Caen is a beautiful city in Normandy, with a vast cultural and natural heritage. Its flourishing started back in the 10th century under the supervision of the Dukes of Normandy. It was in 1060 when the construction of the famous Castle of Caen was started by William the Conqueror, to make it the seat of the ducal court. Mathilda of Flanders, the duchess, founded here the Saint Trinity Benedictine Abbey. The city soon became the capital of Lower Normandy and in 1204 was incorporated in the French Kingdom by Philip II of France.
The Hundred Years’ War did not spare the city – King Edward III of England took it over in just a day, killing thousands and ravaging the properties of the locals. Very soon the English left Caen following a victory at the Battle of Crécy. The hard times for Caen continued when Henry V took his revenge in 1417 on the city.
Caen also suffered heavily during the Nazi occupation and particularly during the Operation Charnwood. An important objective for the Allies, Caen was supposed to be liberated on D-Day. After severe bombings that destroyed more than two quarters of the city, it was finally liberated on 9th July.
World War II ruined a great part of the heritage of Caen, arguably spoiling to a large extent its spirit of a Normandy city. Much work has been done to recover it from the events, including complete reconstruction of the city and the university campus.