The Abbaye aux Hommes of Caen, interiors !!!

Always nice to visit Caen again ,after a long hiatus ! We used to come often from Versailles, but from the Morbihan we finally made it ! There are wonderful monuments here that will take more than a day, but we are catching up on Caen and will be back, I have a couple older posts ,and now will splits in posts the abbey and the church even if they are a combine entrance, For now hope you enjoy the new post on the Abbaye aux Hommes of Caen , interiors !!! I really had a good time here at last !

Caen is the political capital of Normandy and home of the regional council ,while Rouen is the administrative capital; a way to please both in the new administrative realignment of France on joining upper and lower Normandy into one again,Normandie. It is the capital City in dept 14 Calvados

The Abbaye aux Hommes is one of the two great abbeys founded by Guillaume de Normandie, the future conqueror, around 1060, in Caen, which have housed the City/town hall since the 1960s. The abbey offers a very beautiful architectural ensemble built between the 11C and 18C, giving the name of Bourg-l’abbé to the district which surrounds it. The Abbaye aux Hommes is a Benedictine abbey in the diocese of Bayeux, in the ecclesiastical province of Rouen.

Around 1063, Guillaume decided to found a Benedictine abbey dedicated to Saint-Étienne in the center of a new district to the west of Caen, Le bourg-l’Abbé, which was located on the grounds of parishes belonging to the cathedral.of Bayeux who cedes them to Queen Mathilde so that the monks of the Abbaye aux Hommes are under the spiritual dependence of the Abbess of Caen ,The construction of the Abbaye aux Hommes, entrusted to Lanfranc du Bec, began in 1063. The church was built between 1065 and 1083.  The style of the abbey is influenced by Lombard art.

On December 25, 1066, William is crowned King of England, Caen is placed between the two halves of the Anglo-Norman state. The conquest of England, in 1066, by providing additional means, but also the presence of open stone quarries nearby, explain the speed of this construction. It is dedicated at least three times, in 1073, 1077 and 1081. The most solemn dedication takes place on September 13, 1077 in the presence of Guillaume and Lanfranc, On September 9, 1087, he died in Saint-Gervais de Rouen and was buried in the Church of Saint-Étienne. (see post).

You get to go in alone or in groups, we always go alone, First room ,the chauffoir or boiler room as the monks had no right to rest this room is one of the rare places with a chimney where the monks came to warmed up, Today it holds the permanent exposition Les Mondes Normande or the Norman worlds, You discover the charte of goods of the abbey and the scepter of the Anglo Normans Kings,

You move into the Cloister, The cloister was rebuilt in place of the old one. The construction lasted several decades: east gallery (1725-1728); north gallery (1734-1736); and west gallery (1741-). The galleries are of the Tuscan type: the semicircular arcades are framed by false rectangular columns slightly projecting topped with Doric capitals. Inside, the arcades are punctuated by transverse arches resting on the same type of false column. The ceiling of the arcades is made up of double depressed groin vaults with longitudinal and transverse lunette and central octagonal ceilings edged with rib During the restoration of the old abbey in the 1960s, the “French” garden inspired by those of Le Nôtre have been reconstructed. In the 19th century, it had been transformed into an exercise ground and a playground for high school students.

Caen abbaye aux hommes cloister statue belltower apr23

You come to the tableau des Offices or officers’s table dated from 1744 it is a timing devise por the monks, The four columns indicates the hours of individual prayer and the rôle to play in religious services, The clock allowed not to be late for duties by the monks.

Caen abbaye aux hommes tableau des offices apr23

La Porterie or gatehouse, The Benedictine monks have a history of welcome and received visitors such as pilgrims, member of the religious family or travelers, They need to come and go out by this gatehouse,It had fountains to wash , Today this space holds the permanent exposition Un Eté 44, You discovered how the refugees lived and survived with good spirits and life continues even under war,

Caen abbaye aux hommes le scriptorium expo temp mort WWI apr23

You see the escalier d’honneur or grand staircase, It was built between 1760 and 1763 ,the art of the sterotopy was used to built it, The stones were cut in different shapes as each made pressure on the other without using cement, The iron ramp were done in the 18C and restored in 1962.

Caen abbaye aux hommes l'escalier d'honneur apr23

The Scriptorium ,during the middle ages it designated a room where the monks copied text and did illustrations for the manuscripts, After the invention of printing no reason to continue this practice in the 18C, It was the room of Acts a space dedicated for study by the monks and the young religious students, When there was a high school the room was used for exams and the given of prizes, Convert into a nursery during WWII , it host today temporary exhibitions.

Caen abbaye aux hommes le scriptorium expo temp apr23

The east wing: The structural work and the sculptures of the facade were completed in 1713 and the roof was finished in 1715. The work was completed in 1726. This building, 105 meters long, was built in alignment with the south transept of the abbey church. It is composed of three levels 20 meters high, from the ground to the entablature, and a mansard roof. From north to south are: Matins Staircase; the old sacristy; the former chapter hall, the former high school chapel, now the wedding hall; and the old scriptorium, a former hall for high school parties, exams and awards, now a place for temporary exhibitions. The refectory wing In the cellars, you can find a press from the end of the 17C, the monks used it to make cider for their own consumption. In the 19C, it was still active on behalf of the school. There are on the ground floor from east to west: the staircase of honor; the refectory, which retains this use when the abbey is used as a high school, today the reception room of the town hall. The entrance pavilion This building was built between 1730 and 1734 to house the gatehouse, the parlor and the officers’ office.

The guard room is a building built at the beginning of the 14C. It was used as a reception room when distinguished guests came to the abbey. The upstairs room also served as a courthouse when the abbot rendered judgments concerning his lands or when the Exchequer of Normandy, itinerant until 1499, passed through Caen; the ground floor was then used as a waiting room. The Provincial Estates of Normandy also sat in this room on occasion. Between 1968 and 1976, the guard room was carefully restored The upstairs room has been used as a deliberation room for the municipal council since September 13, 1973. Of the ramparts erected in 1347, and destroyed in the 18C, nothing remains only vestiges: a wall and a tower, rue du Carel, and the Guillaume tower at the end of the courtyard of the ducal palace, rue Lebailly and on the esplanade Jean-Marie Louvel. Located at the southern end of the abbey enclosure, this small 17C building and part of the former charetterie have housed the collections of the Nature Initiation Museum since 1974. The ensemble formed by the building located at the entrance, the cloister with the surrounding buildings and the two wings placed after.

Caen abbaye aux hommes grand salle apr23

The Ducal Palace, also called Guillaume’s Palace or the King’s Logis, was built in the 14C, probably to accommodate distinguished guests of the abbey. The old house is now isolated from the rest of the abbey buildings. But originally it formed the west side of a large courtyard and was connected to the rest of the convent buildings by the Praetorium. The three-story building is now 47 × 12 meters long. Trying to balance the posts exterior and interior this part is also exterior.

The city of Caen on the Abbaye aux Hommes :

The Caen tourist office: on the Abbaye aux Hommes:

A site on the Abbeys of Normandy on the abbaye aux Hommes of Caen :

There you go folks, a wonderful awesome City to spend more time for sure we will be back, This is wonderful Caen, with beautiful architecture, nice history and many things to do and see ; a must to stop. Again, hope you have enjoy the Abbaye aux Hommes of Caen , interiors !!! as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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