Some famous people from and in Caen
Statues always make me curious. In Caen two caught my eye and here something about them:
Bertrand de Guesclin, a bastard son of a French nobleman, started a sort of guerilla war against the English oppressors in French territories during the wars between those two nations. His strategic insight soon is recognised and he becomes a knight. Though he gets captured twice, the extraordinary high ransom is both times paid. He manages eventually to push the English forces out of France (even out of Normandy, so a statue in Caen is justified) and is therefore seen as a hero in this country. There are several stories about his death, but most remarkable is that he actually is burried in four different places in France.
The other statue I met in Caen was that of Louis the XIV, the sun king. This wonders me how modern people can erect a statue to such an @%$*. A men that pressed the last penny out of his own people to finance an almost constant war to the surrounding countries, someone who sincerely believed that he was the sun and the earth was revolving around him. Well, let us hope that the same modern people never give power to such a person ever again.
Saint-Pierre - outside
The Cathédrale de Saint-Pierre stands opposite to the castle. Its façade dates back to the 15th century. The sides and the high Norman tower, whose steeple was rebuilt after World War II, are in flaming Gothic style. Instead, the apse goes back to Renaissance (1518-45). The inside is also very interesting, so come in!
Caen in Normandy
You have to remember Caen was virtually destroyed in World War II so much has been rebuilt and much is new construction. There is an old center but not nearly as large as some other cities further south.
You can walk these streets, walk to St. Pierre, walk to the Chateau and to both the Abbey for Men and Abbey for Women. There is excellent bus service and they have a very lively market on the pier Sunday mornings.
This is an imposing fortified wall in the center of Caen. It's a bit of a surprise to walk through the gates and find the chateau missing. The fortifications remain but the chateau was destroyed.
Instead you will find a pleasant Fine Arts Museum, a Museum of Norman Life, the Chapel of St. George that is now used for exhibits, an archeological dig and a fairly large parking lot.
All of these are worth a visit and the art museum has a very nice cafe with outdoor seating . . . weather permitting.
When you walk out the front of the Chateau, this view of St. Pierre is framed for you. Walk across the bridge, down the hill, across the street and into the church. They usually have a docent inside the church who will give you the history of the church.
The church has a curved apse very reminiscent of the cathedral in Quimper. There is also wonderful stained glass, especially if the sun is out.