5 Reasons to Visit Bayeux France

posted by Sharon Odegaard 44 Comments
Bayeux Normandy France

Bayeux is an ancient town near the channel coast of Normandy, and it’s just a 2.5-hour train ride from Paris. You can zip here for a couple of days for a change from big city life. It’s the unlikely home of a UNESCO artwork. And it’s the perfect base for a tour of the D-Day beaches. Bayeux has so much to recommend it.  Here are 6 reasons you will enjoy a visit to Bayeux.

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Bayeux is amazingly well preserved. With its narrow, winding lanes and medieval architecture, you can imagine life here as it was centuries ago. The River Aure flows along, adding beauty to Bayeux. Bayeux Normandy France

The survival of Bayeux is miraculous in part because Bayeux is just 6 miles from the D-Day landing beaches. Bombs devastated towns all around Normandy, but somehow this gem survived. Our tour guide told us a story about a priest from Bayeux hastening to meet with the Allies on the evening of June 6, 1944. The soldiers, having gained about a mile of the shore, recuperated as darkness fell, but they would be pressing inland the next day. The priest knew Bayeux lay in their path and that the plan would be to bomb and destroy his beloved city. He urgently informed the Allies that the Germans had quietly left Bayeux, so there was no need to bombard it. That was true, he was believed, and the next day Bayeux, unharmed by battle, became the first French town to be liberated. Today you can enjoy the steepled skyline, waterwheels on the River Aure, and stone buildings hundreds of years old. Bayeux Normandy France Bayeux Normandy FranceBayeux Normandy France

Bayeux Normandy France

The half-timbered style of buildings that I love can be found here, too. This was across the street from our hotel.  Bayeux Normandy France

Small and full of charm, Bayeux offers a relaxing and colorful place to enjoy life. Read on for 5 reasons to visit! Bayeux Normandy France

Bayeux Cathedral

The towering Bayeux Cathedral that dominates the skyline of Bayeux dates to 1077. It was consecrated in the presence of William, Duke of Normandy, King of England. Built in the Norman-Romanesque style it was damaged and rebuilt with Gothic elements. Bayeux Cathedral Notre-Dame

While the sight of this marvel is astounding,I was also taken with the beauty of the interior as well. Bayeux Cathedral Notre-DameBayeux Cathedral Notre-Dame

The stained glass seems especially rich in color. Bayeux Cathedral Notre-DameBayeux Cathedral Notre-Dame

I had been to Bayeux on other trips but didn’t take the time to go in the cathedral. I’m glad I was able to see this lovely church this visit. Bayeux Cathedral Notre-Dame

Bayeux Cathedral Notre-DameBayeux Cathedral Notre-DameThe World-Famous Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux tapestryListed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, the Bayeux  Tapestry draws visitors from all over the world. It is an embroidered cloth almost 230 feet in length and 20 inches high. The intricate scenes depict events leading up to the Norman conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy and ending with the Battle of Hastings. It is the largest and most well preserved artwork in this style from the Middle Ages. It’s valued not only for its contribution to the story of the Norman invasion but also for showing aspects of medieval daily life and war. This was one artwork that Hitler wanted to claim for himself, but it was well hidden during World War II. The tapestry was on view in the cathedral for some time, but now it has its own place for display in the William the Conqueror Centre of Bayeux. Your ticket includes an audio guide in your language, and you move along the glassed-in tapestry as you hear the story it portrays. The price is 9 Euro for adults and 4 Euro for children.

Want to learn about the tapestry in depth? Book a tour with excellent Context Tours. You’ll be glad you did!

Bayeux tapestry

Bayeux tapestryBayeux War Cemetery

The Bayeux War Cemetery is a large, beautiful cemetery for Commonwealth soldiers who died in France in World War II, mostly in this Normandy area. More than 4,000 men rest here, and you can visit and honor their memory. Bayeux War Cemetery

Bayeux War CemeteryBayeux War CemeteryBayeux Normandy FranceMemorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy Bayeux

This excellent Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy is directly across the street from the cemetery. It presents in chronological order the events of the battle for Normandy, starting with the D-Day landings and continuing on through that summer of 1944.Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy Bayeux

You’ll find quite a collection of tanks and other vehicles, and numerous displays of items from World War II both inside and outdoors. Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy BayeuxMemorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy BayeuxMemorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy Bayeux

I noticed that families were here with their children. I love knowing that these young ones are learning history. Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy Bayeux

At the same time, I noticed several photos from the liberation of Normandy that featured children and their parents. It’s a reminder that the war affected not just the soldiers but so many civilians caught in the sweep of the war. The interactions of the liberators with the little ones is especially touching. Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy BayeuxMemorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy BayeuxMemorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy Bayeux

Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy Bayeux

This museum is open from 10 to 6 (closes for lunch).

The Normandy Cuisine

The Normandy countryside is host to farms and meadows filled with cows, so fresh produce and dairy foods are as good as you’ll enjoy anywhere. Cheeses are a specialty. And then there’s fresh fish. I’m a picky eater, but I could live in Normandy and never run out of delightful things to eat. We found this sidewalk cafe a block from our hotel and ended up here for breakfast all 5 mornings.

Bayeux Normandy FranceBayeux Normandy France

Bayeux Normandy FranceFor dinner, I can recommend Le Marsala (17 rue Cuisiniers), especially for the vegetarian lasagne and pizza. Yes, we ate here 3 times! We also enjoyed Restaurant Le Table dy Terrior (42 Rue Saint-Jean), where they served this delicious seafood dish.  Bayeux Normandy France
And you can always visit a boulangerie and pick up a fresh baguette, some cheese and fruit, and venture off for the day with your picnic lunch. All our meals were winners in Bayeux.

So there you have just a few reasons to visit the lovely old city of Bayeux! Bayeux Normandy France

Getting to the D-Day Beaches from Paris

You have several options if you are traveling from Paris to the D-Day Beaches. By train, journey either to Caen or Bayeux. Trains leave from the Paris Saint-Lazare station. The trip is about two to two-and-a-half hours.

Book your train tickets with Trainline for easy and reliable service.
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If you drive from Paris to Bayeux or Caen, allow about 3 hours. Take A13 to Caen or A13 and A84 to Bayeux.

Renting a car? I can recommend renting with Auto Europe.
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I’ve learned that the easiest way to get from Paris to Bayeux is to train to Caen, then rent a car. The car rentals are conveniently right across the street from the train station in Caen. Then drive about 20 minutes to Bayeux. I have driven from Paris, but driving in the city can be crazy. I actually went around the Arc de Triomphe in a circle several times before finding the right exit street. And I haven’t wanted to repeat that adventure!

Where to Stay in Bayeux

Bayeux has a limited number of hotels. You’ll also find bed and breakfasts in the countryside. We opted for an apartment this trip, as we were there for 6 nights. My favorite hotel is The Churchill, on the main street in the heart of the city. You’ll be able to walk anywhere in town from here. The breakfast in the sunny day room is a big plus, too.

Book the elegant Hotel Churchill — the perfect base for exploring the D-Day Beaches.

Learn more about the D-Day Beaches near Bayeux

Visiting the D-Day Beaches: Omaha Beach
Visiting the Five Normandy D-Day Beaches
Visiting the D-Day Beaches: Gold, Juno and Sword
Visiting the D-Day Beaches: Utah Beach


A Bonus for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day: World War II Era Paintings

These delightful paintings of life during World War II decorated windows all over the Old Town. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorites.

Bayeux Normandy France

Bayeux Normandy FranceBayeux Normandy FranceBayeux Normandy FranceBayeux Normandy FranceBayeux Normandy FranceBayeux Normandy FranceBayeux Normandy France
Bayeux Normandy France


Bayeux France - Exploringrworld.com

Bayeux France Normandy - Exploringrworld.com

Bayeux Normandy - Exploringrworld.comBayeux Tapestry Normandy France - Exploringrworld.comVisit to Bayeux Normandy France - Exploringrworld.comBayeux Normandy France - Exploringrworld.com

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Junieper/Jesh at

Much to see in Bayeux, and lately I have heard more stories about certain places planned for destruction, but disaster was averted in the 2nd World War, because of the cultural heritage or the beauty of that town or city.Even in war time, people cannot stop to be people and take emotional decisions:) Am glad they did for Bayeux. The water views are spectacular.The interior of the Gothic church is pristine! Many thanks for showing this to All Seasons, Sharon! Have an awesome week:)

Cathy Keller at

Oh my, seeing your photos of Hayeux and Normandy reminded me of our trip to France! Many of your photos are much like mine! Thanks for the memories! I do enjoy your posts!

Tamar A Strauss-Benjamin at

I felt like I was there with you! Such amazing architecture.

Carol at

An amazing tour and such a beautiful, historic place to visit. Love all the info and pictures. P S remember Google Plus no longer exists. You should remove it as a share option.

Lisa | Handmade in Israel at

I knew you were going to mention the Bayeux Tapestry of course but I had no idea what a delightful town Bayeux is! I would love to explore it. The cathedral looks stunning – I love how the light is shining through the stained glass windows and hitting the stonework, turning it multicoloured!

Kelly Anne Rothaermel at

What a great town! Have a wonderful week! Thank you for sharing!

Eileen at

Hello, what a gorgeous place to visit. I love the cathedral and stained glass. The food looks delicious. Lovely post and photos.
Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

William Kendall at

What a beautiful, magnificent place. The war cemetery and museum would particularly draw me in.

betty - NZ at

What a fabulous place with so much to see! I love the artistry and the whimsy you captured.

My Corner of the World

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup at

Oh wow! I loved these photos – it looks like I need to revise my bucket list to include a visit here! Beautiful place.
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/09/sleep-what-they-do-best.html

Fun60 at

Absolutely fabulous. Stunning photos of the cathedral.

Judee at

Wow! What interesting and beautiful photos! Love the architecture ! Thanks so much for sharing

Allison at

Bayeux looks so wonderful. I love the architecture. I recently spent two days in France but was not able to go outside of Paris. It definitely wet my appetite and left me wanting to see more of France outside the capitol. #wanderfulwednesday

betty - NZ at

Thank you for joining us on ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!

My Corner of the World

Usha Sitaaraam at

What a lovely post. I love the Normandy region, the half timbered colourful houses. Bayeux looks so charming and your words and photos have brought it to life, The Cathedral looks so amazing. I have added it on to my list to visit. Thank you so much for this inspiration. #farawayfiles

Rhonda Albom at

Bayeux is adorable and is what I imagine a village in Normandy would look like. The half timbered houses and waterwheels make me want to visit and see for myself.

Kristina Johnson at

Gorgeous photos! I’d love to explore this part of France someday. When I think of Normandy, besides D-Day, I think of butter and oysters. Reason enough to go.

Lisa at

Wow such a beautiful place to explore and with so much history. Your photos are amazing. I’ll be saving this for our next trip to France.

Ann at

Hi Sharon!
This looks amazing, I love your photoes 🙂

Cheers from STcokholm Sweden! 🙂

Sue at

All I knew about Bayeux was the tapestry but it looks beautiful & so much more to see. Thanks for sharing!

Maya at

What a charming town to visit. The cathedral is absolutely stunning and so are your photographs – they really capture its beauty. You were so lucky with the adorable WW II era paintings – what a marvelous collection. I would need to consider a trip to France soon thanks to you 🙂

Jay at

Looks fabulous … we’re looking forward to exploring France next year when we’re doing 3 months volunteering through Workaway. Our first stop is an old mill like your main pic. Think we’re going to have to venture to this part of France. Thanks for the inspiration.

Courtney at

Beautiful! Will have to put this charming place on the list! Your pictures looks lovely and that cathedral is stunning!

Susan Pazera at

Fantastic post! We recently made a four-day trip to Paris (my first visit to France) and we’re looking forward to getting back there soon! Your post gives us a lot of inspiration 🙂

Phoebe | Lou Messugo at

There’s so much more to Bayeux than just its famous tapestry, I’m so glad you have shown the world just that!

Kelly at

Beautiful photos! I will pin for when we visit France again.

Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) at

We love visiting Normandy but we haven’t made it to Bayeux yet. My children are really keen to see the tapestry but I hadn’t realised how pretty the town is. I’m really glad I read your post as you’ve made me realise I need to get here sooner rather than later. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

Little Wandering Wren at

A wonderful wander with you in Bayeux. There is so much for all to see and do – love your photos. You have given us a great view into this historic town.

Stephanie (1Adventuretraveler) at

Bayeux this amazing historic town has so much history connected to the war. The wood buildings, beautiful artwork around town especially the tapestry is a place worth visiting. Located only 2.5 hrs from Paris is a place that is definitely on my bucket list to see. Thanks for sharing. #feetdotravel

Erin Gustafson | Oregon Girl Around the World at

Oh such good memories – haven’t been to Bayeux since 1994, but it was the 50th anniversary of D-Day that summer and the town was filled with memorials and allied flags. We also ran into a medieval market where women were making lace the old fashioned way and we sampled some delicious cider. What a pretty, pretty place. Thanks for the memory jog and sharing with #FarawayFiles. Cheers from Copenhagen.

Sharon at

The photos surely bring you closer to the history of World War 2 history. This is a place I would really love to tour.

Annette, Four Acorns / Quatre graines de chêne at

Your photos are amazing! How pretty is Bayeux, I can’t get over it! We drive past it every summer on our way from Cherbourg down to my homeplace in Haute-Loire, but we’ve never stopped to check it out. Definnitely on the must-see list now. Thank you.

Lori at

What an amazing place! Your photos are so spectacular. I can just picture myself walking through the old town and exploring. I love the history you added as well. Adding this to my bucket list.

Phoebe Thomas at

Lovely to see these gorgeous photos again linked to #AllabotuFrance, thanks for joining in.

Rosi at

wuunderful pictures
a great history
an amazing town


Linda Aksomitis at

Lots of beautiful photography!

Kate at

This is one of my favorite places in France. It’s so beautiful and there is so much history!

Patti at

I have only been to Paris France but I found out there is so much more to the country recently. My husband was just telling me how we should do a road trip through it one day. I will add this town to our list!

Maria Elsa Jose at

So quiet, serene and relaxing. Your article had made the place more beautiful from the way you describe it.

Farrah at

I’ve never been to this part of France, but it’d be cool to visit someday! These are such beautiful photos!

Nina Clapperton at

Your shots of the church are incredible! I loved learning about how the priest single handedly saved the town.

Catherine at

I’ve never heard of Bayeaux France but it looks gorgeous. I particularly love the cathedrals and the architecture of the town. What deep history there!

Philip at

We were in Bayeux for several days in May of 2019 and saw many of the wonderful window paintings by “Pascal” as well (and even spoke with him while he was painting). Thanks for all those wonderful photos. May I also recommend an exquisite little restaurant named “La Rapiere in the middle of town. https://www.larapiere.net/en/

Kelly at

Bayeux looks so beautiful! The canal and streets look like they’ve come straight out of paintings! I would also love to spend some time visiting all of the WWII spots and memorials as I feel that is very important 🙂 Thanks for putting this on my radar!


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