Day 5 - 7/14/13 - Lyon to Caen

We took a northbound train from Paris to Caen, changing stations along the way. After a pleasant dinner in a plaza featuring a statue, we spent the night at the Caen Central Hotel. The hotel’s charm was enhanced by nearby fireworks and music from a hilltop castle. A Doctor Who-themed game shop on the ground floor remained unexplored due to its operating hours.

European Travel has always been special to us. Matt and I have made independent trips and several together. We always wanted to share the experience with our kids. But the expense and commitment of taking a family of four overseas is not insignificant. We saved up and timed the trip to coincide with the summer of Keira’s first year of college and Kenny’s first year out of High School.

Since it was unlikely that we would get to do this again we wanted to show them EVERYTHING. Show them, at least, the most important things to us. My grandfather, Cesidio Salce, emigrated from a small town in Italy. Matt’s father, Ken Kraus, arrived in France via Normandy on D-Day plus 25, as a forward observer in an artillery unit. He worked his way across Europe to an eventual role in the Battle of the Bulge.

Matt, his brother, Steve Kraus, and their Dad went to Europe in 1999 to retrace some of his WW II steps. Our family refers to that men-only trip as the “Saving Private Ryan” tour because that movie was instrumental in stimulating interest in making the trip.

About Caen France

  1. Historical Significance: Caen, located in the Normandy region of France was founded in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, who built two abbeys and a castle here. The Battle of Caen in 1346, during the Hundred Years’ War, and the Battle for Caen in 1944, during World War II, are significant historical events associated with this city.

  2. University City: Caen is a notable university city in France. It is home to the University of Caen Normandy, which was established in 1432 by King Henry VI of England. It was one of the oldest universities in France, until it was destroyed during World War II and subsequently rebuilt.

  3. Architecture: The city boasts Château de Caen, one of the largest medieval fortresses of Western Europe, and two Romanesque abbeys, the Abbaye aux Hommes (“Men’s Abbey”) and the Abbaye aux Dames (“Ladies’ Abbey”). The latter two were supposedly built as penance by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders.

Casa medieval, rue Saint-Pierre

Église du Vieux Saint Sauveur, in Caen, France, is a stunning 10th-century church, exemplifying the evolution of architectural styles.

The Statue de Louis XIV en Empereur Romain is a magnificent bronze depiction of Louis XIV as a Roman Emperor.

La Caravane, by the Dutch sculptor Joep van Lieshout - The artwork was installed just a month before we arrived, at a cost of 204,000 Euro, much to the consternation of the locals.

The Au Vélocipède moved the tables outside to enjoy the perfect weather. It was an incredible scene in this historic district and so relaxing.

Yum! French seafood salad!

Nice walk after dinner in Caen

Classic old-city narrow streets.

The area is impressively clean, providing a compelling argument for urban zones without cars.

All for today!

Gare Saint Lazare is beautiful! Here is some more information about it:

Twisto tram in Caen