10 Reasons to Visit Bayeux



10 Reasons to Visit Bayeux

Famed for its 1,000-year-old tapestry, there is more to Bayeux than its UNESCO-listed masterpiece: unscathed by World War Two, its medieval beauty is sure to seduce those who take the time to linger.

1. The Bayeux Tapestry

The symbol of a heritage shared by the Normans and the English, a visit to the Bayeux Tapestry is a must. Almost 70m long, this 11th-century linen fabric embroidered with woollen threads tells the story of William, Duke of Normandy’s conquest of England in 1066.

Tapisserie de Bayeux ёBayeux Museum, © VILLE DE BAYEUX

2. Odo Cathedral

Intimately linked to the history of the Tapestry, the majestic Gothic cathedral of Bayeux still shows vestiges of its construction in the 11th century under the episcopate of Odon de Conteville, half-brother of William the Conqueror. For several centuries, the 1,000-year-old embroidery was hung along the nave during the annual Feast of the Holy Relics.

Bayeux Cath‚drale ёVille de Bayeux, © VILLE DE BAYEUX

3. An historic centre

Spared by the bombardments of the Battle of Normandy, Bayeux is a city of culture and history whose rich heritage and historic alleys can easily be explored on foot. Remember to look up as you stroll to see the architectural details of the old half-timbered houses and the rich decorations of the turreted mansions.

4. Museum of art and history Baron Gérard

In the renovated former palace of the bishops of Bayeux, the marvellous MAHB is a museum well worth a lingering visit. Explore its collections, ranging from prehistory to the 20th century in 14 chronological spaces, showcasing all aspects of artistic creation in Europe, alongside the history of the city.

5. Botanical garden

Created in 1859, the botanical garden of Bayeux is one of the most beautiful landscaped parks of the 19th century in Normandy. The most spectacular element of this garden is a weeping beech, labelled an ‘arbre remarquable de France’. A discovery trail, made up of 17 information points, allows visitors to discover the botanical riches of the garden as well as historical anecdotes about the city.

6. Liberty Alley

Bayeux was the first town in France to be liberated on June 7, 1944, and Liberty Alley brings together the city’s remembrance sites: the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy, the largest of the British military cemeteries managed by the CGWC in France, and the War Reporters’ Memorial Garden, the only such place in Europe.

7. The Landing beaches

From Bayeux, it is easy to visit the D-Day landing beaches and places of remembrance, such as Arromanches with its new museum next to the remains of the artificial port, the American cemetery at Omaha Beach, and the Pointe du Hoc. Many guided tours and transport offers are available in the Bayeux region to help you discover the emblematic sites of D-Day in Normandy.

8. Freedom regained

Every year around June 6, Bayeux is a key place for the ceremonies marking D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in 1944. Next year will be particularly poignant as it will mark the 80th anniversary of the event. Alongside the official celebrations, popular festivities during the D-Day Festival Normandy include parades of military vehicles, historical re-enactments, freedom balls, fireworks, concerts and more, making June a month to remember!

9. Shopping & gastronomy

There are more than 200 shops in the centre of Bayeux, all within walking distance, and most of them are independent businesses. Recharge your batteries with a gourmet break and taste a Saint-Eve, the emblematic meringue pastry of Bayeux. For lunch or dinner, good homemade dishes can be enjoyed at the many restaurants on rue Saint-Jean. And don’t miss the Saturday morning farmers’ market on Place Saint-Patrice, especially if you want to buy good Norman cheeses and farmhouse cider.

shopping et pause gourmande Bayeux ёVille de Bayeux © VILLE DE BAYEUX

10. A walk along the Aure

You may think you’ve seen everything in Bayeux while you’re strolling through the historic centre, but don’t miss a walk along the banks of the Aure, the river that crosses the city. Here you’ll find even more beautiful views of the cathedral, the mills and old washhouses and other historic buildings. This charming pedestrianised walk, which crosses the city from south to north over 4km, is sure to delight lovers of heritage and nature alike.

For more information, visit www.bayeuxmuseum.com & www.bayeux-bessin-tourisme.com

Lead photo credit : Bayeux Cathedral, © Allen Castillo/Flickr

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