Exploring castles throughout Europe has been a fascination of mine for over a decade, simply due to their interesting history and fortified construction. They are visual remnants and reminders of an era in history where the need for a fortified stronghold (both offensive and defensive) were important forms of land security, as well as a home for nobility.
There is one of these said fortified castles in the city of Caen, which is considered one of the largest medieval enclosures in Europe- Caen Castle or Château de Caen.
Caen Castle was very impressive with its towering walls built of Caen stone, its structural layout, tall towers, and of course its history. It was built circa 1066 by William the Conqueror, who successfully conquered England that year.
This castle was a place of power and a royal fortress during the Middle Ages. It was the residence for the Dukes of Normandy, and the Kings of England to hold their major assemblies. Caen Castle also had a long history of being a major English stronghold, especially during the Hundred Years’ War.
The castle was additionally used as a World War II Barracks, and was bombed during 1944 causing serious damage. In fact much of Caen was damaged during WWII, which is obvious when you look at the new post-war buildings from the view along the castle walls.
I remember looking at the city from the wall, and our guide told us to look around. To take notice of all the modern buildings, with the exception of the churches. He said the city had been almost destroyed, although the old churches were spared. Be sure to take notice of that when you view Caen from the castle walls.
One of Caen Castle’s favorite feature is the St. Peter’s Gate, which is at the castle’s entrance. It was constructed at the end of the Hundred Years’ War by the English to strengthen main gate. There is a drawbridge that you cross over the dry moat to enter, which added a bit of drama while walking into the castle.
Today, the castle functions as a museum that houses:
- St. George’s Church
- The Museum of Fine Arts of Caen
- The Museum of Normandy
- The Exchequer of Normandy (temporary hall of exhibitions)
- A Middle Ages garden
For visiting information, please visit- Chateau de Caen
When in doubt, travel…
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre
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