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Church of Saint-Étienne-le-Vieux

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HISTORY

Also known as Old St. Stephen's Church. Probably founded during the 10th century, when the city of Caen began its first significant growth. It is mentioned for the first time in the letters granted by William the Conqueror, around 1067. Because of its position exposed along the city walls, the church was seriously damaged during the Hundred Years War, particularly during the siege of Caen in 1417. It was rebuilt during and after the English occupation.

 

WHY THIS PLACE

It rises in a dominant position at the top of the cliffs, composed of a single wall blocking the promontory, with the other three sides naturally protected by cliffs. The southeast, northeast and northwest approaches are naturally defended by steep cliffs and have only been protected by relatively small defensive walls. To the southwest, a massive wall of local red sandstone blocks the end of the coastal promontory, which forms the inner courtyard, perfect for hosting a magnificent wedding.

CURIOSITIES

• The term "old" distinguishes it from the church of the Abbey of Saint-Étienne, Caen (the Abbaye aux Hommes), under construction since the 11th century.
• It was registered in 1840 as a historic monument, but closed to the public in 1844 because of its state of decay. Threatened with demolition, he was saved at the last minute thanks to the action of Arcisse de Caumont and Antoine Charma.

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