Bayeux combines a fascinating medieval past with a proud military legacy. The town was the first to be liberated by Allied troops in 1944 and is a launchpad for visiting D-Day beaches. Explore the charming historic centre, admire the famous Bayeux Tapestry and visit the picturesque yet pensive D-Day landing sites.
Things to do in Bayeux
Unlike other towns in the region, Bayeux escaped the destruction of World War II. The historic centre is filled with beautiful buildings, some dating back to the 13th century. Notre Dame Cathedral is a local landmark and features an impressive Norman Gothic façade. Descend into the crypt to admire colourful frescoes painted in the 1600s.
At almost 70 metres long, the Bayeux Tapestry is a sight to behold. The UNESCO-listed tapestry tells the story of Norman king William the Conqueror, who claimed England in 1066. The attention to detail is incredible, with graphic depictions of battles, pageants and everyday life in 11th-century Europe.
Bayeux is a good base for visiting all five D-Day landing sites, including Omaha Beach. Strolling along the beach, you’ll see the remains of German bunkers and a gleaming steel sculpture dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives during the invasion. Further inland, the tranquil Bayeux War Cemetery is dotted with the graves of almost 5,000 soldiers.
From casual bistros to fine-dining restaurants, Bayeux is brimming with places to enjoy French fare. Try Norman classics like rabbit braised in apple cider, mussels cooked in cream sauce and creamy Boursin cheese. Wash down your meal with a glass of Calvados, a local fruit brandy.
Getting around Bayeux
Bayeux is compact and easy to get around on foot, while rental cars offer the freedom to visit surrounding sights and attractions at your own pace. The town is a 30-minute drive from Caen and three hours from Paris. Trains run between Bayeux and Paris in three hours.