Caen, close to the Normandy coast, was largely destroyed by the Allied landings in 1944 and is now a lively, modern town. Impressive reminders of the medieval seat of William the Conqueror have been preserved. Caen (pronounced ka), is 10 miles from the English Channel on the Orne, is the capital of Basse Normandie and the departement of Calvados. In the 12th century, the town was the residence of William the Conqueror (1027-1087), Duke of Normandy and subsequent King of England, and his wife Matilda of Flanders. The ruling couple founded two monasteries, now amongst the most important Romanesque structures in Normandy, to procure dispensation from the pope for their marriage, as they were cousins. In June and July 1944, 80% of the town was destroyed during the Allied landings and the weeks of fighting that ensued on the Calvados coast; part of the old quarter was painstakingly rebuilt. The harbour, connected to the sea by the Orne and the Canal de Caen, has an important economic role, as do heavy industry, electronics, chemicals, mechanical engineering and automobile manufacture. The lively cultural scene is boosted by some 25,000 students.