Best Places to Visit in France
France Travel Guide
Best Places to Visit in Bayeux
The quarter of the Tanners and Dyers in Bayeux is a scenic area.
The Cathédrale of Notre Dame is compact but dramatic. Its spires can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.
Bayeux, France was the first town liberated after the
invasion and was the site of the historic moment when General Charles De Gaulle
greeted his compatriots during his first return to France since the time of
its conquest by Germany during World War II. It is important to note
that Bayeux was not the site of a specific battle during the war.
While the Musée Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie and other interesting attractions in Bayeux related to WWII are quite popular, the historic Bayeux Tapestry is the town's most visited attraction, followed by the village's graceful cathedral.
The Bayeux Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidery on wool, dates from the 11th century. It was created to tell the story of William the Conqueror, King Harold and the Battle of Hastings in England (1066), a battle that became known as the Norman Invasion. As you may know, William was the Duke of Normandy who believed he had been promised the kingship of England and invaded the country when he felt the promise was broken.
The Tapestry, consisting of 58 embroidered scenes, is approximately 280 feet in length, two feet high and in amazing condition. The final panels at the end of the tapestry have been missing since the time of the French Revolution.
Each of the colorful panels of the
Tapestry recounts an important part of the history leading the Battle of
Hasting, as well as detailing the Battle and its aftermath. The scenes
depict people, events and places and include commentary in Latin.
The Center Guillaume includes several rooms that display important aspects of the region’s history and these exhibits help set the stage for understanding the story of the Tapestry. It will take about an hour to view the displays and another twenty to thirty minutes to examine the Tapestry.
The Tapestry viewing room is windowless and darkened to protect the fabric of the Tapestry, which is presented behind a protective glass but close enough to see the amazing amount of detail put into the Tapestry. The linear nature of the Tapestry's display may result in slow viewing when the attraction is crowded.
For more information on the Tapisserie de Bayeux, see the official website.
The Cathedrale Notre-Dame
After viewing the Tapestry, if you continue down the
Rue de Nesmond in a westerly direction, the street crosses the river and
changes names near Rue Larcher to become Rue Lambert Le Forestier, which
leads to the medieval, gothic Cathedrale Notre-Dame (you can see its towers
from most places in the town).
The Cathedral is an amalgam of several different architectures that blend to produce an impressive building. The Tympanum in the Cathedral’s south portal is a well-known depiction of the death of St. Thomas of Canterbury.
Entrance is free and tours are provided daily for a fee. If you have time, visit the crypt, as it is one of the few parts of Notre-Dame's original structure that have survived from the 11th century. The Cathedral is the place where the Bayeux Tapestry was originally displayed, but later stored, misplaced, and, then, forgotten over the centuries.
World War II
Nearby is the Bayeux War Cemetery in which over four thousand soldiers from the British Commonwealth are interred. The cemetery is the largest WWII Commonwealth cemetery in France.
For more information about Bayeux, see the town’s excellent
tourism web site .
Continue to the next page for our guide to Rouen
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A panel from the Bayeux Tapestry.
The interior of the Cathédrale of Notre Dame is rich in detail.
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