Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Museums & Art Galleries in Normandy

This northwestern region of France attracts many visitors to see the memorials and monuments of the D-Day Beaches of World War 2, not far from the city of Caen. Further back in time, Rouen was one of the largest and richest cities of Medieval Europe. Also a city where Joan of Arc is thought to have been burned at the stake. Where Monet painted his famous cathedral series. The Seine River Valley is know too for the many beautiful abbeys and monasteries. Normandy was heavily attacked by the Vikings from the 9th century onwards. Normandy has been the site of many conflicts, including the Normandy Campaigns in the early years of the 1200s, the Hundred Years War from 1337, and the 16th century Wars of Religion. Each of these has had a visible impact on the built environment, and what it is that tourists come to see.

Musée de Beaux Arts, Caen

The Fine Arts Museum of Caen was founded in 1809, however, the building in which it was house, a former Eurdist seminary, was destroyed by Allied bombing during the Second World War. While many art works were destroyed, those that were not on display had been been removed to safety in 1939. These surviving pieces are now displayed in the new museum built within the ramparts of the Ducal castle of Caen. Besides an impressive collection of contemporary art, on display are Italian, French and Flemish Renaissance paintings as well as a small collection of French Impressionist paintings, including works by Monet, Boudin and Huet.

Musée de Normandie, Caen

Opened in 1963, the museum of the history of Normandy is housed in what was the Governor’s residence within the walls of the Ducal castle of Caen. The building we see today is a restored version of a mansion that was constructed in the 1th century, but badly damaged in WWII. A series of permanent exhibits chart the history of Normandy from prehistory to the Middle Ages; with artefacts from the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. Displays focus on the transformation of rural communities through time, first with the arrival of Romans in the area, and then with the advent of industry in the region.