Caen
Kaem (Norman)
View of the Abbaye aux Hommes; The Abbaye aux Dames; Saint-Pierre Church; Rue Froide in the old town
Coat of arms of Caen
Location of Caen
Map
Caen is located in France
Caen
Caen
Caen is located in Normandy
Caen
Caen
Coordinates: 49°10′53″N 00°21′49″W / 49.18139°N 0.36361°W / 49.18139; -0.36361
CountryFrance
RegionNormandy
DepartmentCalvados
ArrondissementCaen
CantonCaen-1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
IntercommunalityCaen la Mer
Government
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Joël Bruneau[1] (LR)
Area
1
25.70 km2 (9.92 sq mi)
 • Urban
173.6 km2 (67.0 sq mi)
 • Metro
2,597 km2 (1,003 sq mi)
Population
 (Jan. 2021)[2]
108,200
 • Density4,200/km2 (11,000/sq mi)
 • Urban
 (2018[3])
205,708
 • Urban density1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
 • Metro
 (2018[3])
469,526
 • Metro density180/km2 (470/sq mi)
DemonymCaennais
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
14118 /14000
Elevation2–73 m (6.6–239.5 ft)
(avg. 8 m or 26 ft)
Websitewww.caen.fr
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Caen (/kɒ̃, kɑːn/, French: [kɑ̃] ; Norman: Kaem) is a commune 15 km (9.3 mi) inland from the northwestern coast of France. It is the prefecture of the department of Calvados. The city proper has 105,512 inhabitants (as of 2018), while its functional urban area has 470,000,[3] making Caen the second largest urban area in Normandy and the 19th largest in France.[4] It is also the third largest commune in all of Normandy after Le Havre and Rouen.[5][6]

It is located 200 km (120 mi) northwest of Paris, connected to the South of England by the Caen (Ouistreham) to Portsmouth ferry route through the English Channel. Situated a few miles from the coast, the landing beaches, the bustling resorts of Deauville and Cabourg, as well as Norman Switzerland and the Pays d'Auge, Caen is often considered the archetype of Normandy.

Caen is known for its historical buildings built during the reign of William the Conqueror, who was buried there, and for the Battle for Caen, heavy fighting that took place in and around Caen during the Battle of Normandy in 1944, destroying much of the city. The city has now preserved the memory by erecting a memorial and a museum dedicated to peace, the Mémorial de Caen.

Etymology

The first references to the name of Caen are found in different acts of the dukes of Normandy: Cadon 1021/1025,[7] Cadumus 1025,[8] Cathim 1026/1027.[9] Year 1070 of the Parker manuscript[10] of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers to Caen as Kadum,[11] and year 1086 of the Laud manuscript[12] gives the name as Caþum.[13] Despite a lack of sources as to the origin of the settlements, the name Caen would seem to be of Gaulish origin, from the words catu-, referring to military activities and magos, field, hence meaning "manoeuvre field" or "battlefield".[14] In Layamon's Brut, the poet asserts that King Arthur named the city in memory of Sir Kay,[15] although the historicity of King Arthur is widely doubted.

History

See also: Timeline of Caen

Early history

See also: History of Normandy

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Caen was known in Roman times as 'Catumagos', from the Gaulish roots magos meaning 'field' and catu meaning 'combat'. It remained a minor settlement throughout the Roman period and began to see major development commence in the 10th century, under the patronage of the Dukes of Normandy. Around 1060, William the Conqueror began construction of the Château de Caen, which became the centre of the ducal court. Duchess Matilda of Flanders also founded the Benedictine Abbey of Sainte-Trinité, Caen around the same time, eventually being buried in the abbey. Caen succeeded Bayeux as the capital of Lower Normandy, complementing the second ducal capital of Rouen.

Caen fell to Philip II of France on 21 May 1204, and was incorporated along with the remainder of Normandy into the Kingdom of France.

Hundred Years' War

Main article: Battle of Caen (1346)

In 1346, King Edward III of England led his army against the city, hoping to loot it. It was expected that a siege of perhaps several weeks would be required, but the army took the city in less than a day, on 26 July 1346, storming and sacking it, killing 3,000 of its citizens, and burning much of the merchants' quarter on the Île St-Jean. Only the castle of Caen held out, despite attempts to besiege it. A few days later, the English left, marching to the east and on to their victory at the Battle of Crécy. It was later captured following a siege by Henry V in 1417 and treated harshly for being the first town to put up any resistance to his invasion. In 1450 towards the end of the war, French forces recaptured Caen.

World War II

Main article: Battle for Caen

A Canadian Army bulldozer in Caen, 1944

During World War II, Caen was captured by German forces during the Battle of France in 1940 and placed under military occupation. In 1944, Allied forces launched Operation Overlord, invading German-occupied France and rapidly advancing through Normandy. From 6 June to 6 August 1944, the British Second Army fought the battle of Caen to dislodge German forces from the city. During the battle, Allied bombing raids heavily damaged the city and caused numerous French civilian casualties. After the battle, little of prewar Caen remained, and reconstruction efforts in the city continued until 1962.[16][17]

Postwar

Postwar work included the reconstruction of complete districts of the city and the university campus. It took 14 years (1948–1962) and led to the current urbanization of Caen. Having lost many of its historic quarters and its university campus in the war, Caen does not have the atmosphere of a traditional Norman town such as Honfleur, Rouen, Cabourg, Deauville or Bayeux.

The Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit filmed the D-Day offensive and Orne breakout several weeks later. It returned several months later to document the city's recovery efforts. The resulting film, You Can't Kill a City, is preserved in the National Archives of Canada.

Geography

Caen is in an area of high humidity. The river Orne flows through the city, as well as small rivers known as les Odons, most of which have been buried under the city to improve urban hygiene. Caen has a large flood zone, named "La prairie", located around the hippodrome, not far from the river Orne, which is regularly submerged.[18][19]

Caen is 10 km (6.2 mi) from the Channel. A canal (Canal de Caen à la Mer) parallel to the Orne was built during the reign of Napoleon III to link the city to the sea at all times. The canal reaches the English Channel at Ouistreham. A lock keeps the tide out of the canal and lets large ships navigate up the canal to Caen's freshwater harbours.

Population

The population data in the table and graph below refer to the commune of Caen proper, in its geography at the given years. The commune of Caen absorbed the former commune of Venoix in 1952.[20]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 34,805—    
1800 30,923−1.68%
1806 36,231+2.68%
1821 36,644+0.08%
1831 39,140+0.66%
1836 41,310+1.09%
1841 43,079+0.84%
1846 44,087+0.46%
1851 45,280+0.54%
1856 41,394−1.78%
1861 43,740+1.11%
1866 41,564−1.02%
1872 41,210−0.14%
1876 41,181−0.02%
1881 41,508+0.16%
1886 43,809+1.08%
1891 45,201+0.63%
1896 45,380+0.08%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 44,794−0.26%
1906 44,442−0.16%
1911 46,934+1.10%
1921 53,743+1.36%
1926 54,128+0.14%
1931 57,528+1.23%
1936 61,334+1.29%
1946 51,445−1.74%
1954 67,851+3.52%
1962 91,336+3.79%
1968 110,262+3.19%
1975 119,640+1.17%
1982 114,068−0.68%
1990 112,846−0.13%
1999 113,987+0.11%
2007 109,630−0.49%
2012 108,365−0.23%
2017 105,354−0.56%
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.
Source: EHESS[20] and INSEE (1968-2017)[21]

Main sights

Castle

The castle, Château de Caen, built c. 1060 by William the Conqueror, who successfully conquered England in 1066, is one of the largest medieval fortresses of Western Europe. It remained an essential feature of Norman strategy and policy. At Christmas 1182, a royal court celebration for Christmas in the aula of Caen Castle brought together Henry II and his sons, Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland, receiving more than a thousand knights. Caen Castle, along with all of Normandy, was handed over to the French Crown in 1204. The castle saw several engagements during the Hundred Years' War (1346, 1417, 1450) and was in use as a barracks as late as the Second World War. Bullet holes are visible on the walls of the castle where members of the French Resistance were shot during the Second World War. Today, the castle serves as a museum that houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen (Museum of Fine Arts of Caen) and Musée de Normandie (Museum of Normandy) along with many periodical exhibitions about arts and history. (See "Timeline of Caen Castle". Archived from the original on 13 February 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2004.)

Abbeys

In repentance for marrying his cousin Mathilda of Flanders, William ordered two abbeys to be built on the Pope's encouragement:

Others

Administration

The coat of arms of Caen

Mayors of Caen have included:

Joël Bruneau was re-elected mayor in the 2020 municipal elections.[1]

In 1952, the small commune of Venoix became part of Caen.[20]

In 1990, the agglomeration of Caen was organized into a district, transformed in 2002 into a Communauté d'agglomération (Grand Caen (Greater Caen), renamed Caen la Mer in 2004), gathers 29 towns and villages, including Villons-les-Buissons, Lion-sur-Mer, Hermanville-sur-Mer, which joined the Communauté d'agglomération in 2004. The population of the "communauté d'agglomération" is around 220,000 inhabitants.

In the former administrative organisation, Caen was a part of 9 cantons, of which it was the chief town. These cantons contained a total of 13 towns. Caen gave its name to a 10th canton, of which it was not part. Since the 2015 canton reorganization, Caen is part of the cantons of Caen-1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.[25]

Transport

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Public transport

Urban transport network

The current Caen tramway opened in 2019.

Twisto is the urban transport network of Caen, including about sixty bus lines and 3 tramway lines.[26] The present tram network officially opened on 27 July 2019 replacing the Caen Guided Light Transit (French: TVR de Caen but known locally as the "tram"), a guided trolleybus network which operated from 2002 to 2017, which was closed due to reliability issues. The city previously had a tramway which operated from 1860 to 1937.

Rail

Caen railway station

Caen also had several main and branch railway lines linking Caen railway station (French: Gare de Caen) to all parts of Normandy with lines to Paris, Vire, Flers, Cabourg, Houlgate, Deauville, Saint-Lô, Bayeux and Cherbourg.

Now the SNCF operates the Paris-Caen-Cherbourg, Caen-Rouen, Caen-Le Mans-Tours, Caen-Rennes services and some others small lines,[27] while Railcoop will soon open new lines such as Lille-Amiens-Rouen-Caen-Rennes-Nantes and Paris-Caen-Brest making Caen railway station its north-western hub.[28]

Caen station is the second busiest in Normandy, after Rouen station.

Air transport

Caen - Carpiquet Airport is the biggest airport in Normandy considering the number of passengers and flights that it serves every year. Most flights are operated by HOP!, Volotea and the French national airline Air France operates flights to the French cities of Lyon, Nice, Toulouse, Montpellier, Marseille, Biarritz, Ajaccio, Figari, Bastia and Calvi.[29]

Water transport

Caen is served by the large port of Ouistreham, lying at the mouth of the Caen Canal where it meets the English Channel. A cruise/ferry service operates between Portsmouth, England, and Caen/Ouistreham running both standard roll-on-roll-off car ferries and supercat fast ferries, with the latter making crossing from March to November. The ferry terminal is 15 km (9.3 mi) from Caen with a daytime shuttle bus service for foot passengers. There is also a cyclist road from Caen to Ouistreham.[30]

Road transport

Caen is connected to the rest of France by motorways to Paris (A13), Brittany and Southern France (A84) and to Le Mans and central France (A88A28). The A13 and A88 are toll roads while the A84 is a toll-free motorway. The city is encircled by the N814 ring-road (Boulevard Périphérique) that was completed in the late 1990s. The N13 connects Caen to Cherbourg and to Paris. A section of the former N13 (Caen-Paris) is now D613 (in Calvados) following road renumbering. The Boulevard Périphérique includes a viaduct called the Viaduc de Calix that goes over the canal and River Orne. The canal links the city to the sea to permit cargo ships and ferries to dock in the port of Caen. Ferries which have docked include the Quiberon and the Duc de Normandie.

Education

The Caen skyline facing the Saint-Pierre Church. Photo taken from the Château de Caen – April 2007.

Economy

The agricultural and food-processing Agrial cooperative has its head office on Caen. Agrial group processes vegetables, cider apples, milk, poultry and meat with the help of its 12,000 employees and all its partners.[32]

Music and theatre

The Théâtre de Caen (1963) is the home of the Baroque musical ensemble Les Arts Florissants. The organization was founded by conductor William Christie in 1979 and derives its name from the 1685 opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

Notable people

Louis Gustave le Doulcet, comte de Pontécoulant
Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen, 1827

See also: Category:People from Caen

Caen was the birthplace or origin of:

Public service

The Arts

bust of Jules Danbé
Laure Adler, 2012

Science and business

Guillaume-François Rouelle

Sport

Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, 2009

International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in France

Caen is twinned with:[50]

Sport

Stade Michel d'Ornano

From 1947 to 2006, Caen was a stage of the Tour de France a total of 15 times.[52] Further, Caen was one of the hosts of the EuroBasket 1983. The city has a football team, SM Caen. The Drakkars de Caen play ice hockey in the FFHG Division 1. In 2014, Caen was the location of the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games.

Symbols

Heraldry

Current arms:

Gules, a single-towered open castle Or, windowed and masoned sable.

Under the Ancien Régime: Per fess, gules and azure, 3 fleurs de lys Or.

During the First French Empire: Gules, a single-towered castle Or, a chief of Good Imperial Cities (gules, 3 bees Or).

Motto

Today, Caen has no motto, but it used to have one, which did not survive the French Revolution. As a result, its spelling is archaic and has not been updated:[54]

Un Dieu, un Roy, une Foy, une Loy.

(One God, one King, one Faith, one Law.)

This motto is reflected in a notable old Chant royal.[55]

Code

Caen's home port code is CN.

Climate

Caen has an oceanic climate that is somewhat ameliorated due to its slightly inland position. In spite of this, summers are still cool by French standards and the climate is typically maritime in terms of high precipitation, relatively modest sunshine hours and mild winters.

Climate data for Caen (CFR), elevation: 67 m (220 ft), 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1945–present, humidity 1961–1990
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.8
(62.2)
20.8
(69.4)
24.9
(76.8)
26.6
(79.9)
30.4
(86.7)
35.2
(95.4)
40.1
(104.2)
38.9
(102.0)
33.5
(92.3)
29.6
(85.3)
21.6
(70.9)
17.3
(63.1)
40.1
(104.2)
Mean maximum °C (°F) 13.8
(56.8)
14.7
(58.5)
19.0
(66.2)
22.4
(72.3)
25.6
(78.1)
29.7
(85.5)
31.3
(88.3)
31.4
(88.5)
27.4
(81.3)
22.3
(72.1)
17.1
(62.8)
14.0
(57.2)
33.0
(91.4)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 8.3
(46.9)
9.1
(48.4)
11.7
(53.1)
14.4
(57.9)
17.4
(63.3)
20.5
(68.9)
22.9
(73.2)
23.2
(73.8)
20.4
(68.7)
16.2
(61.2)
11.8
(53.2)
8.8
(47.8)
15.4
(59.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.6
(42.1)
5.9
(42.6)
8.0
(46.4)
10.0
(50.0)
13.0
(55.4)
15.9
(60.6)
18.0
(64.4)
18.3
(64.9)
15.8
(60.4)
12.5
(54.5)
8.7
(47.7)
6.1
(43.0)
11.5
(52.7)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 2.9
(37.2)
2.8
(37.0)
4.2
(39.6)
5.5
(41.9)
8.5
(47.3)
11.2
(52.2)
13.1
(55.6)
13.3
(55.9)
11.1
(52.0)
8.8
(47.8)
5.6
(42.1)
3.3
(37.9)
7.5
(45.5)
Mean minimum °C (°F) −5.1
(22.8)
−3.8
(25.2)
−1.8
(28.8)
0.2
(32.4)
3.2
(37.8)
6.2
(43.2)
8.4
(47.1)
8.3
(46.9)
5.9
(42.6)
2.1
(35.8)
−1.0
(30.2)
−4.0
(24.8)
−6.7
(19.9)
Record low °C (°F) −19.6
(−3.3)
−16.5
(2.3)
−7.4
(18.7)
−5.7
(21.7)
−0.8
(30.6)
1.0
(33.8)
4.7
(40.5)
4.0
(39.2)
1.8
(35.2)
−3.7
(25.3)
−6.8
(19.8)
−11.0
(12.2)
−19.6
(−3.3)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 63.1
(2.48)
52.8
(2.08)
49.7
(1.96)
53.4
(2.10)
59.4
(2.34)
58.0
(2.28)
51.1
(2.01)
59.6
(2.35)
54.3
(2.14)
78.9
(3.11)
78.7
(3.10)
81.3
(3.20)
740.3
(29.15)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 11.6 11.2 10.0 10.0 9.5 8.6 8.0 8.3 9.1 12.2 13.4 14.2 126.1
Average relative humidity (%) 86 84 82 80 81 82 81 81 83 86 86 87 83
Mean monthly sunshine hours 71 90 130 179 203 213 219 205 171 117 82 67 1,747
Source 1: Météo France[56]
Source 2: Infoclimat.fr (relative humidity 1961–1990)[57] (mean max/min)[58]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French). data.gouv.fr, Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 6 June 2023. Archived from the original on 28 June 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
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  4. ^ INSEE. "France par aire d'attraction des villes - Population municipale 2019 >> Tableau". Archived from the original on 29 January 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
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  30. ^ Voie Verte
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Bibliography