Travel Tips: Bayeux and the Normandy Coast

Bayeux

Remember studying the Bayeux Tapestry in school? It tells the story of the Norman conquest of England by William the Conquerer at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. (Money Grab takes place in the fictional southern city of Hastings, which takes its name from this famous battle.) The ancient embroidered fabric is 20” tall and 230’ long, displayed behind glass in a darkened climate-controlled room, with motion-activated narration to explain what you’re looking at.

Detail from the Bayeux Tapestry
A detail from the Bayeux Tapestry showing Odo, half brother to William the Great, rallying his troops forward during the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Click here to view the full tapestry. [Public Domain*]
Bayeux is one of the few Norman towns that wasn’t destroyed by either the Americans or the Germans in World War II. We stayed on the third floor of the Villa Lara Hotel, directly across from the cathedral, consecrated in 1077 and famous for its beautiful stained glass windows.

Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeaux Cathedral
Bayeux Cathedral

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Normandy Coast

Our tour guide for the Normandy beaches was Dale Booth, author of Following in the Footsteps of Heroes: D-Day June 6, 1944.

Dale did an amazing job of explaining the D-Day invasion onto Utah, Omaha, and other beaches, when young Allied solders, heavily weighted down by equipment, fighting seasickness in the rough waves, scrambled across the beaches under heavy fire.

Back at home we again watched Saving Private Ryan, the 1998 war drama starring Tom Hanks. The movie was even more heart-rending after we had seen the beaches for ourselves and realized what an amazing feat that victory was.

Have you been to Bayeux? What are some of your favorite travel spots?

*This media file is in the public domain in the United States. See this page for further explanation. {{PD-US}}
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