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Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey)

Esplanade Jean Marie Louvel | Caen City Hall, 14027 Caen, France
+33 2 31 30 42 81
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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.
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“city hall” (10 reviews)
“red door” (4 reviews)
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Hours Today: 08:00 - 18:00
Suggested Duration: 1-2 hours
LOCATION
Esplanade Jean Marie Louvel | Caen City Hall, 14027 Caen, France
CONTACT
Website
+33 2 31 30 42 81
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Reviews (542)
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1 - 10 of 158 reviews

Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

We went for a walk early in the morning. We had the pleasure to experience the Abbey as the fair was taking place, in one of the annex. It was so beautiful to sit and listening to the voices of the choir. You must experience...More

Thank Heidi N
Reviewed 1 week ago

Gloriously located next to the brilliant Hotel de Ville Caen, inside the Abbaye is not only eye filling, but history-laden. William the Conqueror is buried inside, at the altar. By the way, the remnants of the foundation of his fortress are to be seen in...More

Thank Christopher P
Reviewed 1 week ago

The highlight of this visit for us was seeing the tomb of William the Conqueror, however, the interior is worthy of a visit alone, the stained glass was simply beautiful.

Thank JnVSydney
Reviewed 1 week ago

We plumped for the self-guided tour and were disappointed by how little there was to see in the Abbaye. It's seem almost entirely 18th century and if you've seen monasteries and cloisters before you could probably save the money and time. The big ticket item...More

Thank AllanJGJ
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We were visiting Caen and one of the places I wanted to visit was the Mens Abbey as William the Conquerer is entombed there. The abbey is a marvellous building, and as it was a sunday morning a service was taking place, which made it...More

Thank Leslie025
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Leave the city noise behind you as you enter ;in the church itself, almost a thousand years old, you can see the tomb of William the Conqueror; my favorite part is the cloister Can you imagine this place was a highschool from 1804 to 1961!

Thank mbcParisFrance
Reviewed 24 July 2017 via mobile

We parked nearby in u/g car park for 7 euros for about 7 hours. we took the self guided limited tour and enjoyed the small exhibition and the cloisters. No need to take guided tour to see William's tomb - you can access the church...More

2  Thank Viewlander
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this reviewResponded 26 July 2017
Google Translation

Bonjour, Un grand merci à vous d'avoir pris quelques instants pour rédiger ce commentaire suite à votre visite à l'Abbaye-aux-Hommes....More

Reviewed 21 July 2017

Incredible building, fortunate to survive WW2 as the church opposite didn't. The final resting place of William the Conqueror (or his thigh bone anyway). The WW2 bullet holes around the windows and in the cloister columns fascinated our children too. Normandy is the land of...More

1  Thank JW P
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this reviewResponded 26 July 2017
Google Translation

Bonjour et merci pour votre commentaire fort sympathique ! Nous apprécions toujours les retours de nos visiteurs sur leur expérience...More

Reviewed 17 July 2017 via mobile

Difficult to find entrance which appears to be at Hotel de Ville. Here you can buy a ticket to visit the cloisters which are interesting but most areas are reserved for guided tours. The abbey itself is also coloured on the map as guided tours...More

1  Thank Michael M
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this reviewResponded 26 July 2017
Google Translation

Bonjour, Un grand merci à vous d'avoir pris quelques instants pour rédiger ce commentaire suite à votre visite à l'Abbaye-aux-Hommes....More

Reviewed 11 July 2017 via mobile

At the edge of the city centre it is miraculous that this Abby survived the d-day landings. Commissioned by William the Conqueror it is also his resting place. Entry to the Abby itself is free and there are two entrances. You can also pay €4...More

1  Thank Kath M
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Responsable relations publiques at Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), responded to this reviewResponded 26 July 2017
Google Translation

Bonjour et merci pour votre commentaire fort sympathique ! Nous apprécions toujours les retours de nos visiteurs sur leur expérience...More

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frankenkat
7 July 2017|
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Response from Malillysr | Reviewed this property |
church 9.30am-1pm & 2-7pm Mon-Sat, 2-6.30pm Sun, cloister 8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am-1pm & 2pm-5.30pm Sat & most Sun
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