Ardenne Abbey (Abbey d'Ardenne)
While the church itself is beautiful, the main draw here is the memorial located just outside. The Aredenne Abbey is an included stop on some D-Day and Second World War tours of Normandy, which range from half-day outings to full-day excursions. While tours take in all the major Normandy sites, others focus on Canadian wartime history, combining Ardenne Abbey with places such as the Canadian War Cemetery, Canada House, and the location on Juno Beach where thousands of Canadians arrived on D-Day.
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Things to Know Before You Go
- Great for architecture buffs. Much of the abbey was named a historic monument in 1918.
- This isn’t the only abbey in the Caen area. In the Caen city center, find the 11th century Women’s Abbey.
- Information is available on site in both French and English.
How to Get There
The abbey is located at 14280 Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe, about 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) northwest of the Caen city center. Trains to Caen depart from Paris, Rouen, Rennes, Cherbourg, Le Mans, and Tours. Regional train service is available between Caen and Rouen, Lisieux, Cherbourg, Granville, Rennes, and Le Mans.
When to Get There
Many travelers visit Normandy between June and August, when warm, sunny weather brings crowds to the gorgeous beaches. But while the D-Day sites in Normandy can be visited year round, it’s a moving experience to travel here in early June, when D-Day memorial celebrations are held across the region.
D-Day Sites to Visit in Normandy
While the D-Day beaches themselves are an essential stop in Normandy, there are many other Second World War landmarks here. Close to Ardenne Abbey is the Memorial de Caen, a museum that tells the story of the region’s wartime experience. German gun batteries still stand at Longues-sur-Mer, and Bayeux is home to the Bayeux War Cemetery and the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy (Musée Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie).
- Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery
- Sword Beach
- Juno Beach Centre (Centre Juno Beach)
- Merville Battery (Batterie de Merville)
- Mulberry Harbour
- Bayeux Tapestry (Tapisserie de Bayeux)
- Lace Conservatory (Conservatoire de la Dentelle)
- Baron Gérard Museum of Art and History (MAHB)
- Bayeux Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux)
- Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy (Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie)
- Bayeux War Cemetery
- Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
- Omaha Beach
- Omaha Beach Memorial Museum (Musée Mémorial d’Omaha Beach)