Posts filed under ‘Bayeux’

La Tapisserie de Bayeux

In addition to seeing as much of the D-Day sites as we could in our limited, we also wanted to visit Bayeux to see the famous Bayeux tapestry. Well, I should rephrase. My mom really wanted to visit Bayeux to see the famous Bayeux tapestry. I like museums and historical things, but I had not been yearning to see the Bayeux tapestry like my mom had. But since it was one of her main goals for the trip, I made sure to carve a few hours out of our D-Day schedule to head to Bayeux. I was excited to see the town during its annual Medieval Festival. As it turned out, we happened to be visiting during an even bigger year than usual, since it was the 1100th anniversary of Normandy.

Turkey Leg
And who doesn’t love a festival where older French men wear dress-like garments while they eat turkey legs? Fun for all!

I have never been to Medieval Times (an entertainment destination outside of Chicago), but I imagine that it is something like Bayeux during the Fête Médiévale…except, of course, Bayeux has the advantage in that the giant cathedral in the middle of town is actually authentic, as are the cobblestoned streets. Okay, it is probably not that similar to Medieval Times.

Bayeux Cathedral
The area around the cathedral was so crowded with festival things that I didn’t get any uncluttered photos of it, but even with the clutter, it’s still really impressive, right?

We were terribly hungry at this point in the day, the pains au chocolat from breakfast having worn off hours before, so we found a café a few blocks up from the main festival area, and I finally got my sandwich au Camembert. It was absolutely perfect. I can still taste it, five months later, and now I want one. Unfortunately, the only cheese in my refrigerator right now is a block of Kraft reduced-fat sharp cheddar.

Tapestry Museum
After our lunch and a short walk through town, we headed to the museum. In researching for the trip, I had visited the museum’s website to find information about admission and opening times, only to discover an 8-page PDF document of very specific rules for the museum. I was a little worried that we were going to have to endure a pat-down search to see the tapestry, but the people inside the museum were much friendlier than the PDF document led me to believe.

Unveiled each year in the cathedral during festivals, the Bayeux Tapestry is an extremely long piece of embroidered fabric that tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. It was meant to educate an illiterate population, and made just a few years after the battle, almost a millenium ago. And it is really, really cool.

The entrance to the museum includes an audio guide, something that we usually skip when we visit museums, but it’s essential here because it outlines every one of the scenes and points out details and meanings that the average non-scholar would not see otherwise. The experience of seeing it went way beyond my expectations and I am so glad that my mom wanted to see it, or I don’t think that we would have made the trip.

Of course, several of the many rules deal with photography—specifically, that it is absolutely forbidden. But if you would like to see the tapestry, this website will take you through the entire thing.

Back in town, we wandered a little more on the way back to the car, stopping to peek in a few of the booths and to watch a few minutes of a play being staged on the cathedral lawn.

Cute kid
Even the little ones in Bayeux were into the medieval spirit!


November 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment


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