Caen is a commune in northwestern France. It is the préfecture of the Calvados département and the capital of the Basse-Normandie (Lower-Normandy) region. It is located 15 km (6 mi) inland from the English Channel.
Caen is known for its historical buildings built during the reign of William the Conqueror, who was buried here, 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 town.
Caen is in an area of high humidity. The Orne flows through the city, as well as different small rivers known as les Odons, most of them having been buried under the city to improve urban hygiene.
Caen sits 10 km (6 mi) away from the Channel. A canal that is parallel to the Orne was built during the reign of Napoleon III to be able to link the city to the sea at all times. The canal reaches the English Channel at Ouistreham. A lock enables the canal to withstand the effects of the tide and permits large ships to navigate up the canal to Caen's freshwater harbours.