Bayeux is a small Norman village with charm for all lovers of history, since its origin dates back to nothing more and nothing less than the first century BC, in the middle of the Roman Empire. Today its community of about 15,000 inhabitants lives almost exclusively from tourism. Many visitors come to see the famous Queen Matilda Tapestry, which depicts the Norman conquest of England in 1066.
But that is not the only attraction of Bayeux, the town holds all the beauty of the region among its cobblestone streets, bars and restaurants. Many other travelers come here to visit the museums related to the Second World War, more precisely to the Normandy landing, visit its imposing Cathedral, enjoy its archaeological heritage and much more. Join me on this tour of beautiful Bayeux.
1. Dazzle yourself with the Queen Matilda Tapestry
One of the things you can't miss on your visit to this charming town is to see the Queen Matilda Tapestry, also known as the Bayeux Tapestry or the Tapestry of the Conquest. It is one of the oldest and most valuable treasures in France, since it was made in the 11th century. The tapestry tells the story of the Norman conquest of England in 1066.
It is one of the best known and most valued medieval works of art in the world. It is 70 meters long and 50 centimeters wide. It features a series of embroidered scenes. Each depicts a key moment of the Conquest, from William the Conqueror's departure from Normandy to his victory at the Battle of Hastings.
The Queen Mathilde Tapestry is a fundamental part of French culture. It can be seen in the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Bayeux, displayed in a U-shaped room.
2. Take a tour of Bayeux and the best of the Normandy region
Normandy is much more than D-Day, for many it is the region that represents the perfect blend of charm and history. During your trip you can enjoy all the beauty of the French countryside and coastline, making one of the best visits to Normandy from Bayeux.
You can visit dream places like Rouen or Giverny, marvel at the landscapes that inspired Claude Monet and visit the square where Joan of Arc was burned.
In Rouen you can appreciate its Great Clock (Gros Horloge) and its Gothic cathedral, which has the highest spire in France. Rouen Cathedral has been painted by many artists over the years, thanks to its majesty. In Giverny, on the other hand, you will feel like you are inside an impressionist painting, surrounded by nature. It is here that Monet lived with his family throughout his life.
3. Visit the amazing Bayeux Cathedral
Definitely one of the must-see sights of Bayeux is its cathedral. The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Bayeux (Our Lady of Bayeux) is a vast example of Norman Gothic architecture. It has a unique blend of Romanesque and Gothic elements that will leave you speechless. It also houses an impressive collection of artwork and historical artifacts.
Located in the heart of the city of Bayeux, the cathedral was built in the 11th century. The exterior of the church is absolutely breathtaking, with its high towers and stone arches, and inside, its large stained glass windows create a magical atmosphere. In addition to its artistic details, carved columns and vaulted ceilings, it houses an extensive collection of works of art.
You will marvel at its frescoes, sculptures and many historical objects, which tell the history of the region and of the cathedral itself. It is also home to the tomb of Bishop Odon, who was the brother of King William the Conqueror. Included in the best tours of Bayeux, it is now one of the most visited places in the region.
Information of interest:
- Location: Rue du Bienvenu, 14400, Bayeux.
- Price: free admission.
- Hours: January 1 to March 31 from 9 am to 5 pm. From April 1 to June 30 from 8:30 am to 6 pm. From July 1 to September 30 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. From October 1 to December 31 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
4. Explore the rich archaeological heritage of Bayeux
If you are passionate about history, get ready, because you've come to the right place. Beyond the picturesque streets, Bayeux has a huge archaeological heritage, which includes both remains from Roman times and vestiges of the Viking era. Keep in mind that the town was founded in the 1st century BC, so it has witnessed much of the changes that the region has undergone.
You can visit places like the Abbey of Jumièges, a Benedictine monastery that was founded in the sixth century and was one of the largest and most powerful monasteries in France in the Middle Ages; the Cathedral of Bayeux, built in the eleventh century and of which we have already spoken; the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy, which is a museum dedicated to World War II and the battle of D-Day, one of the most important events of the war.
Bayeux has everything to enjoy a tour through its past. Its peaceful little stone streets full of charm treasure centuries of history.
5. Cycle through the charming cobblestone streets of Bayeux and discover its cultural life
But beyond the historical beauty of this place that seems frozen in time, Bayeux is a town that truly charms, with a welcoming atmosphere and a vibrant cultural life. You are in the perfect place to experience French culture first hand, and one of the most popular ways to do so is through its bars and bistros. Try the delicious Norman beer, which has become famous around the world.
Despite being a small town, Bayeux has a vibrant art scene. Numerous art galleries and museums can be found here. While Bayeux's cultural life can also be experienced through its festivals, from the famous Bayeux Fair to its own Circus Festival, there are a variety of events to choose from throughout the year.
6. Explore the D-Day battlefields from Bayeux
Bayeux occupies a luxurious place in the history of World War II, as it was one of the first towns liberated by the Allied forces, and is home to the museum that tells the story of the Battle of Normandy. Visiting the landing beaches is an adventure and a deeply moving experience.
The first and farthest of these beaches is Utah Beach. Then there is Omaha Beach (the most famous of them all), Juno Beach, Gold Beach (the latter is home to the Landing Museum) and finally Sword Beach. Visiting these places will allow you to learn a little more about not only the region but also about world history.
There are different types of themed tours, where you can visit the key points from the American, Canadian or British perspective, each with its own fascinating history behind it. Whichever tour you choose, your guide will tell you all about what happened in those dark days when the war was coming to an end.
7. Enjoy the local gastronomy of Bayeux
The Normandy region is one of the most fertile in terms of gastronomy. Its cheeses are among the most famous in the world. Among them, the Camembert, the Livarot or the Pont l'Evêque, as well as the Neufchâtel, are real delicacies worth tasting.
But not all its gastronomic charm remains in dairy products, being also a region with no less than 600 kilometers of sea coast, its seafood and seafood have been able to stand out. Its oysters are highly sought after, as well as its scallops and sea snails. The Norman cuisine includes them in many of its dishes.
In addition, thanks to its abundant apple production, Bayeux is known for its cider, one of the finest in the world. For all these reasons, you can not miss the gastronomy of this French region, I assure you that you will not regret it.
8. Take a tour from Bayeux to Mont Saint Michel
Undoubtedly one of the most charming places in France and one of the best full day tours to do from Bayeux. Mont Saint Michel looks like a fairy tale. Located on a small rocky island belonging to the estuary of the Couesnon River, this small village can be explored with all the senses. Small stone streets lined with restaurants and souvenir stores mark the way to the top, where the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is located.
You get here through a long walkway that, when the sea rises, is completely submerged, giving Mont Saint-Michel a unique appearance. The pictures you can take here are absolutely magical.
Touring the abbey at the top is a journey back in time, with its stone corridors and windows, beautiful architecture and panoramic views, it has it all. While there are excursions from Paris, Bayeux is actually very close, making it the best choice if you are eager to see this gem.
9. Tour Bayeux and its surroundings on an electric bike
There is no more pleasurable feeling than pedaling through green fields, enjoying majestic views. In this opportunity I propose you to ride and explore the charming town of Bayeux and its surroundings on a bicycle.
This is an activity that you can do on a traditional bicycle or opt for an e-bike and thus save a little energy while touring the city. This option makes it an activity suitable for any type of person, regardless of their physical condition.
Visit the most beautiful and important places in Bayeux and its surroundings, and if you are up for it, continue to the landing beaches. You can rent a bike equipped with GPS and helmet. This is a unique and different experience, to enjoy some of the most beautiful Norman landscapes in the open air and get some exercise.
10. Visit the amazing Bayeux Botanical Garden
If you find yourself in Bayeux, one of its unmissable visits is its incredibly beautifulBotanical Garden. Declared a Historic Monument, this free public park is one of the most beautiful Norman gardens. Built in the 19th century by the Bühler brothers, its more than 2.6 hectares treasure numerous botanical species, including the famous weeping beech.
Ideal for finding peace and for a leisurely stroll, the Bayeux Botanical Garden is one of those places that you cannot miss. On your tour you will be able to come across details and stories of the city's past.
Information of interest:
- Location: 55 route de Port-en-Bessin, 14400 Bayeux.
- Price: free admission.
- Hours: From April 1 to September 30 from 9 am to 8 pm. From October 1 to October 31 from 9 am to 7 pm. From November 1 to February 28 from 9 am to 5 pm. From 1 to 31 March from 9 to 19hs.
11. Enjoy art and history at the Baron Gerard Museum
Inaugurated in 1874, the Baron Gerard Museum in Bayeux is a museum that combines art and history. It has a large collection of historical artifacts and works of art, ranging from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. It is worth noting its beautiful medieval tapestries.
In addition, the museum houses an important collection of Gallo-Roman objects and an interesting collection of paintings and sculptures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Baron Gerard Museum is a must-see for those interested in the history and art of Normandy.
Information of interest:
- Location: 37 rue du Bienvenu, 14400 Bayeux.
- Price: from 7.50 euros per person. Children under 10 years old do not pay admission.
- Hours: From February 1 to April 30 from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm. From May 1 to September 30 from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. From October 1 to December 31 from 10am to 12:30pm and from 2pm to 6pm.