FALL BLOCK I - NORMANDY
From the Norman invasion of England in 1066 to the landing of the Allied Forces in 1944, Normandy has long played an outsize role in European history. Yet Normandy is also a charming part of France, with its quiet pastoral villages, its gastronomy (camembert, apples, cider, crème fraîche) and its rich cuisine. The city of Caen was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. 80% of this regional capital was destroyed during the 1944 Battle of Normandy. Rebuilt in the 1950s and the 1960s in the utilitarian style in vogue at the time, modern-day Caen nevertheless offers visitors a walled medieval castle, two ancient abbeys and several excellent museums, including a groundbreaking museum on war and peace. With a student population of over 25,000 and 4 campuses, Caen also prides itself as a dynamic cultural and intellectual center—with a nightlife to match, since many restaurants, bars, and discos dot the city.
FREE TIME SUGGESTIONS
Caen’s most important medieval site is the Men’s Abbey – now city hall – and, right next door, the magnificent, multi-turreted Église St-Étienne (St Stephen’s Church), known for its Romanesque nave, Gothic choir and William the Conqueror’s rebuilt tomb (the original was destroyed by a 16th-century Calvinist mob and, in 1793, by fevered revolutionaries).