Bayeux has always been on my to-do list, since learning about the Bayeux Tapestry in primary school, so it was definitely a place we wanted to stop off at on our French road-trip. We only had one day in this beautiful city so here is our selection of top things to see in Bayeux.
The Bayeux Tapestry and Museum
The Bayeux Tapestry is obviously a must-see when visiting the city. It is a nearly 70 metres long piece of embroidered linen depicting William the Conqueror’s conquest of England: the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the events leading up to it. The tapestry is housed behind glass in a darkened room and you walk along it with an audio-guide telling you exactly what is happening in each section. Children are given a special audio-guide which tells the events as a story, helping them to understand exactly what they are seeing. My 7 year old was engrossed and even my 3 year old enjoyed it. After you have viewed the tapestry you then look round a museum, telling you more about the conquest, the tapestry and Anglo-Norman life. You can also view a short film about the battle.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Bayeux
The Cathedral is absolutely stunning, both on the outside and inside – it really takes your breath away. There is a strong emphasis on peace within the cathedral with various displays about peace-makers, such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and a designated chapel where you can pray for peace. The crypt of the cathedral dates from the 11th century, with murals from the 15th century, and really sparked my children’s imaginations. In front of the cathedral is the archeological remains of a 10th Century building, thought to have been a luxurious home for a distinguished clergyman and to the side of the Cathedral is the Bishop’s Palace and the Place de la Liberte.
The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy
The Musée Mémorial Bataille de Normandie focuses on the D-Day Landings with exhibitions and memorabilia. There is also a selection of tanks, jeeps and weaponry on show. It is an essential place to visit if you are interested in the Second World War and the liberation of Europe and the displays aren’t too graphic so it is suitable for children. (We did avoid the area showing a short film, just in case.)
The Streets of Bayeux
Walking round the streets of Bayeux is a fascinating activity in itself. It is definitely one of the prettiest towns I have ever visited, with its beautiful buildings and winding streets. Until visiting Bayeux I was unaware that it was the first city in France to be liberated but this is evident everywhere you look, with British, American and Canadian flags flying everywhere, and most of the shop windows are decorated with poppies and friezes commemorating the liberation.
Have you ever visited Bayeux? Do you have any other recommendations of things to see or do? Please feel free to comment below!
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