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The Romanesque Abbaye aux Hommes, in Caen (about 1050 AD)

The Romanesque Abbaye aux Hommes, in Caen (about 1050 AD)

Vikings settle in Caen

Caen is a port town in north-western France, on the Atlantic Ocean. When the Vikings invaded France in the 700s AD, eventually they forced the French king to give them the area around Caen (KAHN) to live in. There they got to be known as the Normans, and people called the area Normandy.

More about the Vikings
And then the Normans
All our medieval Europe articles

Normans build churches

The Normans soon converted from worshipping their old gods to Christianity, and soon they built churches.

The old Norse gods
Medieval churches
What’s the Romanesque?

The Normans built their first churches out of wood, which was easier to build in, and cheaper, but wooden churches often caught fire. Around 1000 AD the Normans began to build stone churches in the Romanesque style.

William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror ordered his architects to build this church about 1050 AD in his capital at Caen (click here to find out why). It was part of an abbey dedicated to Saint Stephen – a place for Benedictine monks to live and pray.

Who were the Benedictines?
More about Christian monks

Learn by doing: build an arch

William’s castle at Caen
More about Caen – the Abbaye aux Dames

Bibliography and further reading about medieval architecture:


Abbaye aux Dames
Caen Castle
Romanesque architecture
Medieval architecture
Visiting France with Kids
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