Driving guides

Driving to Caen

Planning on driving to Caen? Discover the best historical spots, charming bars and cafes in this bright city.

Visiting Caen

The historic city of Caen has quite a dramatic story behind it, from being founded by William the Conqueror, to being destroyed during the Battle of Normandy. It’s one of the main points of interest for history fans, or those with a connection to the devastating effects of the World War II.

Nowadays, Caen still has tributes to those who fought and lost their lives in the war. But it is also known for its art, boutiques and markets. If you’re looking to drive to a French town with a rich culture, history and plenty of off-the-beaten-track spots to visit, then look no further than Caen.

What to See in Caen

caen abbaye

The stunning interior of Abbaye aux Hommes

Abbaye aux Hommes

This is the resting place of William the Conqueror. Although, all that is left now is his thigh bone after Calvinists ransacked the building in the 1700s. When you visit the abbey, you can see that its architecture was inspired by English buildings; in fact, Abbaye aux Hommes wouldn’t look out of place in a British town. Fortunately, the abbey wasn’t damaged by the bombing in 1944, and you can still tour it today.

Chateau de Caen

Just over a ten-minute walk away is William the Conqueror’s home, Chateau de Caen. It was one of the most important castles during Norman times, where much of the strategy and policy that defined the era took place. It was severely damaged during World War II, and prior to that, during the French Revolution. But you can still visit the site, and wander through history.

Caen Memorial Museum

For a detailed and sobering account on the effects of World War II and the Battle of Normandy, the Caen Memorial Museum is one of the best memorials in Europe. The museum contains original artefacts from the war, so you can accurately see what life was like during those years. After visiting the museum, take a walk through the Souvenir Gardens, where you can see the memorials erected in memory of those who lost their lives.

Beuvron en Auge

If you are looking for a typical Norman village to visit on your drive to Caen, then Beuvron en Auge is a wonderful example. Just walking around the quaint streets, you’re immediately transported back in time, as you pass 17th and 18th century houses, with their low roofs and classic timber beams.

Many people who visit do so to explore the Cider Route, a 40km route that delves into the cider making tradition of the area. The route passes through Beuvron en Auge, so make sure you stop by if you’re following it.


The rich and famous have been flocking to the beaches of Deauville for decades.


North-east of Caen is one of the more upscale parts of Normandy, where the rich and famous have graced its beach for decades. If you are visiting from April to September, you can rent one of their famous beach umbrellas, only made in Deauville, which will keep you completely protected from the sea breeze.

This is also an area that anyone who is passionate about horses should visit. Flat races, jumping, polo and horse riding on the beach are all available.


One of the most popular places to visit in Normandy, come to Honfleur on your drive down to Caen for bustling streets, galleries and narrow houses, tightly packed against the River Seine. The town is nestled between two hills, Côte Vassale and Côte de Grâce, from the latter you can expect a glorious view of the Honfleur below. This is a great place to come to explore the shops and seeing the beautiful, brightly coloured boats floating along the river.

Where to Eat in Caen

La Galletoire

For a classic Normandy dish of crêpes and galettes, head to La Galletoire. If it’s a warm, sunny day, try to get a seat outside so you can have your crêpes under the golden sun.


Dine on rich, juicy burgers with a twist at L’Atelier. They are usually piled high with guacamole and onions, which makes them great for your Instagram feed. L’Atelier has quite a relaxed feel, where you can order and pay at the counter.

Where to Drink in Caen

Le Vertigo

Cocktails in a cosy atmosphere, great music and friendly bar staff. Le Vertigo is one of the most popular bars in Caen, and for good reason. Either come here for a pre-dinner drink, or make a night of it.

Where to Stay in Caen

Chez Laurence Du Tilly

Want a stylish, chic place to rest your head after a long day driving through France? Chez Laurence Du Tilly is the perfect choice. A townhouse in Caen which features three beautiful apartments and a cottage. The chic design has resulted in a hotel that wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of an interior design magazine.

cane castle

Caen is an ideal city to visit for a minibreak

Weather in Caen

Caen’s hottest months are in July and August, where it reaches average highs of 22C. Unsurprisingly, its coldest are December, January and February, where it’s usually about 7C. There is quite a high amount of rainfall all year round, so make sure you pack an umbrella and waterproofs.

Getting there and around

Driving to Caen from our Calais terminal is really easy and takes just over three hours. You can take the A16/E402 to A26, A29/E44 and A13/E46 to Boulevard Jean Moulin. Please note these roads contain tolls.

Once you hit Boulevard Jean Moulin, just continue to your first destination in Caen.

Caen is ideal for drivers, with plenty of places to park your car. Most parking is on the street, so give yourself time to find a space. The most popular places to park are on Port De Plaisance, Passage du Grand Turk and Rue des Fossés du Château.

Many of the car parking areas accept credit cards, so no need to worry if you’re running low on cash.

The history and culture of Caen isn’t far away. With LeShuttle​, you can get to Calais from Folkestone in just 35 minutes.

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