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Caen lies in northern France and is the capital of the Normandy region. The area is filled with many historic buildings from the late ruler William the Conqueror. During the battle for Caen on the beaches of Normandy, much of the city was destroyed. The only building that remains is the house off William the Conqueror. Today the city is a center of political, cultural and economic power. The D-Day beaches of Normandy are only 15 kilometers from the city center which makes the city of Caen a great base to explore the historic region. At the center of the city, you will find shopping and pedestrian zones. The streets are filled with fresh goods every Friday at the weekly street markets. The food from the Normandy area of France is extremely rich and hearty. It consists heavily of creams, cheese, beef and sausages.
One of the main attractions in the city center is the Abbaye aux Hommes. It is a Romanesque monument founded by William the Conqueror and designed to hold his tomb. His burial in 1087 was a big mess. The tomb was supposed to be held in the Romanesque church of St-Étienne however, plans went astray when his funeral procession caught on fire. His possessions were stolen and his corpse was dismembered and bones were later found in the river. During the Revolution, the tomb of William the Conqueror was ransacked. Today the tomb holds one lonely thigh bone of the conqueror.
Group tours of Normandy are available with personal information and knowledgeable guides to tell you all the historic details. The groups are generally small, about 8 people.
The Musee des Beaux-Arts de Rouen offers a near complete collection of paintings from the French Revolution, Caravaggio, Velasquez, as well as many from the French 19th-century. The museum boasts the largest group of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris.