Drawing on its thousand-year history, Caen has a historical and cultural heritage of the highest order. William the Conqueror built his chateau there, and with Mathilda, his wife, founded the Abbaye aux Dames and the Abbaye aux Hommes. The Caen Memorial tells of the history of the struggle for peace in the 20th century.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts is situated within the walls of the Château de Caen. The 19th century is particularly well represented, notably Impressionism, with works by Monet, Lebourg and Boudin. Also to be found here are works by Lépine, an open-air painter from Caen who helped to form a transition between Barbizon and the Impressionists.
The Painting in Normandy collection, in Caen’s Abbaye-aux-Dames, brings together works by French and foreign painters who drew on Normandy as their inspiration between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
Around 150 paintings are exhibited, including works by Renoir, Monet, Boudin, Jongkind, Courbet, Corot, Dufy and Vuillard.
From its magnificently preserved capital, Bayeux, to the the D-Day landing beaches, the Bessin region has an exceptional heritage. It includes the famous Bayeux Tapestry, listed by UNESCO, which retraces the conquest of England by William the Conqueror. This region inspired two great figures from the Post-Impressionist movement: Georges Seurat and Paul Signac.