A little history of Caen men's abbey

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General view - ©Benoit-caen / CC-BY-SA General view - ©Benoit-caen / CC-BY-SA
Caen men's abbey Abbey Benedictine

William the Conqueror, king of England and duke of Normandy, founded the abbey. It was dedicated to saint Etienne in 1063, in Caen, which was the most powerful city in Normandy! The monastery became rich very quickly: there was a bakery, barns, stables, kitchens, a 17th century apple press...

Did you know Henri IV's son, the count of Moret, and even Mazarin were abbots of Caen's abbey? But the monastery suffered a lot, during the Hundred Years War and the war of Religion, besieged by Henry V of England in 1417...

Buildings were re-raised in the 18th century by Guilaume de La Tremblaye, famous architect of Saint-Maur congregation. Since the foundation of our abbey, they used Caen's white stone for the construction of buildings. It's a material we find in the cloister of Mont-Saint-Michel, cathedral of Cologne or London tower! In 1804, Napoleon transformed our abbey into an Imperial school. Buildings were damaged, one more time...

When World War II came, Caen's inhabitants took shelter in the abbey. Thanks to that, it was spared from bombings, because they drew big red crosses on the church's roof, which meant "no bombs" to the Royal Air Force...

By the way, the legend said that "when St-Etienne will collapse, England Kingdom will disappear..." (so said sir Robert Wace, in the 13th century). Since 1965, the abbey houses the city hall.


And also!