Caen is located 15 km inland from the English Channel, two hours south-west of Paris, and connected to the south of England by the Caen-(Ouistreham)-Portsmouth ferry route. Caen is located in the centre of its northern region, and it is a centre of political, economic and cultural power. Located a few miles from the coast, the landing beaches, the bustling resort of Deauville and Cabourg, Norman Switzerland or Pays d’Auge, Caen is often considered the archetype of Normandy.
As the city of William the Conqueror, the city has a long and complex history. Caen is known for its historical buildings built during the reign of William, who was buried there, and for the Battle for Caen—heavy fighting that took place in and around Caen during the Battle of Normandy in 1944, destroying much of the city. The city has now preserved the memory by erecting a memorial for peace.