I thought I would finish my posts on Normandy by posting a few pictures of Caen and Bayeux. Caen is not very beautiful but then, it is not entirely its fault. The city was absolutely decimated by Canadian and British troops during the Battle for Caen. What was supposed to be captured from the Germans in one day following the Normandy invasion turned into a two month war of attrition.
And yet, despite the destruction which is still evident even today, there are glimpses of beauty; the majestic Chateau de Caen (Caen Castle), the twin Abbaye aux Femmes (Women’s Abbey) and Abbaye aux Hommes (Men’s Abbey) dating from 1060 and 1063, respectively. These were constructed by the city’s most famous citizen, William the Conqueror, whose tomb lies within the chapel of the Men’s Abbey.
The Caen skyline
The Chateau de Caen, constructed c. 1060 by the town’s most famous native, William the Conqueror
Former Chateau Residence, now home to the Musee de Normandie
Saint Georges Eglise, Chateau de Caen
Pock-marks from heavy fighting which took place inside the Chateau during the Battle of Caen. The castle was heavily damaged by Allied bombing raids
Eglise de Saint-Pierre, viewed from the Chateau
Abbaye aux Hommes (Abbey of Men), with construction initiated in 1063
Former monastery of the Abbaye aux Hommes, currently home to the city’s town hall
Abbey church, home to the tomb of William the Conqueror. The church was used as a hospital during the Battle for Caen with a red cross on the roof to prevent Allied bombing
Tomb of William the Conqueror inside the Abbey church
What happened when a church didn’t have a red cross on it’s roof…
Although Bayeux is best known for it’s world-famous tapestry, a 70 meter long embroidered cloth depicting the events leading up to William the Conquerors conquest of England, the town is quaint in its own right. Smaller and quieter than Caen, the town offers charming side streets and boasts one of the region’s most impressive basilicas.
Building housing the Bayeux Tapestry. No pictures were allowed of the tapestry itself
Peaceful side streets of Bayeux. Or perhaps this was a main street. Either way, peaceful…
Spire of Notre-Dame de Bayeux, constructed in 1077 by William the Conqueror
Beautiful stained glass inside Notre-Dame de Bayeux