Welcome to Caen

With its decent hotels, superb collection of restaurants, atmospheric streets and manageable size, Caen is a terrific place to explore; the easygoing city is also a launchpad to the nearby D-Day sights spread out along the coast.

Top experiences in Caen

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Caen activities

$154.14 Day Trips & Excursions

Normandy D-Day and Memorial de Caen Tour with US or CA Option

Your tour begins at Caen railway station, making it especially easy to join if you're coming into the city by train from Paris (own expense). Follow your guide to the Mémorial de Caen, a museum covering major historical events from the end of World War I to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Your guide - trained by the museum's historians - will explain the intense preparations for D-Day by both sides, and the tremendous significance of the day in the outcome of World War II. Feel free to ask your guide any questions you may have about D-Day as you indulge in a 2-course lunch served with mineral water and a glass of wine at La Terrasse, a restaurant at the museum. In the afternoon, board a comfortable, air-conditioned minivan and embark on a 5-hour guided tour of some of the most important D-Day sites you learned about during your Mémorial de Caen museum tour. First off, visit the artificial harbour at Arromanches-Les-Bains and watch the film "Normandy's 100 Days" at the Arromanches 360 Circular Cinema, before continuing to the American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, Omaha Beach and the Pointe du Hoc. Throughout your small-group tour, your guide will share stories that will humanize the stark statistics of World War II and D-Day. By the end of this powerful tour of historic sites, you'll understand just how much was at stake on D-Day and have a new appreciation for the men who fought and died in the war. Your tour ends at Caen railway station in the evening so you can easily catch a train back to Paris (own expense) if you wish.On Sundays and some Bank Holidays the guided visit of the Memorial de Caen museum will only last 30 minutes. This is because the first train from Paris arrives at 11am and the guided tour of the D-Day landing sites departs at 1pm. Please contact resa@memorial-caen.fr for more information.

$85.63 Cultural & Theme Tours

Normandy Battlefields Tour - Canadian World War II Sites

You’ll be picked up from your hotel or a meeting point in Bayeux in the afternoon for your half-day tour of Normandy’s Canadian World War II sites. Travel 30 minutes to the coast to your first stop, the Juno Beach Centre, located just behind the sand dunes of Juno Beach.First opened in 2003 by a D-Day veteran, Garth Webb, the Juno Beach Centre is the only museum in Normandy dedicated to Canada’s role in WWII. On your visit here, learn about the role the Canadian Army played in the war and commemorate the contributions and sacrifices these soldiers made during the liberation of France and the rest of Europe. Surrounding the museum you’ll see German bunkers and beach obstacles, Canadian and Allied military equipment, and historic monuments and sculptures.Your next stop is the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, near where the Third Canadian Division landed. Beautifully situated on a hill overlooking the Atlantic coast, this cemetery is the final resting place of more than 2,000 Canadian, British and French soldiers, including the 359 Canadians killed on D-Day.Continue to Ardenne Abbey, a masterpiece of Norman architectural design dating from the 12th century. Your guide will explain the troublesome history of the abbey, starting with the early years of the German occupation when it was a focal point for the local French Resistance. It was then taken over by Colonel Kurt Meyer’s regiment of the 12th SS Hitler’s Youth division. In June 1944, 20 Canadian soldiers were illegally executed here. The abbey was liberated a month later as the Canadians reached the city of Caen, and in 1945 Meyer was tried by Canadian Military Court and found guilty of war crimes.After your time at Ardenne Abbey, relax and reflect on the drive back to Bayeux.Please note: Due to special events taking place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, this tour may be amended on June 5, 6 and 7, 2014. It may not be possible to access the beaches, in which case alternative sites will be included instead.

$113.03 Day Trips & Excursions

Mémorial de Caen Admission and D-Day Tour from Caen

Mémorial de Caen Choose to explore the museum at your own pace on the same day as your guided tour or on a different day, whatever is most convenient for you (your admission ticket will be valid for 24 hours). This museum and war memorial tells the riveting story of D-Day within the larger context of historical events ranging from the end of World War I to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Learn about the preparation for and execution of the massive invasion by exploring on your own, or from your in-depth audio guide, available in six languages. You can enjoy lunch at the museum's restaurant or cafe (own expense). D-Day Sites Guided Tour Join your informative guide — trained by the museum's historians — for an educational and poignant morning or afternoon tour of sites related to the Normandy landings on D-Day that helped the Allies win the war. You will set off in a luxury, air-conditioned minivan and travel first to the Arromanches-Les-Bains' artificial harbor, where Allied forces brought in the hundreds of vehicles and many tons of weapons and materials needed for their assault. You will get to watch the 20 minutes' long film "Normandy's 100 Days" at the Arromanches 360 circular Cinema. Next, you will the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-Mer, where white crosses stretching far in all directions symbolize the terrible cost of war. You will then continue to the clifftop Pointe du Hoc, where the US Army Ranger Assault Group mounted a heroic attack. Your tour culminates with a drive past the main Normandy landing beaches including Omaha Beach and the opportunity to set foot on one of those beaches yourself.  Return to Mémorial de Caen after your 5-hour tour of D-Day sites with a much clearer understanding of how that fateful day helped define the outcome of World War II. Sites visited: the artificial harbour at Arromanches, Arromanches 360 Circular Cinema, the American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, Omaha Beach and the Pointe du Hoc.

$455.55 Multi-day & Extended Tours

2-Day Normandy, Saint Malo and Mont St Michel Tour from Paris

Day 1: Paris — Rouen — Honfleur — D-Day Beaches — Caen (D)Board the luxury coach in central Paris and leave the hustle bustle behind as you travel through the Normandy countryside. Your first stop is Rouen, the capital of the region. This historic city was once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, and a capital of the Anglo-Norman dynasties. Hop out for a walking tour of Rouen’s top sights, including impressive Rouen Cathedral and the site where Joan of Arc was executed in 1431.Continue your tour to Honfleur, known for its picturesque old harbor captured countless times by the famous Impressionist painters, including Claude Monet. Tour the charming old town and have free time for lunch (own expense).In the afternoon, head to the beaches of Normandy, where the D-Day landings occurred during World War II. Hear stories about the Allied invasions of German-occupied France as you visit Omaha Beach, one of the most difficult landing sites. Visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, overlooking the sea, where you can pay your respects to the fallen soldiers of WWII. Make a short stop in the coastal city of Arromanches, another D-Day site, before continuing to the city of Caen for a group dinner and an overnight stay. Overnight: 3-star hotel in Caen Day 2: Caen — Saint-Malo — Mont St-Michel — Paris (B)Enjoy a buffet breakfast at your hotel before embarking on the second day of your tour. Venture to the heart of Brittany to your first stop, the walled port city of Saint-Malo. Take a guided walking tour along the ocean-front ramparts, and visit Saint-Malo Cathedral. Enjoy free time for lunch (own expense). Your 2-day tour culminates with a visit to one of France’s most iconic attractions, Mont St-Michel, a historic abbey situated amidst a vast bay. Walk up the hilly village for a guided walking tour of the fascinating 8th-century Benedictine abbey, founded as a monastery by Archangel St Michael. Learn about its history, architecture and many uses over the years, including a prison, a castle, a strategic fortification and a major cultural and pilgrimage center during the Middle Ages. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.At the top of the hill, enjoy views over the bay, and don’t miss the amazing spectacle of the tide coming in and surrounding the entire island! Follow your tour with free time to explore and shop around the village. At the end of the day, hop back on the coach and relax on the drive back to Paris, arriving at night.

$127.38 Shore Excursions

Le Havre Shore Excursion: Private Day Tour of U.S. D-Day Sites

While your ship is in Le Havre, take this private tour of key American D-Day locations, when Allied forces landed in Normandy to retake Europe from the Germans during World War II.Meet your guide at Le Havre harbor and travel to Normandy’s coast in your comfortable private vehicle. On the way, listen as your guide recounts the story of the Allied invasion, led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The operation was set to launch on June 4, 1944, but due to poor weather conditions, the future US president postponed the mission. After a more promising forecast the next evening, Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for more than 150,000 American, French, Canadian and British troops to descend on five code-named beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. Visit Pointe du Hoc, where Army Rangers stormed a German clifftop battery. Learn how they managed to scale the 100-foot (30-meter) cliff on rope ladders and capture the German post despite being heavily bombarded.Head for Omaha Beach, the most challenging beach for landings because of its strong tides and formidable cliffs. Hear accounts of the brave US soldiers who waded ashore from a landing craft only to enter a relentless crossfire from the Nazi forces. Omaha saw the highest D-Day casualties with thousands of soldiers reported dead, wounded or missing.In the afternoon, visit the poignant Normandy American Cemetery, where 9,387 Americans are buried. The vast graveyard overlooks the “Easy Red” sector of Omaha Beach, near where many of the buried soldiers were killed. Then, visit the cemetery's visitor center to remember the heroes of D-day and the Battle for Normandy. View the compelling displays charting the attack, and see the vivid videos and photos that bring the campaign to life.Continue to the well-preserved Longues-sur-Mer battery, a German stronghold situated a 200-foot (60-meter) cliff. The original big guns still stand on the clifftop, a sobering sight to see as you marvel at the courage of the British Devonshire Regiment who captured the battery on June 6.After your tour, reflect on you day as you journey back to Le Havre port where your excursion finishes.Worry-free Shore Excursion: We will ensure your timely return to Le Havre port for this activity. In the rare event that your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

$107.68 Private & Custom Tours

Normandy World War II History Private Tour from Caen

During the nights of June 5 and 6, 1944, more than 16,000 paratroopers landed in Normandy, in northwestern France, and the D-Day invasion of World War Two began. Soon after, British, American, French and Canadian troops landed on various beaches on the Normandy coast and engaged in heavy fighting over the following days, which eventually led to the end of the European conflict of WWII.This flexible private tour from Caen allows you to personalize your own itinerary – see the sites and attractions you want for however long you want! Visit the famous landing beaches, like Utah Beach (the first beach secured by the Allies) and Omaha Beach (where some of the heaviest fighting took place, giving it the nickname Bloody Omaha). You can also visit the Airborne Museum of Saint-Mere-Eglise or the American Cemetery, on the eastern end of Omaha Beach, which commemorates the US soldiers who died in this battle. This expansive space of reflection is the final resting place of 9,387 soldiers. Or maybe you’d rather spend time at Sword Beach, where the British, along with Free French soldiers, began their invasion of Normandy and quickly moved to capture Pegasus Bridge. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the Hillman Bunker Complex, outside the village of Colleville-Montgomery; the Merville Battery Museum; and the Commonwealth Military Cemeteries, where messages and epitaphs bear testament to the lives lost during the Normandy invasion. If you’re interested in the Canadian participation around Juno Beach, visit the Juno Beach Center and the Canadian Cemetery near the villages of Veny-sur-Mer and Reviers. You can also choose to see the 12th-century Ardenne Abbey, initially the main point of French resistance and the site where 11 Canadian prisoners of war were executed. However you choose to customize your private tour, you are sure to have a fascinating and interesting day at the D Day sites of Normandy.