Bayeux is a town located 10 km inland from the coast on the Aure River in Normandy, France. The town itself has a beautiful medieval center with cobbled streets and half timbered, Tudor style buildings. You could easily spend a couple of hours wandering the shops and streets in the city center. Bayeux’s claim to fame is the Bayeux Tapestry.
The Bayeux Tapestry is now housed in the Bayeux Museum in the center of town. The Bayeux Tapestry is not actually a tapestry but rather an embroidery representing the conquest of England by the Normans in 1066. The tapestry is about 70 m in length and 50 cm in height. The embroidery is done with 8 different coloured (blue-green, terracotta, light-green, buff, grey-blue, dark blue, yellow and a dark green) woolen threads on a linen background and historians believe that it was actually made in England, possibly in Kent. The tapestry is actually missing the ending possibly covering the coronation of William as king of England. Although it is not known when the tapestry was, made it is believed to be between the 11th and 12th century and commissioned by Bishop Odeo of Bayeux (King William’s half brother).
So what is the tapestry about? Some historians believe the tapestry is Norman propaganda excusing William from conquering England, but most believe it is showing the conquest of England by the Normans from the Norman’s perspective. The tapestry depicts Harold’s trip to Normandy and subsequent return to England and his coronation as King, after King Edward died. The tapestry describes the preparation for battle, the crossing of the English channel and the battle at Hastings.
The Bayeux tapestry is an important artwork not only because it depicts an important event in history, but because it provides information on what daily life was like at that time. The museum is very good and well worth a visit. Please note, you are not allowed to take photos inside the museum.
Interesting Fact: The term William the conqueror came from the fact that William conquered England.
Bayeux Tapestry Tourist Information
- Closed 24th – morning of the 26th of December, 31st to the afternoon of the 2nd of January, 8th January – 31st of January.
- 1st February to 28th February – 9.30 am – 12.30 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm
- 1st of March to 30th April – 9 am – 6.30 pm
- 1st May to 31st August – 9 am – 7 pm
- 1st September to the 31st of October – 9 am – 6.30 pm
- 1st November to the 31st December – 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm.
The entrance fee includes an audio guide which is available in 16 different languages including English.
- Adults – €9,50
- Reduced rate – €7.50
- Students – €5
- Under 10 – free
Official Websites: http://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/la_tapisserie_de_bayeux_en.html