The main development of the city has been to the north of the river, which is crossed by numerous bridges and flanked by fine quays and promenades.
The navigation of the stream is considerably obstructed by sandbanks, but vessels of 200 tons can unload at the quays, which, with the town and Friarton harbours, lie below the South Inch.
Long, separated from the other quarters of the city, as from the surrounding country to the north and east, by canals on all sides, with broad quays along the walls.
Its trade is due to its position in the agricultural and horsebreeding district known as the "Campagne de Caen" and to its proximity to the iron mines of the Orne valley, and to manufacturing towns such as Falaise, Le Mans, &c. In the south-east of the town there is a floating basin lined with quays and connected with the Orne and with the canal which debouches into the sea at Ouistreham 9 m.
This is protected by Fort William and Fort George, as well as by the citadel (Fort Adelaide), and it has three graving-docks connected with the inner harbour, the depths alongside quays and berths being from 12 to 28 ft.