Caen is the old capital of Normandy, home of the Viking race that conquered England in 1066 and erstwhile seat of the great William the Conqueror.

Although devastated by months of fighting during the Normandy invasion in 1944 Caen still remains a significant stop on the tourist map. The ramparts of Williamís castle still remain, although sadly thatís all, but there are many parts of the city that retain some of its nine-hundred year old grandeur.

Old churches and derelict abbeys can be found scattered across the city, offering excellent examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. But for the French, Caen is most significant as the capital of great produce, a base from which to explore the restaurants of the Pays díAuge region just to the south.

Exploring the surrounding countryside is a treat thatís not to be missed. A source of inspiration to the great impressionists such as Monet, itís the perfect example of picture-book France, a land of meandering back-roads and ancient half-timbered manor houses.