A little history of Caen women's abbey
Matilda of Flanders, William the Conqueror's wife, raised this abbey. Why? Matilda and William were cousins, an union forbidden by the Catholic Church! The couple were excommunicated and in order to repent, Matilda decided to build a huge abbey.
After her death in 1083, the monastery became more and more prosperous: in 1250, 75 nuns lived here!
In 1359, the abbey was fortified: a big keep was put up next to the church. During the Hundred Years War, the English besieged the place, in 1434.
Duke of Bedford ordered the demolition of the fortifications. But the abbess objected to this, so our abbey was safe.
Next, it was admiral de Coligny's troops who besieged the abbey in 1562; they destroyed Matilda's grave.
In 1702, Guilaume de La Tremblaye (who also worked in the Abbaye aux Hommes, "Men's abbey") rebuilt the current buildings.
Then, it was sold during the French Revolution, then transformed into barracks in 1793. But the abbey was abandoned few years later...
In 1983, Basse-Normandie regional council owned it and restored it bit by bit: the cloister, the 18th century vestibule with its huge staircase, and of course the church dedicated to Trinity, raised between 1060 and 1080...