen Memorial.
Best Hotels in Caen, France
Wondering where to stay in Caen, Normandy? Accor offers a range of lovely hotels to suit all tastes and requirements. Five ibis budget properties located at convenient addresses in and around the city centre cater to those in search of a cheap Caen hotel, while ibis and ibis styles choices combine affordable rates with added amenities for those wanting a 3-star hotel in Caen or close to the beach in nearby Ouistreham. For added value, ibis styles hotels offer bed and breakfast rates, with a delicious morning buffet included in your stay.
For those in search of a more luxurious experience, our 4-star hotels in Caen range from a property on the city's northern edge, with a regional restaurant and meeting rooms, to a hotel in Caen city centre with a conference centre, fitness area and lounge bar overlooking Port de Plaisance. Looking for a pet-friendly family hotel in Caen? With its heated swimming pool, children's play areas and wooded park for walking your four-legged friend, Novotel welcomes all kinds of families.
Getting to Caen
Planning the practicalities of your weekend in Caen couldn't be easier. The city is well-connected by road to the rest of France – from Paris, the drive takes just under three hours. Alternatively, Gare de Caen is situated on the Paris-Cherbourg line and offers regular TER services to many destinations throughout the local region including Rouen, Rennes and Bayeux (all deserving additions to your Caen tourism itinerary). Bayeux in particular makes for a fascinating day trip, and the home of the famous Bayeux Tapestry is just half an hour away by train.
You can also reach Caen by air and sea. Caen–Carpiquet Airport is located roughly 7 kilometres west of the city centre and offers direct flights to several destinations across Southern France and Corsica. And Caen ferry port is 15 kilometres away in Ouistreham, with regular sailings to Portsmouth, England. If you plan on travelling from Jersey island to Caen, however, you'll need to cross from St. Helier to Granville and then drive (1 hour, 20 minutes) or take the train (1 hour, 45 minutes) on from there.