Visit Caen and its Château
William the Conqueror’s castle will conquer your heart!
Mighty and proud, it stands above you, overlooking the city from its rocky ridge, having stood there from the year 1060 all the way through the fire of the Battle of Normandy (from which it still weathers some scars) - the Château de Caen, the home of William the Conqueror. Over grounds of more than five hectares, this was a favourite residence of the Dukes of Normandy and Kings of England, who made the Ducal castle into one of the largest Medieval fortified complexes in Europe.
From royal fortress to barracks and then a prison, its rich and tumultuous history can be explored step by step from the restored ramparts to the monuments nestled against its walls. The Logis des Gouverneurs (Governor’s Lodge) is the site of the Musée de Normandie’s permanent exhibition. Its classical, symmetrical shape is a result of renovations between the 15th and 17th centuries, and it housed the bailiff's apartment (1338), the chief of the castle and the governors of the town and castle, and provided the necessary facilities for city administration and justice. Now you can discover the history of Normandy in a balanced manner across five different areas.
The Salles du Rempart (the Rampart Rooms) also provide a trail across three floors and covering 1300 m² all about the rich history of the Château itself. Ramparts, tunnel, remnants of a 19th century house - they’re all testaments to an illustrious history.
You may also see a rectangular building called the Échiquier. A fine example of Romanesque civic architecture, it was built in the 12th century by Henry I of England, son of William the Conqueror, to host meetings of the Courts of Audit and Justice. The kitchens were located on the ground floor, while the first floor would be the meeting place of barons and special guests of the Anglo-Norman Dukes and Kings, including Richard the Lionheart before he set off on the crusades.