Lovely Bayeaux, France

One of the high points of Scotty’s parents visit was getting out of Paris and heading up to Normandy. It had been a while since I’d left this lovely city and it was wearing on me. There’s something about Paris that is truly magical but it can also be overwhelming, frustrating, and obnoxious. I was reaching the point where the city seemed overcrowded, dirty, and just a bit suffocating. So, being able to get on a train to a little village in the countryside was exactly what my soul needed.

Scotty’s sister Marty had made a treck to Normandy last year and made all the arrangements for us to stay in Bayeaux. What a treat! And my nerdy side was ecstatic that I would have the opportunity to see the Bayeaux Tapestry.

Bayeaux Tapestry Museum

Bayeaux itself is a very interesting town. It’s main industry is now tourism and that has definitely shaped the modern form of the village. In the midst of all the charm, there were gifts shops that were identical to those you would find in the more tony suburbs of the US and the UK. And that was a bit strange. It’s obvious that there is a definite catering to the WWII history buffs that come over from England, Canada, and the States. I mean the medieval scholars who come to see the tapestry aren’t dropping the big bucks! Once I sort of wrapped my head around that and just accepted it for what it was, I really loved this little town. Its stone buildings are beautiful, the countryside is idyllic, and there is a lot going on for such a small space.

While Tim, Beth, and Marty took in a World War II tour, Scotty and I spent the day exploring.  The Bayeaux Tapestry Museum is excellent. We couldn’t take any pictures, but I did write a post about the history of the tapestry over here. Basically, it records the story of William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, and his invasion and conquering of England. Following his submission of England he would become more well known as William the Conqueror. The tapestry is over 230 feet long and records in full color and comic book style the events leading up to the historic Battle of Hastings. It is amazing.

The museum was very well done with interactive displays and even a video that aired in English and French. I was especially struck with something mentioned in the video that really brought home the value of knowing one’s history. The movie closed with the reading of an inscription that appears in the Bayeaux Cemetery. A portion of the cemetery was designated for British soldiers who died during the D-Day invasions. It states “We who were conquered by William, have now liberated the homeland of the conqueror.”

After sating my historical curiosity, we wandered through the town to the cathedral. For being such a little town, this building reminds us that this town was a bustling center of activity at one point.

I loved the warm light on these chairs.

The crypt.

I thought these old painted walls were incredibly beautiful. I think I want a rug in this pattern…:-)

I really loved this cathedral. There was something about it that was more welcoming than most Gothic cathedrals I’ve visited. Maybe it was the fact that the sun was streaming through the windows, creating an airy feeling. I don’t know, but it was beautiful.

Afterwards, we took in more Bayeaux, got some delicious lunch, and just enjoyed a quiet day in the country.

Yummy salad!

What a treat this day was! Also, the people we encountered in Bayeaux were so friendly. We were able to practice our French more because people were more relaxed than they are in Paris. We really have mostly had positive experiences here in Paris and have found the people pretty friendly but it’s still a huge city and that affects people. I know I can be quite brusque when I’m in a hurry or annoyed with the mobs of tourists crowding the sidewalks. We didn’t encounter any of that here. People seemed relaxed and genuinely kind. I would love to go back some day!

About Rebecca

Hi! After five years in Europe, I'm adjusting to life back in the US. I use this blog to record my adventures, post photos, organize recipes, and post about things that interest me.
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7 Responses to Lovely Bayeaux, France

  1. Great post Becca!!! You made my mouth water with that yummy looking artichoke salad!!! 😀 Also love the old painted walls – it is almost as if it wants to tell you a story!! This looks like a very impressive cathedral!! I would love to visit Normandy if I get the chance someday – it looks so quaint!! 🙂 **

  2. zelmare says:

    How lucky you are! I would love to explore small towns around the French countryside. One of my top 5 dreams… We saw a church/cathedral with a similar red door in Mariazell in Austria. Lovely post.

  3. POP says:

    Gosh what a beautiful post . . . thank you!

  4. Liz Lobster says:

    It is a gorgeous village and great photography!

  5. thepoolman says:

    Bayeaux is such a picturesque little town. We were there for a WWII tour in late March 2011. My brother commented it looked like the town from the movie Beauty and the Beast. He was half-expecting an animated “Belle” to come dancing down the street singing “Bonjour, bonjour!”

  6. thepoolman says:

    I was catching up on some of your older posts, and I noticed you indicated you visited Mont St Michel on your Normandy excursion. I would be very interested to read about your experience. My wife and I will be visiting Paris with a side trip to Normandy in late September and early October with her sister and brother-in-law. BIL is more excited about Mont St Michel than any other part of the trip. We will be spending two nights and the in-between day there. (Actually have reservations on the island.) What did you think of it?

  7. patty says:

    love the 24th photo of the columns and walkway! what a beautiful place

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