Departing from Caen-Ouistreham, Bec-Helluin abbey, Castle of Champ de Bataille, back to Caen-Ouistreham (11 hours)



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Cities belonging to the ComCom of Caen - 14000 :

14210 Baron-sur-Odon, 14760 Bretteville-sur-Odon, 14650 Carpiquet, 14460 Colombelles, 14123 Cormelles-le-Royal, 14840 Cuverville, 14840 Demouville, 14610 Epron, 14123 Fleury-sur-Orne, 14790 Fontaine-Etoupefour, 14730 Giberville, 14200 Herouville-Saint-Clair, 14120 Mondeville, 14210 Mondrainville, 14790 Mouen, 14980 Rots, 14280 Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe, 14210 Tourville-sur-Odon, 14790 Verson.



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We will leave Caen by the east in direction of the Risle Valley, in the Eure department (27). The Risle is a tributary of the Seine, 145 km long which has its source at 275 meters above sea level upstream of L’Aigle, in the department of Orne (61). Once at the junction with the Bec, a tributary of the Risle, we will branch off for the abbey of Notre-Dame of Bec-Helluin, since it is built on the edge of this watercourse.


The optimised itinerary in transport time to visit Notre-Dame of Bec-Helluin abbey and the Castle of Champ de Bataille is as shown here under.


 The optimised tourist circuit in transport time departing from Caen-Ouistreham area and bound for the Bec-Helluin abbey and the private castle of Champ de Bataille, in private vehicle with English speaking driver

Picture : © Google Maps



The Abbey Notre-Dame of Bec-Helluin in the department of Eure

The Abbey Notre-Dame of Bec-Helluin in the department of Eure

Photo opposite : © Abbey of Bec-Helluin



We will go up the Risle valley until its connection with the Bec, a tributary of the Risle, at the edge of which is the village of Bec-Helluin. In addition to being known for hosting a famous abbey, it is also known for being the holder of the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" label. Perhaps a short walk after the visit to the Abbey ?

The first church and its outbuildings of the Notre-Dame du Bec-Hellouin abbey, initially built in 1034 "a little too much" near the Bec river, its permanent occupation, including during the wet seasons, was in undeniable insalubrity. In the century of its foundation, it eventually migrated a few hundred meters to a place suitable for its permanent occupation, and did not move.

The fame of the abbey was mainly due to a man of the church, who came specially from Italy to take responsibility for the development of the nascent abbey : Lanfranc de Pavie who was later replaced by one of his disciples, another Italian from Aosta, Anselm of Aosta, so called upon his arrival. It was then known as Anselme du Bec, due to the growing fame of Bec-Hellouin Abbey. Then he ended up being called Anselm of Canterbury, when he became Archbishop of Canterbury Cathedral in England. [Then Doctor Anselm by Pope Clement XI a few centuries later (1720)]. As Archbishop of Canterbury, he replaced in 1093... Lanfranc de Pavie appointed by the Norman Duke William the Conqueror in 1070. The teaching of the Bec school as initiated by Lanfranc de Pavie was not based solely on scriptures and religious practice. Many subjects were taught there under the names Trivium and Quadrivium. Trivium : grammar, rhetoric and dialectic ; the Quadrivium : arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. Of course, literature also occupied a prominent place in the lessons given.

It is precisely this very broad teaching, which cheerfully went beyond the extremes of the classical religious teaching of the time, which allowed the development in such a short time of such renown at the national, even international, level (Germany, Flanders, Italy, England), the Powerfuls of the time sending their children to a renowned education… and largely financing the works of extension of the abbey at the same time.

It is not less that what we call today in France, the "French soft power".


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The Castle of Champ de Bataille of Sainte-Opportune du Bosc in the Eure department (27)

The Castle of Champ de Bataille of Sainte-Opportune du Bosc in the Eure department (27)

Photo : © Eric Sander


The Castle of Champ de Bataille is one of the most imposing castles built in France in the 17th century. Built by a banished from the royal court by Cardinal Mazarin for treason, the Count of Crequi-Bernieulles, this castle was supposed to remind him of the splendors of the Court that he would never know again. The works lasted 12 years (1653-1665). The only plans that have survived through time are those of part of the gardens, plans attributed to Le Notre.

In the absence of office at the royal court, the Count of Crequi-Bernieulles died in debt in 1702, without direct descendants. The castle AND the debts fall to his nephew who resells it for the first time. After several owners, it fell in 1754 to the d'Harcourt family and more precisely to the Duke of Beuvron. He undertook major restoration work and made it his main home. By repurchase of dismemberments during successions, the Duke brings the area of the property to 1,400 hectares ! This castle will remain in the family until the French Revolution, during which time it will be looted and vandalized, the Duke of Beuvron having had to flee to the North to ensure his safety.

On the death of the Duke of Beuvron in 1797, another period began with multiple owners and a new period of decay began. It will not end until... Follow the tag here under to read more about this castle.


Have a good walk through the 50 km of paths traced through the park !





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The departure from the Castle of Champ de Bataille will take place at the latest when the gates are closed, except for ferry / train / plane Passengers who are bound by a specific return schedule. It takes about 90 mn by road to reach Caen, about 115 mn to reach Ouistreham Ferry Terminal, 15 mn more to reach the Caen-Carpiquet airport, outside summer time ( in general mid july / end of August).


The castle of Champ de Bataille closes end of October till mid April every year !


What is included in the price: :

- The different waiting times during the visits and the lunch break within the overall package. You can leave your stuff in the vehicle without fear. Or take them back according to your needs throughout the day. The driver does not leave the vehicle.

- Return to your starting point or any other point in the departure city, as you wish.

- the rental of vehicle (s) according to specified category,

- road expenses,

- the driver guide,

- individual water bottles,

- VAT.



What is not included in the price :



Additional Information :

Link for rates in Bec-Helluin : 6 € / adult


Link for rates in private castle of Champ de Bataille : 31 € / adult ( 16 +) - reduced rate between 12 and 16 - free for less than 12
Remark : you can not buy a ticket for the castle only. This is why the visit of the castle occupies the whole afternoon. No one regret later...



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