Bayeux

NORMANDY Bayeux Promenade dans les rues de Bayeux

Bayeux (pop 14,900) was founded as a Gallo Roman settlement in the first century BC; it was then named Augustodurum. Later, it became the capital of a Celtic tribe territory and was renamed Bodiocassi, which has been speculated to be the origin of its modern-day name. Bayeux was once an integral part of the Roman Empire’s coastal defence against the region’s pirates. Hence, it has been involved in many battles over the years. During WWII however, Bayeux was one of the first cities to be liberated and it came out almost completely unscathed.  Therefore, much of its medieval architecture remains intact in the city, giving it a traditional vibe. Bayeux is also a good place to launch your D-day beach explorations.
NORMANDY Bayeux tapestry Departure from Normandy
Layout
Bayeux is bisected by the Aure River with Central Bayeux on its east, encircled by a ring road (bd Eindhover, bd Winston Churchill etc…). The train station is 1km southeast of the cathedral, at Place de la Gare. Rue St-Martin and rue St-Jean are the main commercial stretches.

 

 


  

You can’t discuss Bayeux without mentioning the world-famous, Bayeux Tapestry. This 68.3m long tapestry put Bayeux on the map of the English speaking world. The tapestry comprises of wool threaded into a linen cloth, with scenes depicting the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The entire conquest is divided into 58 scenes such as the Channel Crossing scene, the Battle of Hastings and even a full Monty! The scenes are bordered by religious allegories and depictions of average 11th century lifestyle. It has been theorised that the tapestry was made under the commissioning of Bishop Odo of Bayeux (William the Conqueror’s half brother). NORMANDY Bayeux tapestry Sailing to HastingsThe tapestry is proudly displayed in the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux [Centre Guillaume Le Conquérant Rue de Nesmond, +33 231512550, www.tapisserie-bayeux.fr ad/ch €7.80/3.80]. This museum documents the making of the cloth, as well as the historical information and conservation efforts behind the cultural piece.

NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME Bayeux Notre DameThe original house of the tapestry was the Cathédrale Notré-Dame [4 Rue Gén de Dais]. It has been speculated that the tapestry was specially made for the opening of this cathedral. The Notre-Dame Cathedral has a Norman Gothic architectural style, which dates back to the 13th century (on average). Various parts of the structure have been constructed/reconstructed over time (the arches of the nave -11th century, the central tower- 15th century and the copper domes- 1860). Inside the cathedral, reside many fascinating murals and captivating interior décor.

Bayeux once had a thriving lace-making industry. This tradition is still preserved in the Conservatione de la Dentelle [Home Adam & Eve 6, Rue du Bienvenu, +33 231927380, http://dentelledebayeux.free.fr Free], which specialises in Norman-style lace-making. Some of France’s finest lace-makers can be found here, creating intricate designs, using minute bobbins and pins.

Like any other Normandy city, Bayeux also houses a museum that recalls the gruesome days of the Second World War. The Musée Memorial de la Battalille de Normandie [Boulevard Fabian Ware. +33 231514690  www.normandiememoire.com ad/ch €6.50/3.80] documents the history of the war, with both public and private displays, such as photos, personal accounts and wartime objects. You will not get lost here, as there are signs in both French and English. 

West of the museum, lies the serene Bayeux War cemetery [Bd Fabien Ware]. It is the largest commonwealth military cemetery in Normandy and it contains about 4848 graves that hold the bodies of soldiers from the United Kingdom and 10 other countries, including Germany. It also houses a memorial, across the road, which has been erected in honour of the 1807 commonwealth soldiers whose bodies were never found.  

Nearby, is another memorial which has been established by the joint effort of the City of Bayeux and the Reporters without Borders, organisation. The Mémorial des Reportes is dedicated to the thousands of reporters who had lost their lives whilst on duty, since 1944. It was inaugurated in 2006.

If you visit Bayeux in early July, you will be able to partake in the Fété Mediévales [www.normandie-tourisme.fr ]. This two day long festival will transport you back in time when there were chivalrous knights and fair damsels. It has costume parades, stage performances and there is even a medieval ball and a large feast following it!  Call the office

NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME Bayeux tapestry Battle of Hastings

 

 


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