Top attractions in Caen
The 7 most fantastic sightseeing spots in Caen
Want to get a real sense of Normandy? Visit Caen. Whether you're here for the war history or on a quick trip to France, this is a great base to see it all. Here are the best places to see and things to do...
1. Abbey of Saint-Etienne
Also known as the Abbaye Aux Hommes (Abbey for Men) this former monastery was founded by William the Conqueror in 1063. Tours take place at 10:30AM and 4:30PM on weekdays.
2. Memorial de Caen
Block out at least half a day of your Normandy visit to take in Caen's vast World War II museum. This truly modern attraction is updated regularly, so repeat trips will still provide something new to see.
3. Abbey of Sainte-Trinite
This is the sister to Abbeye St Etienne (Aux Dames) and was founded by William's wife as part of their penance for marrying as cousins (yes, really). Visit early for tranquility.
4. Chateau de Caen
William the Conqueror strikes again with his castle, where he would entertain visiting Dukes and Kings. A popular Caen attraction, you can tour the rooms, palaces, and dungeons.
5. Musee des Beaux-Arts de Caen
Nestled in the heart of the castle is the museum of fine art, where you can view masterpieces from Monet, Coret, Rubens, and Corbet. Make sure to swing by the sculpture park.
6. Church of Saint-Pierre
This church offers wonderful medieval architecture, but the highlight is the beautiful stained glass windows. Also, the bomb damage, retained and on display, is interesting.
7. Parc Festyland
For a change of scenery and entertainment for kids and teens, visit this theme park. Entry is reasonable, at €19 for adults and €16 for children, and there's enough to fill a day.
Planning Your Visit
What's the weather like?
Situated in northern France, you can't rely on Caen weather to stay warm or dry. Conditions are best in summer, so visit between June and August if you are looking to spend time at the beach. Throughout the spring and fall, the temperature in Caen is good for sightseeing in comfort, as log as you bring an umbrella just in case!
When should I visit?
In mid-March, the Festival Aspect des Musiques d’Aujourd’hui takes place, bringing music and performances throughout the city. There are some great deals if you visit Caen in late September, as many attractions are free on the third weekend of the month, for the Journees du Patrimone.
Good to know
- Euro (€)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+01:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- Although Caen is packed with historical sights, the crowds never get too unbearable. Visit in summer to enjoy warmer days while still enjoying all sights at your own pace without worry of too many other tourists.
Other Sightseeing Options in Caen
Want to discover all there is to do in Caen? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Caen
Great tour with a wonderful and knowledgable guide. The day is very long but well worth it if you don't have your own transportation to get to the Normandy area. The bus was comfortable, and I'm assuming for safety reasons, they switched drivers half way through the trip, loved this! Thank you for a wonderful day and the education to boot!!
While the tour shows some amazing sites, the day is very rushed with little time at significant sites, and long stretches of driving in between. While the tour guides are great on the bus, there is little insight given once at the sites; and the “dinner” stop on the way home is a 30 minute break at a gas station.
A great trip well worth the money. Our tour guide was excellent, she had so much knowledge of the Normandy days landing and gave us lots of information during the day at each site we visited and during the coach journey. It was a long day, started at 7 a.m. and finished at 9 p.m. but glad I booked the tour.
Bridget’s communication skills are excellent and we enjoyed her many presentations. However, we noticed that most of the other tour guides accompanied their groups on the short walking tours and elaborated on the historical details. The details are always important. On balance, it was a very good tour.
The trip was great & the US cemetery was impressive. The only only downside to the trip was that the guide had such a heavy French accent that it was hard to understand at times. She was very nice & for what we could understand, she was very knowledgeable.