Caen’s most important medieval site is the Men’s Abbey – now city hall – and, right next door, the magnificent, multi-turreted Église St-Étienne (St Stephen’s Church), with its Romanesque nave, Gothic choir and William the Conqueror’s tomb (rebuilt; the original was destroyed by a 16th-century Calvinist mob and, in 1793, by fevered revolutionaries).
The complex is 1km southwest of the Château de Caen; to get there by car, follow the signs to the ‘Hôtel de Ville’.
You can visit the cloister (access is via the adjoining Hôtel de Ville) and the abbey church (11th, 13th and 17th centuries) on your own, but the only way to see the interior of the 18th-century monastery is to take a 1½-hour tour (adult €4.50 or €7 depending one time of year, child free). From April to September, these begin daily at 10.30am, 2pm and 4pm; the rest of the year there are tours on weekdays at 10.30am and 2pm. English tours are only available in July and August, at 11am, 1.30pm and 4pm. Tickets are sold at the information desk inside the Hôtel de Ville.