Pre-Departure #5: Caen, sweet Caen

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Notice the trend? My first Pre-Departure travel list was all of Europe, then all of France, and finally, things I want to see in my own city!

While a lot of people know about Paris, not very many people know about the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, the Northern region of France. After the movie Bienvenue Chez les Cht'is came out in 2008 which highlighted the stereotypes of the Northern French, but also showed that those stereotypes are not always true, a lot more people became interested in this place-less-travelled to.

It's about to become my home for four months, and I could not be more excited. I read this article from Lonely Planet (also my favorite guidebooks, and I definitely have one for France), and it made me even more excited. Did I mention that I was excited?

Anyways, here are some parts of Caen that I cannot wait to explore!

1. Caen Mémorial

Are you surprised that the museum is the first thing on my list? Neither am I.


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The Caen Mémorial is a Memorial of WWII, as well as a museum, and one of the best when it comes to the history of WWII (it even won a prize for excellence in 2014). The war truly devastated much of Europe, and the museum is located in a town that was integral to the Invasion of Normandy and D-Day. While it is known because it is the city of William the Conquerer, much of the old, historic city was entirely decimated during the war. The museum takes the visitor through the events that led to France's involvement in the war, from events at the end of WWI all the way through WWII and the period of reconstruction. It is also close to the landing beaches, which are vast and expand for miles. It is a sobering reminder of the atrocities of war, and serves as a way to learn about war and hopefully how to prevent it in the future.

2. Abbaye aux Hommes and Abbaye aux Dames

Abbaye aux Hommes
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Abbaye aux Dames
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3. The landing beaches

A lot of people think that there are only a few beaches where the Allies landed during the Invasion of Normandy (D-Day, 1944). In fact, there are several miles worth of beaches that stretch across the northwest coast of France.

A vintage photo of the invasion.
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A map of the different beaches and the routes of the Allies. Also, you can see Caen on this map!
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4. Musee de Normandie

Yes, another museum. However, it has a more broad overview of war, covering more wars than just WWII.

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5. Université de Caen, Basse-Normandie

Last, but certainly not least, the University where I will be studying (it is called studying abroad, after all).

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So there it is folks! Obviously there is a lot more to do in Caen than what I have written about here (one single blog post could never do it justice). However, my favorite part of traveling is just walking around a new place and discovering things as I go. Don't worry, I'll post all my discoveries on here.

Is there anything I should look for in Caen?

Thank you for reading!

xo,

Zoe

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