Caen is a commune in north-western France. It is the prefecture of the department of Calvados. Caen is the largest city in former Lower Normandy and the third largest municipality in all of Normandy. It is located 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) inland from the English Channel, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north-west of Paris, and connected to the south of England by the Caen (Ouistreham) to Portsmouth ferry route. Caen is located in the centre of its northern region, and it is a centre of political, economic and cultural power. Located a few miles from the coast, the landing beaches, the bustling resorts of Deauville and Cabourg, as well as Norman Switzerland and Pays d'Auge, Caen is often considered the archetype of Normandy.
Caen is known for its historical buildings built during the reign of William the Conqueror, who was buried there, and for the Battle for Caen, heavy fighting that took place in and around Caen during the Battle of Normandy in 1944, destroying much of the city. The city has now preserved the memory by erecting a memorial and a museum dedicated to peace, the Mémorial de Caen. The agricultural and food-processing Agrial co-operative has its head office on Caen. Agrial group processes vegetables, cider apples, milk, poultry and meat.
Caen has a population of over 197,114 people. Caen also forms part of the wider Caen metropolitan area which has a population of over 420,000 people.