Caen’s two great abbeys, Abbaye-aux-Hommes and Abbaye-aux-Dames, were founded in the mid-11th century by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as part of a deal in which the Church pardoned these fifth cousins for their semi-incestuous marriage.

Pedestrianised place St-Sauveur, 500m southwest of the château, is home to some historic mansions. Another attractive area for a stroll is Caen’s main shopping precinct, along and near pedestrians-only rue St-Pierre, just south of the park that surrounds the château.

Northwest of the centre of town, the highlight of a visit for many arrivals is the Le Mémorial – Un Musée pour la Paix – a magnificent museum dedicated to the Battle of Normandy.