FALAISE CASTLE and CAEN
(ABBAYE AUX HOMMES)
A Tour Centred On William The Conqueror
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT?
Your tour guide will meet you at the train-station (if you will be travelling to Normandy on the day of the tour) or at your hotel in Bayeux or Caen. The drive from the aforementioned locations to Falaise takes approximately 45'. The tour of the castle, combining the history of the medieval fortifications and modern technology is meant to get the visitor immersed in the atmosphere of a typical Norman fortress. The visit of Falaise spans approximately 2h. From Falaise you will drive to Caen. A short stop at Caen castle will mark the preambule to the tour of Abbaye aux Hommes (fr. Men's Abbey). The abbey was one of the few structures located in central Caen that was spared by the rage of the allied bombings of 1944. From the Abbey you will head back to the hotel/train-station.
The first stronghold perched on the rocky outcrop overlooking the town of Falaise was attested late X century. Just a few decades later in 1027/1028 would see the daylight at Falaise the man destined to become one of the most prominent figures in European history: William the Conqueror. The latter, future king of England, as well as his successors, and ultimately, Philip Augustus, king of France, would turn Falaise into one of the most impressive fortresses in the region. In spite of the damage inflicted upon Falaise in 1944, during the last phase of the Battle of Normandy, when roughly two-thirds of the town was destroyed, the castle was restored after the war and may be regarded today as one of the 'historical gems' of the former Duchy of Normandy.
CAEN - ABBAYE AUX HOMMES
Founded in 1063 by William the Conqueror, Abbaye aux Hommes or Men's Abbey was consecrated eleven years after the Norman conquest. It is considered to be one of Normandy's most iconic landmarks. The abbey church, dedicated to St. Stephen, is the final resting place of its illustrious founder whereas the monastic buildings, restored in the XVIIIth century, form today the city hall. Listed as historic monument after the French Revolution, the abbey has had a tumultuous history marked by the Anglo-French confrontations of the middle ages, the wars of religion and, ultimately, the second world war.