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Académie des Sciences, Arts et Belles lettres de Caen
The Academy of Caen
Established in 1652
The Academy of Caen has suffered a fair amount of hardships, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, during which the members had to face all kinds of unexpected situations, often embarrassing, sometimes prickly but which always, in any case, brought out the sterling quality of the men involved. It is comforting to note that in these various circumstances the Society, most of the time, instinctively honoured its fundamental values; the love of fine literature, disinterestedness, the interchange of ideas, displaying from the beginning and all along its existence, an unfailing "esprit de corps" which was still evident in the most recent period
Why an Academy? Why in Caen ?
The first half of the 17th century witnessed such an economic and political upheaval, such a philosophical, religious and scientific flurry that it is no wonder that, simultaneously, a literary and cultural renewal should have taken place which was to lead to the foundation of the French Academy in 1635. Following this impetus, practically everywhere in the kingdom, sprang up "little groups of friends attracted to one another by common tastes, whose meetings became more and more regular just for the sake of being together and enjoying intellectual activities". (François Bouillier).
So it was that in Caen, the Norman Athens, with a long literary cultural tradition, was enthusiastically created the first Academy in the provinces after the fondation of the Paris Academie Française. Furthermore came the establishment in Caen of the first Academy of Physics in France ( 1662) which, although short- lived, preceded by four years the foundation of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.!!