As we are approaching the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings & The Battle Of Normandy – Bayeux France was a must on our France road trip itinerary. Steeped in history that dates back to medieval times, we were completely blown away by this charming city. As well as being the place to start any D-Day Landings tours of the area, especially from 6th June 2019 when the momentous 75th anniversary celebrations are to begin, Bayeux France also houses the Bayeux Tapestry & has plenty more to keep you wowed & completely moved – we managed to fit everything into just 24 hours & have to say this is one of favourite cities to date.
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Bayeux France – The Tapestry
Depicting the Norman invasion of England in 1066, the Bayeux Tapestry takes you on an embroidered walk through history. At a whopping 70 metres long, this Unesco Memory of the World was thought to be commissioned, somewhere around the end of 1066. The tapestry was made with pictures & very little text included in order to be understood by the mostly illiterate population at that time. Having been moved on numerous occasion, the Bayeux Tapestry is now housed by the Bayeux Museum who are currently refurbishing a new location to house this masterpiece which gets around 400,000 visitors a year.
At over 900 years old & including more than 600 characters & 200 horses the Bayeux Tapestry was something we had both studied at school, after looking at it in a lot of books, it was amazing to admire this work of art up close. The museum also has an excellent display & video in the cinema area which runs through the history of the tapestry as well as the events running up to, during & after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror.
We have summarised recommend visiting times, entrance costs & other info on visiting at the very end of this post.
The Museum Of The Battle Of Normandy
Just outside the Bayeux France historic centre The Museum Of The Battle Of Normandy is the perfect place to start any visit to the D-Day Landings beaches. It is the only museum in the whole region to detail the month by month military operations that were conducted in Normandy in the summer of 1944.
The displays are set up in a way not only to tell but really help you the feel the events of the end of the Second World War. Using a mix of timelines, photography, video & equipment this museum helps one to grasp the huge effort that eventually restored peace in Europe.
Again we have summarised recommend visiting times, entrance costs & other info on visiting at the very end of this post.
The Commonwealth War Cemetery & Memorial
Located right next to the Museum Of The Battle Of Normandy is the Bayeux British War Cemetery the largest cemetery of Commonwealth soldiers in France. Visiting a war cemetery is something that we have both wanted to do for quite a while now, taking some time to sit & reflect on the efforts made by so many & the huge losses around the entire world was one of the main things we come to Bayeux France to do.
Opposite the cemetery sits the white stone Bayeux Memorial which includes the Latin epitaph “1066: NOS A GULIELMO VICTI VICTORIS PATRIAM LIBERAVIMUS” translated this reads “We, once conquered by William, have now set free the conquerors native land.” For us visiting the Bayeux Tapestry just a couple of hours before this, really brought the impact of these words to life.
The Bayeux Museum also took us on a walk through the history of art through Europe at the MAHB. Located just a stone’s throw from the Bayeux Cathedral we’d say this place is well worth adding to your Bayeux France itinerary.
Housed in the former Bishops Palace, The MAHB takes you from pre-history right through to the 20th Century with its displays. It also includes displays of the lace & porcelain that the city is famed for.
Again we have summarised recommend visiting times, entrance costs & other info on visiting at the very end of this post.
Bayeux France Cathedral
Bayeux Cathedral is not only stunning in its presence but it also has a whole story behind it with links to William The Conqueror himself. William’s half-brother Odo was bishop of Bayeux & it’s thought that he was the person that commissioned the making of the Bayeux Tapestry which he then hung in the cathedral to tell the story to the local people of the great battle & of course to show that messing with the Norman’s was probably not a great idea.
Making for tons of photo opportunities we’d recommend taking a walk around the entire outside & inside of this national monument to truly get a feel for it. The site dates back to ancient times & was also occupied in Roman times but the present cathedral was consecrated by William in 1066.
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We’ve been road trippin’ our way through France for 2 1/2 weeks now, both of us have visited this country before but this time we have developed a different kind of relationship with it ?❤️ One question we get asked a lot is “do we truly experience things from behind a camera?” our answer to this, YES! In our quest to create inspiring & beautiful images we are always looking at every single detail in a building, wandering down a side street to capture things from a different angle or sitting & waiting for a landscape to change colour so we can capture the best possible shot. We had a jam-packed day in Bayeux, which we talked about a couple of posts back but we took the time to just wander the side streets next to the city’s stunning cathedral – et voila! – here came this shot ? We love blogging, we love the wonder & excitement it brings & we love that we get to share our creations with you guys ? Speaking of which we’ve just uploaded a brand new story of our Monday, right from sunrise to sunset if you’d like to take a look AND we’ve also just launched our new website – the link is up in our bio ☝️ Would love to hear your thoughts so please do let us know guys ? • • • • • #bayeux #citypicz #city_features #historiccity #historiccenter #normandy #normandyfrance #visitnormandy #normandytourism #beautifulnormandy #france?? #francia?? #france_vacations #visit_france #francetourisme #welovefrance #travelbloggerlife #wearetravelbloggers #travelphotography #travelphotoblog #travelblog #seetheworldthroughoureyes #creativefolk #thecreativeshots #livetocreate #welivetocreate #inspiringtravellers #exploreshareinspire #explorationinspiration #destinationaddict
The Medieval Centre
Oozing with charm, Bayeux France boasts a beautiful medieval centre. We took some time to just wander around & soak the up the whole atmosphere. The city’s architecture was thankfully spared during World War Two, meaning that today, the old narrow streets lined with mansions & timber-framed houses can be throughly enjoyed & admired.
As usual we always recommend the app Maps.Me for navigating around the city, which will make it easy to pin your points of interest & plan a route around that.
Useful Information For Your Visit
The Bayeux Museums
As mentioned above, the Bayeux Museum has 3 Museums in the city. The Bayeux Tapestry, The Museum Of The Battle Of Normandy & The MAHB. These can be visited individually, which at time of writing are charged at the rate of of 9.50 EUR for the Bayeux Tapestry, 7.50 EUR for The Museum Of The Battle Of Normandy & 7.50 EUR for The MAHB. There is also the option, to purchase a double ticket which includes entrance to any 2 of the museums for 12 EUR or a triple ticket for entrance into all 3 for 15 EUR. Details for reduced rates can be found on the prices page of the Bayeux Museum website.
An audio guide is included with the entrance into the Bayeux Tapestry & is available in 16 languages : French, English, German, Chinese, Danish, Spanish, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, Portuguese brazilian and Czech.
From our experience, the triple ticket works out at the best value & along with that visiting all 3 museums gave us a deeper understanding of the history of Bayeux France. We also recommend allowing the following amount of time for your visits…
The Bayeux Tapestry – Minimum 1 -1.5 hours
The Museum Of The Battle Of Normandy – Minimum 1 – 1.5 hours
The MAHB – Minimum 30 – 45 mins
Depending on how you are travelling there are a number of options to visit Bayeux France. Let’s first assume that you do not have access to your own transport, in which case we would recommend travelling by train into the city. Bayeux is 2 hours 15 minutes by train from Paris, all up-to-date train times & prices can be found through SNCF the official train carrier of France. We’d always recommend booking direct with them for the best prices & most accurate information even if it means using Google to help you with translation if you understand little or no French.
If like us you are travelling with your own transport visiting Bayeux France along with the surrounding D-Day Landings beaches will probably be a lot easier. The roads into Bayeux are fine to navigate & for us, visiting off-season were not at all congested. Driving times will depend on where you are coming from but as a guideline you’ll be looking at an approximate 3 hour drive from Paris.
Right next to The Museum Of The Battle Of Normandy is free day parking for both cars & motorhomes. We parked our motorhome up in the allocated camping car park & took the short, 15 minute walk into the city from there. As an option, if you have a motorhome, you can stay overnight in this car park (without facilities) at the cost of 6 EUR per night.
Where To Stay
We stayed just out-of-town, at a lovely farm which has its own Aire de Service area. Aire de Service are found all over France & are set up for Motorhomes or Camping Cars as the French call them. We find Camper Contact a super useful resource for finding these places & this is exactly how we found the farm to stay on, which is located in the village of Saint Vigor le Grand just a few kilometres outside of Bayeux France.
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Reflecting back on our day in the medieval city of Bayeux last week ?? We visited the largest Second World War cemetery of Commonwealth soldiers in France & teamed up with @bayeux_museum to visit all 3 of their museums in the city. Afterwards we headed over to Omaha beach, which was one of the locations of the 1944 d-day landings. Our whole day was like taking a walk through history, from the Bayuex Tapestry which depicts the Norman invasion of England way back in 1066, to wandering the medieval centre of the city, taking a walk through art history at the MAHB right through to gaining even more understanding of the pain & suffering of World War II. We both believe that you can feel the energy of a place, not just the current energy but an energy that goes back right through time – at the entrance to the war cemetery we visited this was almost revealed to us by a Latin inscription that reads “1066: NOS A GULIELMO VICTI VICTORIS PATRIAM LIBERAVIMUS.” The translation: “We, once conquered by William, have now set free the Conqueror’s native land.” The whole day was totally moving yet magical at the same time ✨ If you squint a little there’s Bayeux Cathedral right through the trees, can you see it? • • • • • #historyday #walkingthroughhistory #welovehistory #theprettycities #medievalcity #sunset_love #sunsettime #pinksunset #sunset_lovers #welovesunsets #treesofinstagram #tree_brilliance #bayeux #bayeuxtapestry #bayeuxfrance #francestagram #instafrance #instanaturefrance #travelfrance #francetravel #amomenttoreflect #travellingtheworld #iamtraveler #travelbloggers #travelbloggercouole #exploremore #exploringtheworld #explorationinspiration #destinationaddict
If you’re on the look out for your own accommodation, we’d recommend checking out Booking.com Airbnb or Hostelworld for the best deals, your budget & preferences determining which site you search. If you do opt for Airbnb & use our link you’ll get £25 / $32 off your first booking!
Where To Eat
You’ll be spoilt for choice in Bayeux France for places to dine & can choose from regional, national & even some international cuisine. We have highlighted some Norman specialities below that we highly recommend. On our visit, we opted for lunch at one of the cute little Salon de The’s (in English tea houses) in the city, all of which have a great selection of tea, coffee & a menus offering snacks such as Croque Monsieur & yummy French pastries. Whatever time of day, budget or whatever takes your fancy we’re sure you’ll find something that will leave your tummy feeling satisfied in Bayeux.
Visiting the D-Day Beaches
Bayeux France is a gateway for a visit to the D-Day beaches, we opted to drive over to Omaha Beach at the end of our day in the city. A 20 minute trip brought us to one of the five beaches, that the allied forces landed on the 6th June 1944 & for us, the whole experience of walking along the beach trying to grasp how it must have felt on that day was beyond moving.
Just behind Omaha Beach is the Omaha Memorial Museum that, had time allowed, we would have definitely taken the time to visit on that day.
The beaches of Juno, Gold, Utah & Sword together with Omaha make up the 5 D-Day Landings locations. As mentioned at the start of this post, June 2019 will mark the start of the 75th Anniversary of these landings & will be monumental in celebration of the freedom & victory in Europe.
Other Nearby Points Of Interest
Just 10 mins drive outside of Bayeux France lies Lounges-Sur-Mer – a coastal area that contains some of the imposing batteries that make up the Nazi built Atlantic wall which stretches a huge 800 miles along the coast of Europe & Scandinavia.
Just an hour an a half from Bayeux, France lies the famous & completely magical Mont St Michel, which we also visited & would highly recommend adding to your itinerary if time allows. Just on from Mont St Michel is the pretty port town of St Malo, which again is also well worth a stop.
France & cheese pretty much go hand in hand but each region has its own speciality, in Normandy the most famous has to be Camembert. Choose to eat this gooey sphere of yumminess warm or cold, what we can guarantee is you won’t be disappointed!
Norman’s take their apples very seriously & they use them a lot! From the traditional apple tart to Norman sparkling cider, if apples are your thing we’d recommend trying the variety of apples products that are on offer.
Covering a lot of coast means one thing, seafood. Marmite Dieppoise is a fish stew from the city of Dieppe which combines all the flavours of the ocean by taking mollusks, crustaceans & fish & beautifully combining them with butter, cider & crème fraîche to form a creamy & delicious broth.
Meadow-salted lamb (agneaux de pré salé in French) from the bay of Mont St Michel. Andouille de Vire a sausage from Normandy’s Vire region. Tripes à la mode de Caen, which is probably best described as being similar to haggis. These are some of the meaty delights that this region has to offer.
You’ll see signs all along the road, tempting you into farms to buy this delicious apple & pear brandy. Trust us when we say it’s pretty yummy & well worth making a stop at a traditional farm-house for a bottle.
Bayeux France Summary
So pretty much 24 hours of soaking up history from the medieval times right up until the not so distant World War II. Our day in Bayeux, was filled with wonder, sadness & a lot of reflection. The feeling of visiting some of the very sights & viewing works of art that depict what has shaped our history gave us both even more insight into the importance of our European roots. most significantly though it reminded us of how important peace, in this world, above anything else, is.
We really hope that you get to visit Bayeux France soon, if you have any questions at all we’d of course love to answer them so please do drop them in the comments & of course if you have already been to Bayeux & have anything to add please do so in the comments.
Kelly & Adam x