As some of you may know, I’ve been wanting to see the Bayeux Tapestry since our last trip. Last time we were in France, we arrived just on closing time and couldn’t go in. I’m not sure why we didn’t stop for the night…lets just say it wasn’t high on Tim’s list of ‘must see’s’! But we’re back in France, and specifically staying in Normandy so I can see it this time!
The tapestry did not disappoint. 70 metres long, it curves its way around a room. We all shuffled around with our headsets which provided pretty good commentary. I had not previously understood that the tapestry (which is actually embroidered rather than a real tapestry) is not just about the Battle of Hastings, but the time leading up to it, and why William of Normandy felt he was justified in invading England. The material is remarkably well preserved, given that it was probably made in about 1070 and spent some time covering up weapons in the French Revolution. It has also been shifted around all over France from its original place in the Bayeux Cathedral. It was mind boggling to think how long it took to create, and how much effort by candlelight. After a movie and museum, we felt suitably informed, and exited as per usual through the obligatory gift shop. Josh commented that he felt we spent more time in the gift shop than we did viewing the actual tapestry, but I’m sure he was exaggerating.
After a visit to the patisserie (also obligatory), the big 3 boys and I (Karen) went into the Bayeux Cathedral. The boys were able to explain why it was in part Gothic and in part Romanesque- I had no idea and neither did Tim. The cathedral was as grand and beautiful inside as out, but we do find the ‘relics’ such as bones of saints a little puzzling. Meanwhile, Tim and Matty were enjoying coffee and pomme frites in the cafe across the street! We joined them for a share ourselves.
A visit to our favourite supermarket in the world, Carrefour followed – it’s almost a tourist attraction in itself! It sells everything from gourmet French cheese and wines to clothes, shoes and toys, like a giant Coles and Kmart rolled into one. I find it really interesting looking around all the different varieties of food in the French supermarkets. We stocked up with far too many goodies that we definitely didn’t need, and returned back to our comfy barn.
Although the weather started off looking ominous and raining until lunchtime, the afternoon has been fine. Hopefully all the rain will fall this week and not next when we’re on our bikes!