Our first stop in Bayeux was the Tapestry Museum, followed by beautiful Bayeux Cathedral.
I’ve heard for ages about the amazing Bayeux Tapestry, and I have to say it’s as wonderful as it’s been described. I had some misconceptions though. Since it’s referred to as a tapestry, I expected to see a large piece of needlework hanging on a wall, like the ones we saw at Chateau D’Amboise. However, the Bayeux “Tapestry” is really a very long piece of crewel embroidery that tells the story of the Norman Conquest of England. According to Wikipedia, it’s actually 240 feet long and 20 inches high. No photos were allowed in the rather dark room where the tapestry is on view, but I found a couple of pictures at Deposit Photos. You can see more photos, including closeup views, at the website of the Tapestry Museum.
The women in our tour group were riveted by what we were seeing. Many of us had done needlework ourselves, but most modern embroidery follows a pattern that has been stamped on the material. This piece of work appeared to all be done freehand. I was in awe of what those amazing women achieved. The other amazing thing is that it has survived through nine centuries and isn’t faded like many newer tapestries are.
Below you can see the invaders in their boats crossing the English Channel.
And here is the Battle of Hastings, as depicted in embroidery.
After viewing the tapestry, we walked a short distance to lovely Bayeux Cathedral.
As we walked back to the bus, I was wishing we had more time to explore Bayeux, which seemed like a charming city.
But Ste. Mere Eglise and the Normandy Landing Beaches beckoned us onward. More next week.
It is now believed that monks did the embroidery of the Tapestry.
Thanks for the information, Susan. I know there are different theories, but no one knows for sure who created the tapestry. Whoever did it were amazing stitchers.
The fact the colors haven’t faded is surprising. I’m seeing France through your travels.
I think the tapestry was only displayed a few times a year, so it wasn’t exposed to a lot of light. That’s why the room it’s in now is so dark. Amazing to see something that old in such good shape, esp. something as ephemeral as cloth and yarn.
Glad you’re getting to see France through my blogs!
My wife, Lorna and I viewed the tapestry in 2014. I was interested because Ancestry website says I’m related to both King Harold (28th great grandfather) and William (26th great grandfather). So my ancestors both won and lost the battle.
Oh, how cool, Larry. I had no idea you had royal ancestry! Far as I can tell, my ancestors were all dirt farmers and grease monkeys, plus one fisherman.