Caen Off The Beaten Path

  • Mont Saint Michel
    Mont Saint Michel
    by Beausoleil
  • Beuvron-en-Auge
    Beuvron-en-Auge
    by Beausoleil
  • Falaise, Chateau of William the Conqueror
    Falaise, Chateau of William the...
    by Beausoleil

Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Caen

  • annase's Profile Photo

    Historical street: Rue du Vaugueux

    by annase Updated Apr 1, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Rue du Vaugueux
    4 more images

    This short, quiet, but very pretty street is pedestrian only. It is located between the Cean Castle and the port. It is one of the few remaining, very old and historical parts of Caen. Historical records mention the street for the first time in 1210. The street also gave its name to the suburb which was built at the foot of the collegiate church of the Holy Sepulchre. The area had previously a very seedy reputation, which remained so up to the 1980s. However, it is actually a very pleasant part of Caen nowadays. Apparently, the paternal grandparents of Edith Piaf had a tavern along the Rue Porte-au-Berger (nearby this street) at the beginning of the 20th century, and street was known for its numerous prostitutes. Despite its seedy reputation, Edit Piaf visited her grandparents here many times as a child.

    Interestingly, the tourist information had no idea about the street when I tried to ask them about this. I read about it online in French and couldn't remember the name of the street. We only came across it by accident when we walking to the Caen Castle (Château de Caen) and actually had to use another entrance at the back of the fortifications as they were renovating the main entrance on the city centre side.

    The houses along the Rue du Vaugueux are rather small and either made of stone or timber. The street is worth visiting after a visit to the Castle as it is full of small restaurants offering local specialities. It also is worth seeing even if you were just walking around as there is no traffic on the street.

    Almost all of the restaurants have a sunny terrace in the front and the locals sit outside even if it wasn't particularly warm! Beware of the opening hours of many restaurants on this street. They may only serve food from 12 noon to 2pm and then again in the evening from about 6 or 7pm to 10pm. Because many of these restaurants are very small, booking may be recommended. Most of them are also closed on Sundays and Mondays.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Women's Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Find the Ruins of St.-Gilles

    by hquittner Written Jan 3, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Ruins (1988)

    This is located near the Abbaye aux Dames (the Porte St.Gilles was close by). We took our picture 20 years ago and thought erroneously that it was part of a cloister of the Abbey. Thanks to Vter Pavlik_NL we can insert this note to compare with what has recently been restored. See his pictures. (We do not know the genesis of the destruction).

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Seniors

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Hotel de Ville, Cityhall and tourist office

    by Pavlik_NL Written Nov 27, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hotel de Ville, where the tourist office is

    Just next to the Abbaye des Hommes, another monumental large mansion requests your attention. This is the Mairie or Hotel de Ville (cityhall) of Caen. In it - for us tourists - a very important place: the tourist office. Here they can tell you everything about Caen and what events there might be of your interest. The building belonged to the Abbey and functioned as the appartment complex for the monchs.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    The ancient church of Saint-Gillis

    by Pavlik_NL Written Nov 27, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The ruins of the old Saint-Gillis church
    1 more image

    Near the Abbay des Dames and it's Sainte-Trinity church, a ruin is situated in between the housing blocks of Caen. Gracefully old bows are still standing straight in their battle against the time. Centuries have passed, as this remains from the one of the oldest churches of Caen already was mentioned in the early 11th century. Saint-Gillis church even as a ruin is still a special place. Especially because it's green surroundings in a living neighbourhood of the town.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    In memory to all those fallen, without a name

    by Pavlik_NL Written Nov 28, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    May we never forget them

    Within the castle of Caen one monument did make me stand still for a while (these monuments always do that to me). It was the eternal flame on the grave of the unknown fallen soldier, that let's us never forget that some have the misfortune to fight and fall for a cause, without leaving a place of memory, but still baring a name.

    Was this review helpful?

  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Look at the old Church of St.-Nicolas

    by hquittner Written Jan 3, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    St.-Nicolas
    2 more images

    There are many old churches and ruins of churches in Caen, besides the famous ones in the two Abbeys. St.-Nicolas is one of these and is worth wandering by. It was built in 1083 by the monks of the Abbaye aux Hommes nearby. It has never been rebuilt. The tower was erected in the 15C. It has a triple arched porch and an old portal. The conical stone roofs on the transept chapels are original. It is bordered by an ancient cemetery. It is located two short blocks north of the Abbey

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Seniors

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Saint-Pierre, in front of the castle gates

    by Pavlik_NL Written Nov 27, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Saint-Pierre, neighbouring the Caen castle
    1 more image

    Across the square in front of the castle of the Normandian dukes, a large speer shaped tower rises up gihgh towards the heavens. This is the Saint-Pierre that dominates this part of Caen city centre. The building is a gothic structure with inside a beautiful wide spacious ship is filled with light that shines in through a 1001 windows.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Say hello to the Saint-Sauveur

    by Pavlik_NL Written Nov 27, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Saint-Sauveur shows it's hidden secrets

    In the middle of the busy shoppingstreets of Caen, one suddenly stands eye to eye with the little but pretty Saint-Sauveur (Saint-Savior's) church. This was the parish church of the common Caen people and still it stands in the middle of the center of town. The surprise of this church is greater then with Saint-Etienne or Saint-Pierre, as this one is hidden in the streets and buildings of the old city centre.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Maison de Quatrans, miraculously spared

    by Pavlik_NL Written Nov 28, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The colourful

    In 1944 Caen was bombed several times in advance to the Battle of Normandie, which eventually brought even more damage to the town. Many monumental buildings were detroyed or damaged, but miraculously saved was the magnificent "vakwerk" (woodwork) "Maison de Quatrans". Therefore it now is one of the best examples of 14th century architecture in Caen as well as Normandie. Some even say it is the largest here in it's kind.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Some famous people from and in Caen

    by Pavlik_NL Written Nov 28, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A statue of Bertrand de Guesclin
    1 more image

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    The small church of Saint-Laurent

    by Pavlik_NL Written Nov 28, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Saint Laurent (?) in Caen

    Can't tell much about this little church that I saw dedicated to Saint-Laurent in the centre of Caen. I liked it's baroque facade and it's pastel colours, as I saw it from the park in which we played with Ilja.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Visit the area around Caen, beautiful!

    by Beausoleil Updated Apr 29, 2013
    Harbor at Honfleur
    4 more images

    There are many things to do in the area of Caen. You can base yourself in Caen, Bayeux or one of the charming small villages nearby. We once spent a month in Cauvicourt and had plenty to do the entire time.

    Caen is in the region of Calvados in Basse Normandie. We have spent time in both Basse Normandie and in Haute Normandie, two very different versions of Normandy. Basse (Low) Normandie is famous for the D-Day beaches and Haute (High) Normandy is known best for Giverny and Monet's Gardens. There is much more in each.

    Consider looking for Plus Beaux Villes of France, always a delight although warmer months have more flowers and activities. Plus Beaux Villages of France

    Some of the things we've visited are:
    D-Day Beaches Web Site
    Bayeux Tapestry
    Bayeux Cathedral
    Villedieu-les-Poëlles for copper
    Museums of Villedieu-les-Poelles Scroll down for English
    Giverny for Monet's Gardens
    Museum of American Impressionists
    Le Mont Saint Michel
    Rouen for the Joan of Arc sites and the city
    Official Rouen Tourist Office
    Vascoeuil for the chateau and sculpture garden
    Chateau Vascoeuil Official Web Site
    Honfleur for the harbor and Old Town
    Official Web Site for Honfleur
    Falaise for the birthplace of William the Conqueror
    Official Web Site for the Chateau of William the Conqueror
    Livarot for it's Old Town and the cheese factory
    Web Site for Graindorge Cheese Factory Tours

    There are many more things to visit so check the town tourist information web sites.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    The palace of justice, the district court

    by Pavlik_NL Written Nov 27, 2007
    The palace of justice in Caen

    Caen, as being the administrative capitol of Bass-Normandie (Lower Normandy) also has the seat of hihger court. This Palace of Justice is situated in a monumental neoclassic temple shaped building near the Abbaye des Hommes, the Hotel de Ville and Saint-Etienne-le-Vieux.

    Was this review helpful?

  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Stop at the Ruins of St.Sauveur-le-Vieux

    by hquittner Written Jan 3, 2008
    St.-Sauveur (1988)
    2 more images

    20 years ago while returnng from La-Trinite to St.-Etienne, while on rue St.-Pierre, we were halted by the appearance of a church ruin. We stopped to look at obviously neglected Gothic and Renaissance remains and its old tower. Only later did we learn of its name. It showed some feeble evidence of repairs but was quite photogenic, as you can see.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Seniors

    Was this review helpful?

  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    See the Church of St.-Pierre

    by hquittner Written Jan 4, 2008
    St.-Pierre (from the castle ramparts)
    2 more images

    The West Facade of St.-Pierre is readily seen from the ramparts of the castle and its belfry is a landmark of Caen, so it is not really off the beaten path, but it is easily neglected. We did not go in due to lack of time. It has a flamboyant Gothic facade with a prominent Rose window and a porch clearly studied from the castle. However one must go around the church to see the east end (early 16C) which is in richly decorated Renaissance style.

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Caen

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

88 travelers online now

Comments

Caen Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Caen off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Caen sightseeing.

View all Caen hotels