Parks, botanical gardens and nature areas… Caen is famous for its green spaces. It’s easy to get away from the effervescence of the city and enjoy a walk and a nap in the shade of a tree!

Enjoy exotic fragrances at the Caen Botanical Gardens

The Caen Jardin des Plantes was one of France’s first botanical gardens, first opened in 1689. There are over 8,000 exotic and Normandy plant species in the 3.5-hectare park.

Once in the Jardin des Plantes and the Botanical Garden, do not miss the flower pavilion which has become the emblem of the park. A little further, you will find the magnificent Sophora, classified as a Japanese remarkable tree, the olfactory workshop to recognize the smells of plants in the medicinal garden and the Orangery for a trip to the islands between banana and vanilla trees! Don’t hesitate to chat with the gardeners who always give great horticultural advice!

A nature break in the Caen parks

Why not make the most of a sunny summer’s day for a picnic in the parks of Caen? Head for the Vallée des Jardins (Garden Valley), the former meadows that are now large gardens and an arboretum! Here you will no doubt see a few joggers, cyclists and even some rabbits!

La vallée des jardins
La Vallée des jardins – © Calvados Tourisme / L. Durand

To please the children, go to the animal park of the Colline aux Oiseaux to meet animals of the Norman breed such as donkeys, goats, geese, ducks and even pigs. Also enjoy a 2000 m² playground and a mini golf course. We love to stroll in the superb rose garden and get lost in its labyrinth. In addition to being a 17 hectare landscaped park overlooking the city of Caen, it is also a place where ecological culture is practiced!

Panorama over Caen at Parc Michel d’Ornanos

The Michel d’Ornano Park is every bit the equal of the Gardens of Versailles! The French-style park is listed as a historic monument for its beautiful flowerbeds, avenues of lime trees and the hilly maze. It dates from 1774 and is laid out around the famous Abbaye-aux-Dames. And on the cedar of Lebanon hill you can enjoy the finest view over Caen and its spires!

Parc Michel d'Ornano à Caen
Cèdre du Liban, Parc Michel d’Ornano – © Caen la mer Tourisme

A vast area of nature on the outskirts of the city of Caen

A step or two away from the city centre is La Prairie, a green area covering 90 hectares! Here, people go jogging or enjoy a walk with birdsong as the soundtrack! La Prairie in Caen is also a bird reserve, where you can see over 200 bird species, including snipe, cormorant and herons. Normandy is famous for its many horse races. East of La Prairie, you can see harness races at the Caen Hippodrome, the capital of harness racing and trotter breeding!

Back to the Middle Ages in the Jardin des Simples

In the walls of the Château de Caen, we go back to the Middle Ages in the Jardin des Simples! There are vegetables of yesteryear, medieval and medicinal plants, walnut trees, apple trees … A small haven of greenery conducive to strolling, in summer you can enjoy the sun at the foot of the castle on the chairs and deckchairs set up in the Jardin des Simples.

Jardin des Simples dans l'enceinte du Château de Caen
Jardin des Simples – © Caen la mer Tourisme / Pauline et Mehdi Photographie

Stroll through the dormant cemeteries of Caen

While in Caen, a visit to the dormant cemeteries is an opportunity to discover several well-known local personalities. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, these small green spaces have now become places for walks where people like to walk. Granted, this type of visit may seem strange, but the decor invites romanticism with century-old trees and an abandoned state of nature, but still very well maintained.