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Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey)

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Address: Esplanade Jean Marie Louvel | Caen City Hall, 14027 Caen, France
Phone Number:
+33 2 31 30 42 81
Website
Today
09:30 - 18:00
Open now
See all hours
Hours:
Mon - Thu 08:00 - 18:00
Fri 08:00 - 17:00
Sat - Sun 09:30 - 18:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Description:

The Men's Abbey - An architectural masterpiece of medieval art and 18th...

The Men's Abbey - An architectural masterpiece of medieval art and 18th century

Guided tours or self-guided tours of the monastic buildings (City Hall)

In the 11th century, William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, King of England, transformed Caen into one of the most powerful cities of its time, which the Men's Abbey is one of the most striking buildings from this period.

Born in Falaise in 1027, William was the son of Robert

the Magnificent, the future Duke of Normandy, and

Herleva, a tanner’s daughter. Upon his father’s death,

William became the designated sole heir to the ducal

throne. His succession to the throne was challenged

by the barons, who considered William to be Robert’s

illegitimate son. William quashed the rebels once and

for all in 1047 and became the undisputed Duke of

Normandy.

Towards 1050, William married his distant cousin Matilda

of Flanders, despite opposition from Pope Leo IX.

The Church forbade their marriage, so Matilda and

William sought atonement by founding the Abbayeaux-

Dames, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and the

Abbaye-aux-Hommes, dedicated to Saint-Etienne.

Work began on the Abbaye-aux-Hommes in 1066,

the year that marked the Norman conquest of

England.

Edward, the King of England, had named William,

the Duke of Normandy, to be his successor. Upon

Edward’s death and betrayed by Harold, Edward’s

brother-in-law, William took up arms to assert his

claim to the throne. William defeated Harold at the

Battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066. William was

crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey on

25th December 1066, whereupon he became William

«the Conqueror». On 9th September 1087, he died in

Rouen. According to his wishes, he was buried in the

Abbey Church of Saint-Etienne in Caen.

Abbey Church of Saint-Etienne

Consecrated in 1077, the abbey church represents the

oldest part of the site, with most of the features dating

back to the 11th and 13th Centuries. The choir was

redesigned in the 13th Century to reflect the prevailing

Gothic style and is home to the tomb of William the

Conqueror, Duke of Normandy and King of England.

Monastic buildings

The monastery was erected in the 11th Century, but

destroyed during the First War of Religion (1562-63),

before being rebuilt in the 18th Century. The monastic

buildings are built around a Tuscan-style cloister

epitomising the classical Italian style. The buildings

are today headquarters of Caen City Hall.

Together with the recently refurbished Place Saint-

Sauveur, the Abbaye-aux-Hommes represents a

unique heritage site.

Medieval buildings and agricultural

buildings

The abbey also used to be a farm and an inn. It still

houses a cider press, a carriage house and a bakery.

Two 14th Century buildings bear witness to the abbey’s

former role as a place of refuge and a political venue.

- Palais Ducal, which was restored between 2012 and

2013, now hosts the city’s art library and its collection

of contemporary art.

- The Guardroom, where City Council meetings take place.

read more
Book In Advance
More Info
US$ 554.30*
and up
Private Tour: Rouen, Bayeux and Falaise Day Trip from Caen
More Info
US$ 554.30*
and up
Private Tour Rouen Bayeux and Falaise Day Trip from Rouen
More Info
US$ 94.23*
and up
Private Tour: Bayeux Sightseeing and Caen Day Trip from Bayeux

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 471 reviews
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Here lies William the Conqueror!

Free to enter the Cathedral. Visited with my 2 children (6 and 8) after preparing them with a visit to the Bayeaux Tapestry and stories of castles, sword, shield and bow and arrow... read more

Reviewed 3 days ago
Nathanael W
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471 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 141: English reviews
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Free to enter the Cathedral. Visited with my 2 children (6 and 8) after preparing them with a visit to the Bayeaux Tapestry and stories of castles, sword, shield and bow and arrow battles. If you love the grandeur, workmanship and shear breathtaking experience of old cathedrals then visit Abbaye aux Hommes. The real life legend that was William the... More 

Helpful?
Thank Nathanael W
Birmingham
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

I had hoped for more from this and its sister Abbey. The ceilings are indeed beautiful but apart from the Grave of William the Conqueror not a lot to see. The Town Hall is using one of the buildings on site. The whole site on the outside are well worth looking at - just be prepared to be disappointed on... More 

Helpful?
Thank Stebham
Ingatestone, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

it is amazing that with all the carnage around Caen in the war, that this abbey was nearly untouched, yet many of the surrounding area was flattened. the interior is less ornate than one would have thought, but the stonework and masonry I first class

Helpful?
Thank jmcwwta
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this review

Hi, Thank you for taking a few moments to comment on your visit to the Men's Abbey. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your visit. We hope to see you again at the Abbey More 

Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
199 reviews
117 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Resting place of William the Conqueror. Place of refuge for public during the battle of Normandy. A must destination.

Helpful?
Thank Malillysr
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this review

Hi Mallilysr, Thank you for taking a few moments to comment on your visit to the Men's Abbey. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your visit. We hope to see you again at the Abbey More 

New Rochelle, New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 January 2017

I have been here many times and love it. The views change at different times of the day depending on the light. I've even caught Organ Practice there a couple times..my private concert. I am always drawn to the pictures of the WWII era when it was a place of refuge for so many. Don't miss this.

Helpful?
1 Thank docprof001
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this review

Hi, Thank you for taking a few moments to comment on your visit to the Men's Abbey. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your several visits. We hope to see you again at the Abbey More 

Brossard, Canada
Level Contributor
40 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2016

Very interesting abbey in the heart of Caen, especially its history during medieval times and during WW2.

Helpful?
1 Thank Huy N
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this review

Hi Huy N, Thank you for taking a few moments to comment on your visit to the Men's Abbey. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your visit. We hope your trip in Caen was enjoyable. See you soon at the Abbey More 

Caen, France
Level Contributor
46 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2016

A beautiful monument either the church or the abbey. William the Conqueror has been buried in the church but only a part of bone remain. Nowadays it's an important place to visit !

Helpful?
3 Thank Cygne-d-etang
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this review

Hello Cygne-d-etang, Thank you for taking a few moments to comment on your visit to the Men's Abbey. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your visit of the Saint Stephen Abbey chruch and of the monastic buildings. We hope you envoyed your stay in Caen. See you soon at the Abbey More 

Toulouse, France
Level Contributor
209 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 November 2016

Easy walk from the centre of caen. Just go and see it all, the tomb of William the Conqueror is here, steeped in history, a must see.

Helpful?
1 Thank TravelTrax1
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this review

Hi TravelTrax1, Thank you for taking a few moments to comment on your visit to the Men's Abbey. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your visit. We hope your stay in Caen was enjoyable. See you soon at the Abbey More 

Minnesota
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 November 2016

A must during this 950th anniversary of Williams win in England. Very moving to see. The marker is simple and understated. You may be disappointed if you expect it to be like those at St Dennis in Paris.

Helpful?
Thank RivardNM
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this review

Hello RivardNM, Thank you for taking a few moments to comment on your visit to the Men's Abbey. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your visit. Admittedly, the architecture may seem very simple, but it fits perfectly Norman style ... Sober and efficient We hope your stay in Caen was enjoyable. See you soon at the Abbey More 

St Helens, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
363 reviews
217 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 372 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 November 2016

Do not expect this to be elaborate and highly enriched......this cathedral was built in a more austere time. What there is however is nevertheless impressive. The shear scale of the building is enough to rival most European Capitals cathedrals. Inside there are some lovely stained glass and also some interesting features like the the ribbed vault, used for the first... More 

Helpful?
3 Thank Big_Jeff_Leo

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