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Day Two, Bayeux - April 2nd, 2019

No driving but 18395 steps taken!

Slept like a log after my early wake up on the 1st. Barely made it to 10pm before I crashed. Considering I did four solid hours driving from Calais to Bayeux, little wonder I crashed!

Anyway, woke up revitalised and ready to hit my first day of sightseeing. After a breakfast of croissants (go figure!), I ended up walking into Bayeux centre itself, as I’m staying on the outskirts in a village called St Vigour-le-Grand. The walk itself was beautiful, following a river (l’Aure), most of the way into the middle of Bayeux.

First stop was the tourist office. Though I had an idea of what I wanted to see, it’s always best to get advice. Thankfully, when you’re in northern France (from what I’ve been told), most places will speak English, and the lady behind the counter was very helpful. In addition to highlighting sights around Bayeux, she also pointed out places, some of which I already knew, along the Normandy coast.

The first place to visit just had to be the Bayeux tapestry. I paid €15 for it, but that also gained me entrance to the Musee D’Art et D’Histoire (Art Museum. Cultured!) and the Musee Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie (Battle of Normandy Museum 1944.)

The tapestry museum came with an audio description that explained each panel. I think I was the only one listening in English as I was surrounded by French schoolchildren! The on word to describe it is impressive. It seemed to go on forever, and the permanent exhibition above provided even more detail, while even the short video added more to the previous audio provided. Spent a good hour to 90 minutes there and well worth the price of admission alone.

Next was the art museum. I’ll admit, I know nothing about art, but I realised it was more about the history of Normandy itself in addition to just art. Plenty of Roman artefacts were provided, and each room contained objects from the Roman ages up to the 20th century. Considering I hadn’t even heard of the place, I spent a good 90 minutes wandering the rooms. Most art goes over my head, I just think ‘That’s a good picture’ but one or two pieces certainly caught the eye.

Typically, as I was in that museum above, the weather took a turn for the worst. The next stop was next door, the Bayeux Cathedral. And, just like one of my last European adventures, it was in the middle of some maintenance. Still, I spent a good half an hour or so wandering around, and although I am not religious whatsoever, I certainly took photos of stained glass windows and paintings, like replicating various passages of the Bible. Though enormous in scope, was it as grand as others I’ve seen? Perhaps not, though I think the building work hasn’t helped my opinion.

Low clouds moved in as I walked towards the Bayeux War Cemetery, otherwise known as the Cimitiere Militaire Britannique. I took no photos while I was there, except for one, which is of the memorial opposite the cemetery itself. Otherwise, the graves speak for themselves. The one memory I will take is ‘They were nearly all kids’. I’m 37 at the time of writing, and I barely saw a grave containing someone older than me. Most were 18, 19, maybe 22 to 25 at most… I was surprised to see German graves within, and they were nearly all the same ages, most likely indoctrinated by the Nazi’s. In addition to British and German, there were Poles, Czechs, Soviets (Russians), Australians, even a Kiwi or two. I even saw an Italian grave there. All were young men on both sides were sent to die for the cause.

Lest We Forget.

At the going down of the sun, We Will Remember Them.

After that, it was a quick walk to the Battle of Normandy Museum. If you are a history buff, particularly regarding World War II or just D-day itself, then you would thoroughly enjoy a visit here. It explains, almost in minute detail, the events of June 6th, 1944, up until the end of August, when the Battle of Normandy is considered complete, and the Germans were pushed back over the River Seine.

Although the cinema showed quite a long video, I definitely spent more time reading information and gazing upon the exhibits (in addition to some photos). If you like to see things like tanks and guns, this probably isn’t for you, but if you’re after the story of D-Day itself and its aftermath, then I can only recommend it.

I’d done a lot of walking by then, so I needed a beer. Heading back into the centre of Bayeux, I was hoping for a beer and a meal, as my idea is to eat breakfast then to eat around 4-5pm. Trust me, it saves money in the long run.

But nowhere is open before 6pm! Have to remember they do things differently on continental Europe. So I had a couple of small beers before grabbing a baguette and heading back to my little house. I had jambon (ham) and fromage (cheese) in the fridge that needs to be eaten, and I don’t want to be out all night drinking.

At least, not yet!

Not sure if there’s a bar close by that I could at least enjoy a beer in, but tomorrow, a bar I have read about is open, and there are three positives: they speak English, serve beer and food all day. Only reason I’m not there now is that it’s closed on a Tuesday.

Wednesday is about the Normandy coastline, so it will be back in the car and driving north. Upon my return, it will be into the centre of Bayeux again when I will enjoy a night out!

Posted by benjamin2981 08:25 Archived in France Tagged history cathedral old_town tapestry bayeux war_cemetery

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