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Calvados, an extraordinary heritage

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The wealth of Calvados, ranking in 1st position after Paris: 900 listed buildings and monuments,
Archaeological heritage, the Dukes of Normandy – religious heritage – châteaux and manor houses – typical villages and districts – industrial heritage – fortified farms – magnificent estates

Despite the destruction of many of the region's towns following bombardments during World War II, Calvados still boasts over 900 historical buildings placing it in first position among France's departments.


Both medieval and modern times have left great monuments in Calvados, stemming from civil and religious architecture alike: Châteaux in Caen, Creully and Falaise – Saint Stephen's, Saint Peter's and Saint John's churches in Caen – Notre-Dame de Guibray Church in Falaise, Norrey and Langrune churches – Bayeux and Lisieux cathedrals – Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives abbey church or Lisieux Basilica.


Ancestral rural habitat offers great diversity largely conditioned by specific agricultural economies, local lifestyle and the nature of the sub-soil. Each "pays" has its own particular traditional building style.
Many Calvados towns have impressive old town centres: the Vaugueux district in Caen – the many private villas in Bayeux – the Pays d'Auge with its charming and typical half-timbered houses – Orbec, Pont-L'Evêque – Honfleur but also the smaller villages of Beuvron-en-Auge, Beaumont-en-Auge and Cambremer.


Calvados has for centuries been a land of industry thanks to its mineral resources, the wealth of its agricultural activity and its geographical location close to major ports... The diversity of its industrial heritage is vast: spinning mills, tanneries and paper mills are dotted along the waterways. Lime kilns and tileries can be found close to the quarries. A particularly attractive heritage, since rural factories adopted local materials and construction methods. To this industrial heritage, we can add that of communication links, in particular railways: ancestral railway stations and small railway viaducts, all witnesses of past times stretching across today's many abandoned lines.


A few sites of major interest: Vieux-la-Romaine (the Roman city of Aregenua), the Motte d’Olivet in Grimbosq forest (11th Century medieval earth fortification), the Mont-Joly, ancient fortification (the oldest remains date from the Paleolithic Period), the Borne milliaire de l’Empereur Claude – Le Manoir (46 AD), ruins of a house and Gallo-Roman thermal baths in Lisieux hospital garden. And 9 further archaeological sites currently under excavation.


Châteaux: Vendeuvre, Coupesarte, Saint-Germain-de-Livet, Acqueville, Fontaine-Henry, Bénouville, Pontécoulant, Balleroy, Betteville, Crèvecoeur-en-Auge (Schlumberger Museum)...
Manor houses: Coupesarte, Manoir des Évêques in Canapville, Manoir Saint-Hippolyte in Saint-Martin de la Lieue, Dominican Convent in Pont-L'Évêque...

  • Château de Fontaine-Henry
  • Cloître de l'Abbaye de Juaye-Mondaye
  • Basilique de Lisieux
  • St-Germain-de-Livet
  • Château de Vaulaville la nuit