When you think of William the Conqueror, you don’t often think of all the monuments that are linked to his life. And yet Caen has numerous traces of his visits because he chose to reign from this city in Normandy.

We wanted to explore the monuments in Caen founded by William the Conqueror to get a better grasp of the period… And today we are taking you to the Abbaye aux Hommes!

The Abbaye aux Hommes, an architectural gem

Here we are facing the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen on the esplanade with its neighbouring French-style garden. The Abbey is immense and you feel like you have arrived in a castle!

At the entrance, you will see the flags, and you see that part of the Abbey is now the Town Hall.

For this visit, we have chosen to take a break at the cloister of the Abbaye aux Hommes. This a peaceful place where you feel like letting the time go by. Under the cloister arcades, you can also admire the tall, Caen-stone columns, the French-style garden and the Saint-Etienne abbey church. It’s magnificent!

The two big abbeys in Caen, the Abbaye aux Hommes and the Abbaye aux Dames, were founded by William the Conqueror to ask the Pope’s forgiveness for marrying his distant cousin, Matlida of Flanders, despite the church’s refusal.

Off to the Saint-Etienne abbey church

While we are following in the footsteps of William the Conqueror, you shouldn’t leave without a visit to the Saint-Etienne abbey church, the Abbaye aux Hommes church. The interior of the abbey church is a masterpiece of Norman architecture, and the Gothic choir has housed William’s tomb since 1087.

A pass to visit the 3 Abbeys of Caen

We like

  • The site’s Norman and Gothic architecture
  • The Caen stone decorating the monuments
  • The peaceful cloister of the Abbaye aux Hommes and the French-style gardens