St Étienne Abbey (or Abbaye aux Hommes), an 11C historical and architectural masterpiece, has strikingly elegant lines. It became a refuge for thousands of Caen folk in 1944. A genuine monument of Romanesque art, Église St Étienne, founded by William the Conqueror, reveals a remarkably plain façade, counterbalanced by its soaring twin towers. The ducal palace, 14C but retouched in the 19C, now houses an art library, while the monastery buildings, harmoniously rebuilt in the 18C, have retained some fine wood panelling.
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