Home to some 115,000 people, Caen is the principal metropolis of Lower Normandy in northern France. Situated two hours away from the capital, Caen is a vibrant city, largely owing to the 24,000 young people studying at its long-established university. Founded by William the Conqueror and the site of the Battle of Normandy, Caen is also place of great historical significance. Caen predominantly comprises modern buildings due to widespread destruction during the Second World War. A handful of traditional buildings do, however, remain, meaning that the town offers the perfect blend of modernity and tradition. The city centre has everything a shopper or culture vulture could wish for in terms of boutiques, galleries and museums.
Caen is a city geared towards pedestrians. However, to explore the city, access to your own vehicle is advantageous. A hatchback will be sufficiently spacious and able to cope with the rural roads.
Driving in Caen
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
The impressive Viaduc de Calix forms part of Caen’s N814 ring-road, although it’s advisable to take care when driving on it.
Caen is well-connected to Paris via numerous major roads, primarily via the A13 motorway to the east of the city.
There are ample parking opportunities across the city, including a large number or spaces at the ferry port that are free of charge to use.
Highlights & Hotspots
Opened in 1988 to commemorate World War II the Battle of Caen, the Caen Memorial Museum is undoubtedly one of the city’s most popular attractions. The site is both informative and thought-provoking, allowing visitors to broaden their knowledge of the conflict that took place over the course of the 20th Century.
If you fancy a well-earned rest after a touring the city, head to the Jardin des Plantes, a peaceful botanical garden that dates back more than 300 years. With almost 10,000 different species spread over two areas, the site serves as both a museum of the plants and flowers unique to the Normandy region and a public park.
Caen is situated within easy reach of the coastline and therefore the region’s beaches. During the summer time, both visitors a locals flock to these long stretches of soft white sand to enjoy a spot of sunshine and a refreshing swim in the Channel. Ouistreham and Cabourg are just a couple of Caen’s nearest beaches and should take around 30 minutes to reach by car.
Caen is fortunate enough to have its own airport, Caen-Carpiquet, less than five miles away from the town. This small airport is currently only serviced by two airlines, offering domestic and seasonal flights.
Travellers looking for greater choice are advised to use one of Paris‚Äô larger airports and travel onwards to Caen by train, car or connecting flight. Caen‚Äôs train station offers easy access to Paris and other major cities.