There’s a strange contradiction to Caen. The once favourite town of William the Conqueror was massively damaged in the fighting that followed the D-Day Landings, then rebuilt modern, apart from its most treasured monuments, which were painstakingly restored. Numerous Gothic abbeys and churches now bristle almost incongruously from the concrete, made all the more beautiful by their juxtaposition with what surrounds them.
A lively university town, Caen is also an excellent place to base a holiday to the Normandy landing grounds, with plenty of tour companies operating out of here, and good links to the beaches to the north. There are plenty of hotels to choose from in the town centre, and while you shouldn’t expect too much rickety old French charm, most are well insulated and comfortable. Keep aware, that around June every year – the D-Day anniversary – places fill up fast!
From €75/ night
Centrally located, though in a quiet side street, this hotel boasts pleasant modern interiors that just about pass for stylish: crisp white sheets, new wood floors, and bold colours on some walls. WiFi, en suites, and flat screen TVs in every room are, of course, standard, but it’s the friendly, helpful, English-speaking staff that really make it shine! Be aware though, the hotel occupies three floors, and there’s no lift.
From €66/ night
Old buildings are relatively rare in Caen, due to the destruction that followed the war, but this establishment in the town’s historic centre bucks that trend. Constructed in part from the traditional beige Caen stone, which predominates throughout the town, most rooms have exposed beam work, as well as modern insulation. There’s also a nice little onsite garden and a library. The staff are friendly, there’s WiFi throughout, en suite bathrooms, and all the rooms have TVs.
From €55/ night
Unpretentious, inexpensive, and comfortable; luxury accommodation this is not. But if all you’re looking for is a roof over your head in downtown Caen, you could do far worse. All the necessary modern conveniences are here, including free WiFi and ensuites in all rooms, and it’s excellently located, less than a five-minute walk from all the city’s main sights.
From €75/ night
A cozy, unpretentious hotel in the heart of Caen. The rooms are modern and carpeted, with calming autumnal colour schemes. All have en suite bathrooms and TVs, and there’s free WiFi throughout the building. The staff are bend-over-backwards friendly, speak English, and only too happy to offer restaurant suggestions, or help you find things to do around town.
From €67/ night
Among its other qualities, there are some strong links to Britain in Caen. Historically, this goes way back to the time of William the Conqueror (of England!), and more recently the Second World War, when Allied soldiers fought for two bloody months to liberate the town. Le Bristol, with its name, tartan wallpaper and sturdy wooden furniture is an example of this. It offers a northern coziness as well as friendly English-speaking staff. All the mod cons are also available here, from WiFi throughout to flat screen TVs.