Caen is a city located in the Calvados department, which is in the Lower Normandy region. With 113,250 inhabitants, called the Caennais the city is the administrative centre of both the region and the department. The Orne River runs through the city.
As William the Conqueror former city, Caen inherited a rich patrimony that it managed to preserve until WWII, when Caen was at the heart of the Allies landing. Caen golden age was probably during Louis XIV reign. The city expanded a lot; the Sciences, Arts and Literature Academies were created, as well as the first Physics Academy of France, what deserved the city the nick name of “Norman Athena”. During WWII Caen lost 68% of its buildings; however, the main historical monuments were saved. The reconstruction of the city took place during 1947 and 1963. The creation of large straight avenues bordered with 5 storey high Caen stone buildings gives it an architectural unity.
Thanks to its location, 2 hours from Paris, and directly linked to England (ferry to Portsmouth) Caen is an easy and cheap destination to reach for British people.
|Property prices in Caen in 2009|
|Types of housing||Price €/ sq m||Average price €||Average size|
|Caen Total||2,558/sq m|
In France in 2009, the average price for a house is around €3,200/sq m. Since in Caen the average price is €2,560/sq m, the city can be said to be rather affordable in comparison to French average, but also to the department average (€2,900/sq m). This is surprising as Caen is the administrative centre of both the region and the department, and as such it displays all services, from hospital, to schools and universities, etc. It is also close from renowned beaches, the Norman Switzerland and Auge County.
As far as renting market is concerned, prices in Caen are higher than the French average (€13.63/sq m/month against €12.20/sq m/month in France), which means that buying a property in Caen is an excellent investment for a buy-to-let. Moreover, as 67% of residents are tenants, you will not have difficulties finding a tenant.
To get updated info about the property prices in alvados, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Basse Normandie Property Prices.
Culture, art and historical heritage: as already said, Caen stands out for its religious architecture. As a consequence it is the main heritage the city boasts. However, you can also visit William the Conqueror’s castle, one of the biggest fortified castles in Europe. Today the castle has become a centre for cultural life in the city. Towers, such as The Queen Matilda Tower, or the Puchot Tower are also worth visiting as they will take you for a trip some centuries ago! If you are an art lover, you may want to have a look at the Fine Arts’ Museum which displays one of the finest collections of 16th and 17th centuries Italian, French, Flemish and Dutch paintings in France. There are also paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and Normandy has a centre place as Impressionists’ paints, such as Money or Boudin. Contemporary art is also present with a collection of French cubists and there are contemporary exhibitions and a Park of Sculptures.
Tranquillity and scenery: located along the seaside, it is easy in Caen to find peace and tranquillity: let’s have a walk along the seafront, rocking by the sound of waves. You can also enjoy tranquillity in one of the parks and gardens the city displays. Caen was awarded 3 flowers at the flowered towns and villages contest. The town council also owns allotments it rent to families, to grow flowers or vegetables and fruits.
Architectural style: Caen, like the whole Normandy, stands out for its sacred architecture. The archetype of Caen architecture is probably the Abbaye aux Hommes. This abbey was the model for abbeys and cathedrals built afterwards in England, when William the Conqueror became King of England. Caen’s stones were exported to England, and some of the main monuments in England were built with it, such as London Tower, Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, etc. Nowadays, Caen Abbey is the town council and you can visit it. You will be amazed by every single room you will see. 9 centuries of architecture and history are gathered in one monument.
Location – transport infrastructure: as already mentioned, Caen displays a harbour directly linked to England through the ferry going to Portsmouth 4 times a day. As far as trains are concerned, Caen is situated in the middle of a star, linking it to Paris (1h45), Cherbourg (1h15), Rouen (1h) and Rennes (3h). As regards motorway network, Caen is served by 3 motorways (A 13, A 84 and A 88), connected it to Brittany and Paris agglomeration. Finally, Caen boasts 50km of cycle paths and a sharing bikes system. The latter, called V’eol gathers 40 stations every 300 metres and more than 385 bikes.
Rental opportunities: as already mentioned, Caen turns out to be an excellent location for a buy-to-let: house prices are relatively low, compared to the national average, while renting prices are rather high, still comparing with French average. Moreover, with 67% of residents being tenants, you will not have difficulties finding someone.
Wine and alcoholic drinks: Normandy as a whole is renowned for its cider and Calvados. The former is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples. However, while cider is made all around the world, in Normandy you will find a cider made with pears, called Poiré. The Calvados is a brandy made of distilled dry cider. Then it has to age in oak casks; the longer it ages, the smoother the drink becomes. Finally you will have to taste the Pommeau, which is an aperitif made of apple juice and calvados.
As 77% of dwellings in Caen are apartments, you will be likely to find one of them available in the city itself. However, if you go out of the city you will find beautiful castles and manors available, or if your budget does not draw level with this kind of houses, you will find farmhouses, more modest, but as charming and traditional.
Caen surroundings farmhouses: in Caen countryside you will find many farmhouses, that were mainly used by cheese makers, or apples growers, as they are the main agricultural activities in the area. All buildings are gathered under the same roof, and hence the property forms a regular rectangle, with an inside courtyard. The habitable building is at the end of the courtyard and is two-storey high. In the other buildings you would have found a stable, a cowshed, and a sheepfold. All buildings are usually made of stones.
Manors: this kind of property always come with a huge piece of land in the middle of the countryside, in a quiet and peaceful place. They are around 300sq m, and come with no less than 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a traditional big kitchen, an office and a living room. As they are at least 2 storey high, there is a staircase leading to first floor. It is usually a wood staircase dating back from the 17th century. It is a perfect investment if you want to let it as a gîte; however, you will also enjoy it as a second home, as it can welcome many people.
Townhouses: located in the city itself, this type of dwellings are usually stone houses, as Caen is renowned for its white stone. They are two-storey high, and come with 3 bedrooms, a traditional French kitchen, a living room, bathroom with separated wc. The advantage compared with the other type of house is that it is located close by all amenities.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Basse Normandie.
|Take a closer look at the Calvados property market:|
|Bayeux Property Information||Deauville Property Information|
|Honfleur Property Information|