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Caen is a beautiful harbour town in the north of Normandy. In its centre is the famous Château de Caen. This castle dates back to the 11th century and was built by order of William the Conqueror. It is perched on a hill above the roofs of the city.
There are also two wonderful monastery churches, Saint-Étienne and Sainte-Trinité. Both buildings date back to the Romanesque period. Another interesting sight in Caen is the multimedia war museum, which tells the story of Normandy during the Second World War.
The Orne River flows directly through the city. This river flows into the English Channel. Le Havre, another very pretty harbour town, is only 50 km away. A day trip to Le Havre in a campervan is definitely worthwhile.
The University of Caen has a long history. It was founded in 1432 by King Henry VI. Its coat of arms is decorated with a phoenix. There is also an art school that offers many interesting courses.
Culture plays a major role in the city. The Musée des Beaux-Arts has an important collection of paintings. Those who want to learn more about the history of Normandy from the Stone Age to modern times should visit the Musée de Normandie. Both exhibitions are located in the castle.
Among the most beautiful parks are the Jardin botanique and the Parc floral de la Colline aux Oiseaux. The lush green spaces are a great place to relax from the cultural program and shopping.
Sun, clouds and wind are always alternating in the city. Therefore, the climate of the city has a special charm. Even if it rains in the morning, the sun can shine in the afternoon. The bathing season begins in mid-June and ends in October. You can arrive by campervan from May onwards. Then the temperatures rarely drop below 15 degrees Celsius.
In summer, visitors can expect temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius. On the coast it is always a few degrees cooler. Spring begins earlier than in Germany, with apple trees blossoming as early as April. It gets much cooler from September onwards, which is when the low season begins.
You can travel to Normandy in a campervan without heating until the beginning of October. In winter it is too cold at night, although it is rarely less than 10 degrees Celsius. The best time to travel is from May to September.
You have to expect rain all year round. But it never rains all day. After a few hours, the clouds usually disappear just as quickly as they arrived. For this reason, you should always be prepared for a downpour and have a waterproof awning for your campervan in your luggage.
Caen has many attractions to offer visitors. The main sights are the Abbaye aux Hommes Saint-Étienne and the Abbaye aux Dames Sainte-Trinité and the castle. However, the art museums and the great parks are also highly recommended.
Abbaye aux Hommes Saint-Étienne and Abbaye aux Dames Sainte-Trinité
These two monastery churches are built in the Romanesque style and are among the most beautiful churches in the whole of France. Saint-Étienne was the men's abbey and Sainte-Trinité the women's abbey. The women's abbey was founded in 1060 by Mathilde of Flanders. She was the wife of King William.
Architecturally, they are interesting because the ribbed vaults are considered to have paved the way for Gothic architecture. The ribbed vaults of stone replaced the old wooden ceilings. The lightly coloured sandstone from the region is world-famous because it can be worked very well.
The Chateau de Caen Castle
The medieval castle offers a beautiful view over the city. It is located in the centre of town on a small hill. Visitors can walk over the castle wall and enjoy the unique view.
Visiting the site is free of charge. The herb garden and the playground complete the offer. There are also two museums in the castle, but there is a charge for them. Guided tours are only offered in French and English, but some panels are also in German. The campervan can be parked directly under the castle in a multi-story car park.
The Mémorial shows the history of French Normandy. It commemorates above all Operation Neptune. In June 1944, the Allies landed in Normandy and liberated France from German occupation.
In addition, the European history of the 20th century is shown. The museum is very popular and is visited by over 600 000 people a year. Visiting a real bunker is very interesting. In addition, a Hawker Typhoon, an English fighter plane, which was used in the invasion, is on display.
Tip Rent a bike: There are very beautiful cycle paths along the English Channel. Tourists can rent very good and inexpensive bikes at the Cyclable bike rental, 32 Place du 36e Régiment d'Infanterie.
The following campsites are highly recommended:
Aire de Camping Cars
This site is a car park where you can stay with your campervan. Even several overnight stays are no problem, as this car park is specially declared as a camping site. The biggest advantage is the location.
The site is almost in the centre. All the important sights are within walking distance. Those who can do without comfort are guaranteed to be happy here.
Camping des Capucines
Camping des Capucines is a lovely spot to spend a few days on holiday with your campervan. The sea and the town are within easy reach of the site. The beautiful area is best explored by bicycle.
The staff at the site are very helpful and friendly. The pitches are quiet but not lonely. There are some good shopping facilities close to the site.
Camping Riva Bella Seasonova
This campsite promises pure luxury. The grounds are very spacious and well maintained. The plot for the campervan is separated by hedges.
There is also a huge outdoor swimming pool. The sanitary facilities are clean and modern. All these advantages are reflected in the price, the site is not cheap.
By campervan: The A13 motorway runs directly past the town. It is also known as the Autoroute de Normandie and connects Paris, Rouen and Caen. The journey by campervan from Paris to Caen takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
By plane: The Aéroport de Caen-Carpiquet is about 7 kilometres west of Caen.
Caen is a great place to discover by campervan. There are many different places to stay in the city. If you're not looking for luxury, you can even stay right in the centre. The campsites outside the city are of course greener and more comfortable. The highlights of the city are the Romanesque abbeys, the medieval castle, the museums and the wonderful green spaces. It is worth renting bikes in the city. The cycle paths in the area have been excellently developed.