During the Normandy invasion, Caen was subjected to fierce fighting and aerial bombing and the ancient university was completely destroyed. In 1951 a law was introduced whereby 1% of the total funds given for the construction of new schools would be used to fund a work of sculpture to decorate the school in question. Louis Leygue sculpted a huge depiction of a Phoenix in bronze and this stands on the university’s esplanade since 1955. The new university was inaugurated on 1 and 2 June 1957. Its logo, the mythical Phoenix, symbolises this revival.

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