Château de Caen

Caen, France

The Norman Château de Caen was built in c. 1060 by William the Conqueror, who successfully conquered England in 1066. His son Henry I then built the Saint Georges church, a keep (1123) and a large hall for the Duke Court. At Christmas 1182, a royal court celebration for Christmas in the aula of Caen Castle brought together Henry II and his sons, Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland, receiving more than a thousand knights. Caen Castle, along with all of Normandy, was handed over to the French Crown in 1204. Philip II reinforced the fortifications.The castle saw several engagements during the Hundred Years' War (1346, 1417, 1450).

The keep was pulled down in 1793 during the French Revolution, by order of the National Convention.The castle, which was used as a barracks during World War II, was bombed in 1944 and seriously damaged.In 1946, Michel de Boüard, an archeologist from Caen decided to start excavations in the area of the castle to bring to the light medieval traces. The musée des Beaux-Arts, which was installed in 1967, opened in 1971.

The castle was constructed on a hillock and is now in the middle of the city. With an area of 5.5 hectares, it is one of the largest castles in Western Europe. It remained an essential feature of Norman strategy and policy.

Today, the castle serves as a museum that houses the Museum of Fine Arts of Caen, Museum of Normandy along with many periodical exhibitions about arts and history, Saint Georges church and the Exchequer of Normandy, used as a temporary hall of exhibitions, which seated the Court of Normandy.

There is also a garden showing plants cultivated in the middle-ages. The keep, now razed, had a large square section with round towers at each corner. As the castle, it was also surrounded by a moat. The top of the ramparts offers a splendid view of Caen. Some parts of the curtain walls were built during the 12th century, most of them date from the 15th century.

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Address

Rue de Geôle 35, Caen, France
See all sites in Caen

Details

Founded: c. 1060
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

H Mura (18 months ago)
Beautiful historic city. Great bicycle path takes you straight to the ferry and continue along the beaches of Normandy.
salimi chaimae (2 years ago)
Very beautifull free Castle, perfect to explore in a sunny day, to read or just relax, it gives the feeling of travelling back to the old days, and has the nice grace outside where you can just sit and relax. I love it.
Adam Waller-Toyne (2 years ago)
Spectacular and huge Norman castle. Free access to many of the features and housing some art and community venues. Great views over Caen.
David Gray (2 years ago)
It's worth a quick walk inside the castle area, it is well conserved and has been prepared to hold different exhibition and working areas. A very intelligent use of the old castle area. Also you can get nice views of the surrounding areas, especially towards the cathedral which is very close.
Carley Young (2 years ago)
What a historical beauty. We got to walk around the castle for free didn’t have enough time to visit any of the shops or museums. Views are breathtaking and you can see the entire town from the top. Awesome that the history signs all had English translations.
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