Although Allied bombing leveled three-quarters of its buildings during WWU, Caen (pop.120, 000) has skillfully rebuilt itself into a vibrant university town. Its biggest draw is the powerful Memorial de Caen. The best of Normandy's WWII museums, it features footage of the war, displays on pre-war Europe, a haunting testament to the victims of the Holocaust, and a new wing exploring the Cold War.
Take bus #2 to Memorial.
Photo Gallery of Caen Paris
Click to on Photo for Next Caen Paris Images
(02 31 06 06 44; www.memorial-caen.fr. Open mid-July to Aug.
Daily 9am-8pm; Sept. To mid-July reduced hours. ?17, students ‚15. ) Flanking the ruined chateau of Caen's most famous denizen, the twin abbeys Abbaye-aux-Hom-mes, off r.
Guillaume le Conquerant, and Abbaye-aux-Dames, off r.des Chanoines, hold the tombs of William the Conqueror and his wife. (Abbaye-aux-Hommes open 9:15am-noon and 2-6pm; ‚1. 55, students ‚0. 80.
Abbaye-aux-Dames open M-Sa 8am-5: 30pm, Su 9:30am-12: 30pm; free. )
Trains run to: Paris (2Vau, 12 per day, ‚26); Rennes (3hr. 3 per day, ‚27); Rouen (2hr. 5 per day, ‚19); and Tours (3Mhr.
2 per day, ‚27). Bus Verts (08 10 21 42 14) covers the beaches and the rest of Normandy. The tourist office, pi.
St-Pierre, offers free maps. (02 31 27 14 14; www.ville-caen.fr. Open July-Aug.
M-Sa 9am-7pm, Su 10am-lpm and 2-5pm; Sept. -June M-Sa 9:30am-lpm and 2-6pm, Su 10am-lpm. ) Hotel de I'Univers, 12 quai Vendeuvre, has reasonable prices and a convenient location. From the train station, follow av. 6 Juin to its end and turn right.
All rooms have a shower, TV, and telephone. (02 31 85 46 41. Singles ‚28, doubles ‚33.
AmExV. ) H6tel du Chateau O, 5 av. 6 Juin, has large, bright rooms. (02 31 86 15 37; fax 02 31 86 58 08.
Singles and doubles ‚35, with shower ‚45.Oct. -Easter reduced prices.MCA7. ) Ethnic restaurants, creperies, and brasseries line the quartier Vaugueux near the chateau, as well as the streets between Eglise St-Pierre and Eglise St-Jean.
Get your groceries at Monoprix supermarket, 45 bd. Du Marechal Leclerc. (Open M-Sa 9am-8:30pm. ) At night Caen's old streets come to life.
Rue de Bras, rue des Croisiers, and rue St-Plerre are especially popular. Postal Code: 14000.