Bayeux is a medieval city, spared from war destructions. Today, its exceptional heritage is protected by the means of a conservation area. Along the cobbled streets, between timber-framed houses and stone dwellings adorned by square towers, elegant mansions testify of the city’s prestige. Two dates sum up its history: 1066 – the conquest of England by William the Conqueror, and 1944 – the Landing of the Allies.

The Bayeux Tapestry: a treasure for Humankind

Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux Tapestry is one of the rare artefacts listed “Memory of the World” by UNESCO, open to the public. This thousand-year-old authentic embroidery takes you back to the days of strongholds and castles. Considered as the precursor of comic strips, it relates the Epic Adventure of William the Conqueror, the famous Duke of Normandy, who went to Hastings in 1066 to seize the throne of England. Its historical value and aesthetic quality continues to inspire artists and historians from around the world.

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The Bayeux Cathedral

The Bayeux Cathedral, a gem of Norman architecture, situated in the heart of the conservation area, remains a major example of religious buildings in Normandy. The cathedral was consecrated on 14th July 1077, by Bishop Odo of Conteville, in the presence of his illustrious brother, William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy and king of England. The Bayeux Tapestry from the Middle Ages was probably intended to be hung in the cathedral nave. Guided tours with a privileged access to the treasure room and the chapter house are provided during holidays.

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Medieval Festival in Bayeux

For more than 30 years, on the first week-end of July, Bayeux takes you back to the Middle Ages! Around the Cathedral, you can enjoy street performances featuring fairy-tale creatures, jugglers, jesters, and historical plays. Hundreds of stalls and a street parade recreate the atmosphere in the days of medieval knights. Every year no less than 50 000 visitors come to the medieval festival in Bayeux! With over 50 000 visitors every year, the Bayeux Medieval Festival is the third most important in France.

For more info: Service action culturelle +33(0)2 31 92 03 30 – www. 

The MAHB, museum of Art and History

Reopened in 2013 after 4 years of renovation, the Baron Gérard Art and History Museum (MAHB), set in the former Episcopal palace, has doubled its surface in order to hold some of the heritage of Bayeux: 5000 pieces of art of different nature, presented in 14 exhibition rooms. The chronological visit of the museum starts with the oldest chapel of the building (13th Century) and takes visitors on a tour of different epochs and ambiances. On the ground floor, wall paintings from a 2nd Century Gallo-Roman villa in Bayeux are presented to the public for the first time. The grand staircase, with its ornate wrought iron balustrade, leads to the first floor and the room dedicated to lace. Visitors will also discover the tribunal, the Bishop’s chapel, and the glass room where paintings and prints from between the 15th to the 20th Centuries are exhibited. Pieces of Bayeux porcelain are magnified by light in display cabinets. The visit is also punctuated with digital terminals allowing visitors to look at 20000 digitized works.

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