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Bayeux, France: The Perfect Base for Visiting Normandy

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Bayeux

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Bayeux

If you are planning a visit to the D-Day beaches along the coast of Normandy you will have a few options available to you for how to go about it. Many visitors simply make a day trip from Paris on the train. This involves taking an early departure from Paris to either Caen or Bayeux, having your tour guide meet you at the train station, and reversing the entire process at the end of the day. While this is certainly doable, it makes for a very long and tiring day. The train from Paris to Bayeux is over two hours. While there are a few direct trains to Bayeux most of the early departures require a transfer in Caen. Check the train schedule as it changes depending on the time of year.

We decided that we wanted to spend some time in Normandy so we chose a different itinerary that allowed us to spend a few nights in the charming town of Bayeux. Located just a few miles from the coast of Normandy it makes the ideal base location and is actually a very interesting place in its own right. We took an early train from Paris to Caen, picked up a rental car and drove to Bayeux where we spent two nights at Le Manoir Sainte Victoire, a wonderful B&B located in the heart of Bayeux.

This afforded us plenty of time to tour Bayeux, followed by an entire day touring the D-Day landing sites, followed by a daytrip to see the magnificent Mont Saint-Michel. Looking back I think our decision was the right one for us. Bayeux is a wonderful community and has a couple of must see sites that were fascinating. And our trip to see Mont Saint-Michel was certainly one of the highlights of our visit to France.

The center of Bayuex with the cathedral to the right

The center of Bayuex with the cathedral to the right

Bayeux

The community of Bayeux sits just four miles from the coast of Normandy and is on the Paris-Caen-Cherbourg rail line, which makes getting there fairly painless. While we hopped off the train in Caen to pick-up a rental car you can take the train all the way to Bayeux from Paris.

The current population of Bayeux is approximately 13,500 and the town center is fairly compact and very walkable. Bayeux can trace its roots back to the 1st century BC and this means that there is an abundance of history here. From the Viking raids of the 9th century, to the Hundred Years’ War, to its role in World War II, Bayeux has managed survive it all.

Bayeux

Bayeux

Today, Bayeux is a picturesque community that draws historians, tourists and World War II Veterans from all over the world to see the D-Day beaches, the Bayeux Cathedral, and the world famous Bayeux Tapestry. There is also the Bayeux War Cemetery and it is the largest British cemetery in France from World War II containing the graves of almost 4,000 British soldiers.

Bayeux - Straight out of the Middle Ages

Bayeux - Straight out of the Middle Ages

Bayeux Cathedral

In Bayeux itself the center piece of the community is without-a-doubt the magnificent Cathedral Notre-Dame de Bayeux. Bishop Odo of Conteville consecrated this Norman-Romanesque-Gothic shrine in July of 1077 with his half-brother and King of England, William the Conqueror present. The cathedral has survived for over 900 years including countless wars and conflicts and was at one time the home of the world famous Bayeux Tapestry. With its towering central spire that peaks at 95 meters the cathedral is visible from anywhere in town and is an imposing structure. Be sure to check out the gargoyles staring down at you on the exterior.

Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeux Cathedral

The Bell of Peace and Liberty.  This new bell was created to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied Landing in Normandy.

The Bell of Peace and Liberty. This new bell was created to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied Landing in Normandy.

Inside the cathedral there are a few memorials to World War II including the new liberty bell, which was on display during our visit. The touching personal notes left by the families of those who helped to liberate Bayuex is a constant reminder of the sacrifices made here. Bayeux is located in what was the Gold Beach Sector during the allied invasion and was assigned to the British forces.

Interestingly, Bayeux is also touted as the first town to be liberated in France, as is Sainte-Mere-Eglise, and was done so without much of a fight from the Germans who retreated to defend Caen further to the east. The Siege of Caen was a different story and lasted for two months, much longer than planned and was the site of an incredible number of casualties on both sides. Unfortunately most of Caen was leveled by allied bombing including its cathedral.

Tributes to those who helped to liberate Bayeux

Tributes to those who helped to liberate Bayeux

As you venture around the inside of the church be sure to head under the main altar where the crypt is located. There are some well-preserved frescoes here from the 15th century in addition to a number of tombs. It’s also somewhat creepy down here, dark with low ceilings, but certainly interesting and not to be missed. Legend has it that during the D-Day invasion the people of Bayeux gathered in the crypt for safety fearing the allies would bomb the town. The church also has some beautiful 14th century stained glass windows, which have managed to survive for centuries.

Crypt of the Bayeux Cathedral

Crypt of the Bayeux Cathedral

Cathedral visitor information:

Hours:

  • Jan 1 – Mar 3: 8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Apr 1 – Jun 30: 8:30am - 6:00pm
  • July 1 – Sept 30: 8:30am - 7:00pm
  • Oct 1 – Dec 31: 8:30am - 6:00pm

Fees:

  • Entry is free
  • Guided tours available at 3:00pm.
  • Adults 4 euro
  • Under age 15 Free
Tapestry Museum

Tapestry Museum

Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry is one of the longest and certainly one of the most famous tapestries in the world. It is on display in the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux after spending many years on display in the Bayeux Cathedral. Measuring an incredible 230 feet long it tells the story of the events that led to the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The tapestry is made up of fifty eight scenes and depicts Harold’s (King of England) betrayal of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings where Harold is killed.

The tapestry was commissioned in the 1070’s by William’s half-brother, Bishop Odo, and made in England presumably by Queen Matilda, the wife of William, and her court. It was completed sometime around 1077 just in time for the dedication of the Bayeux Cathedral where it was displayed.

Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry

Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry

Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry showing the Battle of Hastings.

Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry showing the Battle of Hastings.

Having survived for over 900 years the Bayeux Tapestry was nearly lost on numerous occasions. The fact that it has survived intact for so long is truly a miracle. Taken to Paris by the Germans during World War II and destined to be shipped off to Berlin the tapestry somehow wound up at the Louvre when the French regained control of Paris. The tapestry was put on display for a time in the Louvre before being returned to its rightful home in Bayeux.

Your tour of the Tapestry Museum will include an audio guide that describes in detail each of the panels that make up the tapestry. It’s an incredible story that takes visitors from the broken promise of Harold, who assumes the throne of England following the death of King Edward, to William the Conqueror invading England and defeating Harold at the Battle of Hastings. It’s fascinating history and the tapestry has recorded it all for humanity.

Tapestry Museum visitor information:

Hours:

  • March 1 – Oct 31: 9am to 6:30pm (7pm May to Aug)
  • Nov 1 – Feb 28: 9:30am to 12:30pm and 2pm to 6pm

Fees:

  • Full rate: 9 euro (includes audio guide)
  • Students: 4 euro
  • Under age 10: free
The Airborne Museum in Sainte-Mere-Eglise

The Airborne Museum in Sainte-Mere-Eglise

Visiting D-Day Sites

Whether you are utilizing a tour guide or exploring on your own, Bayeux is situated perfectly for visiting the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy. The five beaches are spread out over a fifty mile stretch of the coast and Bayeux sits perfectly just about in the middle of the five landing zones. In addition to visiting the beaches there are a number of interesting museums, cemeteries and villages in Normandy that all have a story to tell.

The church in Angoville-au-Plain

The church in Angoville-au-Plain

Utah Beach

Utah Beach

Our guide started our day in Normandy with a visit to the small, unassuming church in the center of Angoville-au-Plain. It was here that US medics Robert Wright and Kenneth Moore performed one of the truly miraculous stories of D-Day. For three days they turned the small church here into a first aid station and saved countless lives against incredible odds.

Our next stop was a visit to Utah Beach and a walk to visit the many German bunkers that still peer out into the English Channel. It's fascinating to be able to climb on and into these bunkers and one can only wonder what the German troops were thinking as the sun rose on June 6th, 1944 to the site of thousands of Allied ships.

It was a short drive from Utah Beach to our next stop in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, which was one of the first, if not the first town liberated on D-Day. This community was made famous in the movie “The Longest Day” for its reenactment of paratrooper John Steele getting caught in the church spire. Sainte-Mere-Eglise is also the home of the Airborne Museum, which is a fitting tribute to the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division who dropped here in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944.

German Bunker at Utah Beach

German Bunker at Utah Beach

The church in Saint-Mere-Eglise where US paratrooper John Steele was caught in the church steeple.  If you look closely you can see a parachute and dummy marking the spot.

The church in Saint-Mere-Eglise where US paratrooper John Steele was caught in the church steeple. If you look closely you can see a parachute and dummy marking the spot.

After a quick lunch break in Sainte-Mere-Eglise we headed to Omaha Beach with a stop enroute at the German Cemetery in LaCambe. It was interesting to see how the different cemeteries are viewed here. The grey tombstones in the German Cemetery are a stark contrast to the white marble and meticulously maintained American Cemetery above Omaha Beach.

We concluded our day at Omaha Beach and the American Military Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. It was a long day but extremely rewarding and educational. It certainly gives one reason to pause and gives thanks for all that we have today. Thankfully there were young men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for what was right and just.

From Colleville-sur-Mer it was a short ride back to Bayeux. In fifteen minutes we were back at Manoire Saint Victoire deciding where to eat dinner, which was preferable to spending the next two plus hours on the train heading back to Paris. If you have the time in your itinerary to spend a few days here in Normandy consider it a viable option.

The American Cemetery above Omaha Beach

The American Cemetery above Omaha Beach

The American Cemetery above Omaha Beach

The American Cemetery above Omaha Beach

Because of the distances involved in getting around Normandy you will find that it is impossible to see everything in just one day. We spent over nine hours with our guide and were able to see Sainte-Mere-Eglise including the Airborne Museum, the church of Angoville-au-Plain with its fascinating story, Utah Beach, Omaha Beach and both the American and German Cemeteries. We knew we would not have time to visit the British and Canadian Beaches so we didn't try. Visitors can plan their day around their particular areas of interest but don’t rush around trying to see everything in a single day because it just won’t happen. We dedicated one entire day to seeing World War II sites and arranged ahead of time with our guide what we wanted to see.

A much different scene today at Utah Beach

A much different scene today at Utah Beach

Interesting D-Day Facts:

  • The code name of D-Day was "Operation Overlord".
  • The naval phase of D-Day was code named "Operation Neptune".
  • D-Day was the largest naval amphibious invasion ever conducted and involved almost 7,000 ships including 4,126 landing craft.
  • 24,000 paratroopers were dropped behind the German lines beginning late on June 5th and continuing into the early morning of June 6th.
  • At 3 am on June 6th, 1,900 allied bombers began dropping 7 million pounds of bombs on the German defenses.
  • At 5 am a naval bombardment of the German defenses started and lasted until 6:25 am.
  • At 6:31 am the first US troops went ashore followed by the British and Canadian troops an hour later.
  • US troops landed at Utah and Omaha Beach, the British at Gold and Sword Beach and the Canadians at Juno Beach.
  • There are 9,387 graves in the American Military Cemetery above Omaha Beach. Every one of them faces west toward America.
  • There are 21,500 German graves in the German Cemetery at LaCambe.
The American Cemetery above Omaha Beach

The American Cemetery above Omaha Beach

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have

striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you...

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

— Dwight D. Eisenhower speech to troops on the eve of D-Day

Mont Saint-Michel

Any time spent in Normandy is sure to be a moving and educational experience. There is a lot to see and limiting your visit to just a few of the landing sites means you are missing out on an enormous opportunity. Looking back I think that choosing Bayeux as a base was an excellent decision and while it is inevitable that you will look back on your visit here as too short, it allowed us ample time to see Bayeux, Mont Saint-Michel and a full day visiting D-Day sites.

Not to ignore Mont Saint-Michel, this one of a kind site is located just an hour and fifteen minutes from Bayeux. While still technically in Normandy it is situated near the border of Brittany in southern Normandy. This Romanesque-Gothic shrine rises majestically above the bay and draws visitors and pilgrims from all over the world. With one of the highest and fastest tides in all of Europe the rocky island quickly transforms from sitting in the midst of muddy flats to being engulfed by the bay. All I can say about Mont Saint-Michel is that it is unlike anything I have seen in my travels and was absolutely worth the effort to visit.

Mont Sainte-Michel

Mont Sainte-Michel

I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of Bayeux and Normandy. If your travels are taking you to this region of France consider spending a few nights in the area to really experience everything that Normandy has to offer. While the D-Day landing sites are certainly a must see there are plenty of other fascinating communities, museums, churches, cemeteries and one of a kind destinations waiting for you. A special thank you to our guide for the day, Guillaume Marie of Normandy D-Day Tours, whose knowledge and passion for World War II history made for an unforgettable day.

Au Revoir!

Guillaume Marie - Normandy D-Day Tours

Our wonderful guide for the day, Guillaume Marie.

Our wonderful guide for the day, Guillaume Marie.

Questions & Answers

Question: My husband and I are planning to travel from Paris to Bayeux, and spend a day touring the beaches. We do not want to rent a car, so based on your article, the best option for us would be to hire a guide. Could you direct me to the website where I could view the details and prices of hiring a guide?

Answer: We used a tour outfit called Normandy D-Day Tours. The guides name is Guillaume Marie, and he was excellent. His website is below. If he is not available, he will recommend another guide. You can read his TripAdvisor reviews below, and you will see that he is excellent at what he does. Expect the prices to be fairly high, several hundred dollars for a full day tour. We were a group of six, so the price per person was reasonable. In my opinion, it was worth every penny. The stories, history, historical facts, plus they will drive you everywhere, all day, and pick you up and drop you off right at your hotel or B&B. We looked at this as a once in a lifetime opportunity and went with the best, most highly rated guide we could find.

http://m.normandyddaytours.net/Accueil-Homepage.ht...

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187...

© 2015 Bill De Giulio

Comments

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on June 09, 2019:

Wow, that’s a lot for one day. You are looking at about 6 and a half to 7 hours of just travel time. I suppose it can be done, but expect it to be a long day. To do this I would rent a car for the day. This would give you some flexibility and eliminate any waiting for Public Transportation. I think I would take the train from Paris to Bayeux, pick up a rental there, and then leave for MSM. Spend a few hours at MSM and then head to Omaha Beach. Bayeux is very close to Omaha Beach so you can stay at the beach/cemetery as long as you want.

Good luck. Both sites are incredible and I admire your desire to see want to see both.

Six Eight on June 09, 2019:

Hey Bill. I have a very tight itinerary and i am wondering if i can do a day trip to both MSM and Omaha Beach. I'm planning on leaving paris early for Bayeux and leaving from bayeux to msm, then msm to omaha, then staying the night in bayeux. do you think i could manage it? and if so, what would be the best and cheapest way to travel?

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 11, 2018:

Your very welcome.

Argie Love on September 11, 2018:

Hi Bill,

Thank you for the detailed information. We appreciate it a lot.

Argie

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 10, 2018:

Hi Argie,

So, for seeing the DD beaches I would recommend using a Guide. They pick you up, drive you all over Normandy, and then return you to your hotel or B&B. In addition, and this is the key, they tell you the stories and information that you will not get doing this on your own. Our Guide, Guillamare, was excellent. We learned more in that one day about D-Day than we we could ever have learned on our own.

As far as a rental car, we picked it up in Caen and then drove to Bayeux. The only time we used the car was to drive to MSM. We rented a car because after visiting MSM we headed to the Loire Valley. When you rent a car in Europe they do not give you the GPS, you have to pay for it or bring your own. As far as the insurance I would contact your insurance company here to see if you would be covered while driving in France. We have never paid for the insurance but certainly it can provide peace of mind.

There is no entry fee to any of the D-Day beaches or the American Cemetery above Omaha beach. The only fees would be if you wanted to go into any of the museums, of which there are many scattered throughout Normandy.

Our English speaking guide was Guillaume Marie, if you Google his name and D-Day Tours you will find his website. He was excellent and worth every penny.

If you do decide to rent a car we used Avis, but only because we can rent a car using our work rental agreement with them. Otherwise EuropeCar is big in France but also all of the usual American rental companies are there also. Just look for the best rate. Certainly you can do this without a rental. Take the train to Bayeux, use a guide to see the beaches, then take a tour bus or the train to see MSM. Get together with your group and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the options. Certainly driving in a foreign country can be intimidating but it's basically just like driving here except the signs are in French.

Argie Love on September 10, 2018:

Hi again,

Another question, if we decide to rent a car, where should we pick it up from Bayeax or something closer with more car options? Also if we rent a car, do you recommend to might as well drive to all the Beaches and the DD museums, etc. Maybe map or GPS is included or provided in rental car? For rental car, do you recommend car insurance. Would it save us money for 4 people. If we're driving to DD beaches, etc., is there entrance fee for the beaches and maybe English interpretation? We just read your insights about beaches location and how spread out it is. Would you able to direct us to rental website and the English tour guide for DD.

Thank you so much.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 08, 2018:

Hi Argie. The train from Bayeux to MSM involves a transfer in Ponterson, which is very close to MSM. The train costs about 24 euro. From the station at MSM you have to take a shuttle bus or walk across the causeway. Keep in mind that the causeway is long and the walk will take about 30 minutes so the free shuttle bus is recommended. The easiest way to get to MSM from Bayeux would be to rent a car. The drive is easy and there is a large parking lot at the visitor center with shuttle service to MSM. You can also do a tour from Bayeux that would most likely be a bus trip but these can be pricey. If you are not comfortable driving then certainly the train is an option. It takes about an hour and 45 minutes followed by the short Shuttle bus ride across the causeway. There is only one train station in Bayeux (Gare de Bayeux)

As far as the number of days to spend 3 should be fine. That is what we did and it worked out well. You will enjoy the day seeing the Normandy D-Day beaches and sites and Bayeux is a charming town that is very walkable.

Argie Love on September 07, 2018:

Greetings,

We're planning to spend 3 days in Normandy after taking a train from Paris to Bayeux. What do you recommend, would 3days enough to spend time in Normandy. As mention, leaving early morning from Paris via train to Bayeux and explore Bayeux, next day all day to tour DD day with beaches, etc (8-9hours tour recommended by you and tripadvisor) and 3rd day to explore Mont St Michel. What's the best way way to explre Mont St Michel from Bayeux taking train. Did we see that you recommend taking train and then bus? Could you please tell us which train stop and which bus? Also does the bus take you to Mont St Michel or we have to take another bus or shuttle. My husband and I are traveling with 2 kids (9yrs and 13yrs old) next summer 2019.

Thank you.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 12, 2018:

Hi Kelsie. We had a rental car and used it to get to MSM. The drive was easy and there was no traffic to speak of. There is a large parking lot that is easy to find and from there you hop on a shuttle bus that takes visitors to MSM. The drive from Bayeux to MSM took about an hour and fifteen minutes.

For the beaches we hired a guide, which I recommend. He did all of the driving and catered the day around what we wanted to see. The stories, facts, and details that we would not have been aware of made it a fascinating day. You can certainly drive yourself but be aware that the beaches are spread a good distance along the coast.

So, renting a car is definitely feasible. We found driving in Normandy to be easy and stress free. To visit the beaches I would either rent a car or utilize a guide. I’m not sure how the shuttle system works getting from beach to beach but there are things to see in between, such as some of the small villages that have a story to them.

Kelsie on August 12, 2018:

Hi Bill,

Super helpful site! My husband and I are planning a trip in September. We'll take the train from Paris to Bayeux and spend 2 days in Normandy. We want to do 1 day at the D-Day beaches and 1 day to see MSM. We're trying to decide if it's better to rent a car to drive around the beaches and to MSM or if we should take shuttles around the beaches and take the train to MSM. Time and schedule wise, it makes more sense for us to rent a car (at least to go to MSM for the day) but without having been there it's hard to know how easy it is to drive in the area or how bad the traffic is. Would love your recommendations - is renting a car a feasible option?

Thank you!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 08, 2018:

Hi Beth,

Sounds pretty good to me. The only thing I would add would be trying to see Mont Saint Michel. Giverny is wonderful, the Normandy Beaches are amazing, and Bayeux is the perfect place to spend a few nights. If you can squeeze it in get to MSM, an unforgettable place.

Have a great trip.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 01, 2018:

Hi Berri. From Cabourg it's about an hour to Omaha beach, an hour and 45 minutes to MSM, 35 minutes to Sword Beach, an hour and 20 minutes to Utah beach, and 50 minutes to Bayeux. With just 3 nights and a desire to maybe have a beach day that would really leave only 1 day to explore Normandy. Certainly can be done? I mapped out a day trip from Cabourg to Omaha Beach, then on to MSM, and returning to Cabourg and it's going to take about 4 and a half hours of driving, Of course you would be making stops to spend time at the sites. Would be a long day. Or if that seems like too much cut out MSM and just spend a day seeing a few of the landing beaches or a museum. I will say this, if you are going to visit the landing beaches be sure to include Omaha, a must see, the American Cemetery above the beach is beautiful and certainly a painful reminder of the sacrifice that was made there. You have a lot of options, depends on how much time you want to spend in the car?

Berri on March 01, 2018:

I am planning to stay in Cabourg along the coast, is that far from the other sites, my kids love the beach and I am thinking after a week in Paris they may want relaxing time but I do want to see the landing beaches and possibly Mount Saint-Michel. We will have a car but only three nights

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on January 07, 2018:

Hi Arcy. Thanks for stopping by. Without a car I think your best bet is to hire a guide. The beaches are located a fair distance apart and to get to more than one of them without a car would be difficult. Perhaps there are buses but I strongly recommend a guide. They know the area and the history and can really add to the experience. They will pick you up, take you to what you want to see, and drop you off at your hotel or B&B at the end of the day. Definitely worth the money. Good luck, the Normandy Beaches area a special place that everyone should try to see.

Arcy Hawks on January 07, 2018:

Hello, I am planning on taking my daughter to France and she is an avid WW2 buff. I am not keen on driving and wondered if there is a way to get to the beaches from Bayeux on one's own and is the best way to hire a guide? We are planning 2 days.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on December 30, 2016:

Hi Diane. Oh my! DeGiulio is such a unique name I would imagine that it's very possible that we are related somehow? My family is from the Rhode Island area and my paternal grandparents immigrated from Italy, a small town called Teano. Do you know any of your family history? Feel free to send me an e-mail, bdegiulio@gmail.com.

You will love Bayeux and Normandy, so much history. Bayeux is very quaint and very walkable. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there and it's an easy ride to the Normandy sites.

Diane DeGiulio Goffin on December 30, 2016:

Thank you for the information Bill! We are planning a trip in May, 2017 and decided to stay in Bayeux rather than Caen based on the information you provided. Also, my maiden name was DeGiulio! Unusual because it is De instead of Di, we may be some way related? I am from Chicago.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on November 10, 2016:

Hi there bu. Thank you, glad it helped. Hope you enjoyed your time in Normandy.

bu on November 10, 2016:

Great work!! Really helped. :)

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 11, 2016:

Hi Alun. Thank you. When planning our trip to Normandy we initially considered doing a day trip from Paris. Once I started researching the area Bayeux jumped out at me as a place to definitely spend a few days. I highly recommend a visit. It really is very close to the Normandy Beaches and has plenty to see in it's own right. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Thanks for stopping by, I trust things are going well in retirement?

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on September 11, 2016:

Very interesting Bill. All in the UK would be aware of the Bayeux Tapestry as a record of arguably the single event which had the most significant impact on our history, and that alone would be a good reason for visiting the town. But I did not realise Bayeux was so close to the Normandy Beaches. The poignancy of these sites, plus the Cathedral and other attractions in a medieval city all make it a place which seems very well worth while visiting for a few days.

I see from some of the other comments that you got Hub Of The Day for this Bill. Sad that award has now been retired - it was a nice way to bring other HubPage members'' attention to a quality article such as this one. Alun

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 06, 2016:

Thank you Stella. It is a beautiful part of France and so much history. Seeing the D-day sites was pretty incredible. If you ever get the opportunity to visit jump at the chance. Thanks for stopping by.

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on April 05, 2016:

Great hub with beautiful photos. I would love to visit here. I have read so much on these different places I know it is a good experience to see it all up close.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 03, 2015:

Thank you Suzie. I really appreciate your nice comments and it's so nice to see you here. I miss your wonderful literary masterpieces. Do you think you will start to write again here? I hope all is well with you. Any adventures coming up? Move to Italy?

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on September 03, 2015:

Just stopping by again to wish you a massive CONGRATS on your award for this amazing hub my friend!! So delighted you won the most awesome hub for this wonderful piece in your usual top notch style. SO proud of you Bill XX

Arun Dev from United Countries of the World on September 02, 2015:

I've heard about Normandy landings only through PC games. This was very interesting to read. Congrats on Most Awesome Hub award, Bill!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 02, 2015:

Thank you Phyllis. I really appreciate your nice comments. Our visit to Normandy and Bayeux was a wonderful journey. What happened there over seventy years ago should never be forgotten. Thanks again, have a wonderful day.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 02, 2015:

Thank you Linda. Congratulations to you also on your Iris Hub winning a Hubbie. Your work is always top notch and so educational. Have a great day.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 02, 2015:

Thank you Faith. This was certainly unexpected. I'm honored and humbled. There are so many talented writers here. And a big congrats to you also for winning a Hubbie Award. Thanks so much for the comment, have a wonderful day.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on September 01, 2015:

A hearty congratulations, Bill, for the Hubbie award on this amazing hub. I am so happy for you!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 01, 2015:

Congratulations on the Hub of the Day and the Hubbie award, Bill! You certainly deserve both of these awards.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 01, 2015:

Congratulations, Bill, on this Hub winning a 2015 Hubbie Award! Well-deserved!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 16, 2015:

Thank you Emese. We were so glad that we decided to spend a few nights in Bayeux. It's a fascinating little community and so close to the Normandy Beaches.

Emese Fromm from The Desert on August 16, 2015:

Wonderful hub! Makes me want to go visit Bayeaux. Loved your pictures.

jake on August 04, 2015:

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good

jake on August 04, 2015:

http://simonfo.blogspot.com/

good

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 03, 2015:

Thank you Audrey. Have a great day.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 03, 2015:

Thank you Linda. Glad you enjoyed the tour. Have a great week.

Audrey Howitt from California on August 02, 2015:

What a great hub! Congrats!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 02, 2015:

Thank you for the virtual visit...Congrats with your HOTD!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Thank you Au fait. Bayeux was the perfect spot to stay for visiting Normandy. We really enjoyed our time there. Thanks for stopping by, have a great week.

C E Clark from North Texas on August 02, 2015:

Great photos! Congratulations on HOTD!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Thank you Sally. I had a lot of fun putting this one together. It brought back some great memories. Have a great Sunday.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Hi Thelma. Thank you. I'm glad to hear that you learned a lot from the hub, that is always my goal, to inform and educate on different places that I've been fortunate to visit. Thanks again, have a great day.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Thank you Bill. A wonderful Sunday to you also.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on August 02, 2015:

Congratulations on the HOTD - very well deserved.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on August 02, 2015:

Congratulations on the HOTD Bill! Well done. This is a very historical, useful and a very informative hub. I learned a lot from reading this. How I wish I can visit that place one day. Thanks for sharing.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 02, 2015:

Congrats on the HOTD, Bill. It's good to see good writing rewarded.

Happy Sunday my friend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Thank you Flourish. I can't explain it? Spent over three years here without a single HOTD and now in the span of a couple of months four have come my way. Thank you , enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Hi mactavers. Thank you. I did not think that the Tapestry was something that I would enjoy but I must admit I found it fascinating. Hearing the story panel by panel was a wonderful history lesson and when you see how long the tapestry goes on for you realize what an amazing piece of history it is. As for the American Military Cemetery words can really describe how overwhelming it is. Thank you again and have a great weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Thank you Heidi. We really enjoyed our time in Bayeaux and Normandy. It's a fascinating corner of France. Have a great weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Hi Kathleen. I did not go into the church in Sainte-Mere-Eglise but we did spend some time in the church in Angoville-au-Plain and they had stained glass windows of paratroopers there also. What a sight that must have been to witness American senior citizens singing the national anthem at the American Military Cemetery. It certainly is a moving and emotional place. The white crosses markings the graves seem to go on forever and really hits home just how many young men made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Every American should visit Normandy to truly understand that we should never take our freedoms for granted.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 02, 2015:

You're on fire with these HOTDs! Congratulations on a terrific hub! Well deserved!

mactavers on August 02, 2015:

We were there last month and loved it. I would have loved to have spent more time at the tapestry. The American cemetery was overwhelming and we laid a wreath there.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on August 02, 2015:

Another stunningly beautiful hub and another well deserved Hub of the Day! Congrats and have a wonderful weekend!

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on August 02, 2015:

Don't know if you got to go inside the church at Sainte-Mere-Eglise , but the stain glass windows are not of angels - they are U.S. paratroopers.

This is a great guide to an amazing glimpse of history. The day we were at the American Military Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, a group of American senior citizens stood at the base of one of the monuments and sang the U.S. national anthem. I'll never forget it.

Great job. Well deserving of HOD!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Thank you Kristen.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Thanks Alastar. It's close to the landing beaches and has a lot to see making it a perfect place to stay while visiting Normandy.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 02, 2015:

Thanks Mike. They certainly do. It's amazing some of these buildings survived WWII.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on August 02, 2015:

Bill, since I commented on this post before, congrats on HOTD! Well done!

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on August 02, 2015:

It is at that.

mikeydcarroll67 on August 02, 2015:

Some of those places seem to have the ability to survive no matter what. Definitely adds to the character of the city!

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on August 01, 2015:

And therein lies your legacy, Randy, for future generations.

I am thrilled Bill wrote this article. It made me realized my own patriotism and kindled that spark in you that is akin to the 4th of July.

I am off to read Le Manoir Sainte Victoire Review, Bayeux, France. Thanks again, Bill.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 01, 2015:

I am indeed very proud of my family veterans, Phyllis. I have ancestors who've fought in every major war including the Revolution. Patriotism is in my veins.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on August 01, 2015:

Randy, Bill is right - Wow! A family of heroes. You can return there for your Dad and pass on the sights and stories to younger ones. We are grateful for men like your Dad and Uncles.

Bill, I believe there truly is something powerful there for all of us because of the men and women who put themselves out there - it is a bond that draws us to walk spiritually with them. Here I go crying again....

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 01, 2015:

Randy, you come from a family full of Heroes. Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, wow. Cherish his stories and pass them along to future generations. You will not regret visiting Normandy.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 01, 2015:

Yes Bill, he had lots of tales about his wartime experience. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge among other important conflicts of the war. He had two brothers who also fought in the war, one in the South Pacific and the other in the Aleutians. I do so hope to visit Normandy before I die. Thanks again for the great research on this hub. :)

And no, Dad never got to return there even though he often talked about going back.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 01, 2015:

Hi Randy. Wow. What stories your dad must have had. Did he ever get the chance to return to Normandy after the war? Certainly it will appear much different today than it did on the morning of June 6, 1944. My thanks to your dad for helping to end the Nazi reign. And thank you for stopping by to comment. Hopefully you get the chance to visit Omaha Beach someday to see where your dad came ashore.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 01, 2015:

Hi Phyllis. Thank you. I am humbled by your comments. For many years I also felt drawn to this corner of France and knew I had to visit. I am a history buff and feel very strongly that I owe a great debt to the young men who stormed those beaches and dropped from planes in the middle of the night. I am certain that life for us today would be much different had D-Day not been a success. I thank you for your comments and hope someday that you get the opportunity to visit this corner of the world.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 01, 2015:

I've always wanted to visit France and especially Omaha Beach where my dad came ashore on D-Day. Unfortunately he didn't have the time to see the sights much because he was in Patton's 3rd Army and was busy chasing the Germans back to their country.

I'll definitely consult this hub if ever get the chance to visit Normandy. Great work, Bill. :)

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on August 01, 2015:

Hi Bill. I am absolutely awestruck with the information and photos you have in this hub. I feel as though I am ready to pack up and move to Bayeux - If only such a wish could happen. I feel very drawn to the area and could not help but feel tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. You have done an awesome job on this hub. You are a fantastic tour guide through your travel hubs and I so enjoy reading them.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 01, 2015:

Merci Mary. This really was a great trip and Normandy was incredible. The history is amazing and something we all should be thankful for. Thank God for the generation of young men and women who had the right stuff to storm those beaches.

Thank you for the vote, share, etc. Have a great weekend.

Mary Craig from New York on August 01, 2015:

Merci Beaucoup! Another great travelogue. Your history and pictures add so much to theis beautiful place. How I wish I could visit, but this is the next best thing. Thank you.

Voted all but funny, and shared.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 06, 2015:

My pleasure, Bill. I'm glad you had a nice trip. You too!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on June 06, 2015:

Thank you Kristen. We really enjoyed our time in Normandy and Bayeux. It's quite humbling to see the cemeteries and beaches where so many young men made the ultimate sacrafice. Have a great weekend.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 06, 2015:

Bill, this was an excellent hub from you with some historical D-Day highlights from the World War I. I love your pics and your travelogue descriptions on what you saw. Voted up!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 22, 2015:

Hi Sheila. Thank you. It's certainly an amazing place with loads of history. We really enjoyed our time in Bayeux and Normandy and hope to return someday. Glad you enjoyed the tour, enjoy the long holiday weekend.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 21, 2015:

What an amazing place to visit! I love you pictures of all the beautiful buildings. What a long and interesting history here! Great job, thank you for sharing your trip with us!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 21, 2015:

Thank you Molly. That photo is one of my favorites also. This corner of France is full of history and amazing sites. If you've never been add it to your list. Paris isn't too bad either :) . Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Molly Layton from Alberta on May 20, 2015:

These pictures are so beautiful. My favourite is the black and white image of the American Cemetery above Omaha Beach. Your writing is beautiful too.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 13, 2015:

Suzie my friend. Thank you. I knew you would be familiar with the history of the tapestry. It's not something that is readily known here but I found it fascinating. We really enjoyed Bayeux and Normandy, just a very interesting area. So nice to see you here. Many thanks for the comments, vote, etc.. Have a wonderful day.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on May 13, 2015:

What a fascinating journey you brought us on Bill. While I know of the famous tapestry and the Battle of Hastings is etched on my memory from history class, I did not know many of the facts surrounding Bayeux. The architecture is breathtaking there, very medieval like. Thanks so much for another superbly written piece with stunning photos. Up, interesting, and all the rest my friend!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 12, 2015:

Thank you Audrey. Not only is there a lot of history to this corner of France but it's just a beautiful area. We really enjoyed our time in Bayeux and touring Normandy. Keep it on your list, you won't regret it. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

Audrey Howitt from California on May 12, 2015:

Beautiful hub! This is on my list of places to visit!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 11, 2015:

Hi Peggy. Thank you. First of all my hats off to your dad for being a member of the "greatest generation". If not for brave young men and women like your dad who knows what life would be like today. It would be hard to visit these beaches and the American Cemetery without feeling something. This fifty mile stretch of the French Coast is the reason why we enjoy the freedom we have today. Thank you for share, pin, etc.. Have a great day.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 11, 2015:

Hi Flourish. Thank you. We considered doing a day trip but there was just too much to see in Normandy. Looking back it worked out great and we have such great memories of Bayeux and MSM. It also,helped that we found a great place to stay in Bayeux which just added to th experience. Thanks so much for the pin, share, etc.. Have a great day.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 11, 2015:

Your photos as always Bill are fantastic. My dad was a paratrooper during WWII and was in France. If he was still alive, he would have enjoyed seeing this. We have some friends who have visited those beaches in Normandy. It is emotional even viewing the photos. It must be even more so seeing those sites in person. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Up votes and happy to share, tweet and pin.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 11, 2015:

Fantastic hub, Bill. There are so many choices when visiting France that often a tourist doesn't know what to do, but you provide great advice and a terrific rationale with beautiful photos for seeing Normandy this way. My husband and father took the exhausting trip from Paris and back in a day but not by train -- by bus!!! I'm sharing, pinning, and G+ing this excellent hub.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 11, 2015:

Hi Linda. Thank you. We really enjoyed our time in Normandy. There is so much to see and so much history there. Glad you enjoyed the tour, have a wonderful day.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2015:

This is another very interesting hub, Bill. The photos and descriptions are a great combination. As always, I'd love to visit the sites that you describe in person. I enjoyed the virtual tour very much.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 10, 2015:

Hi Akriti. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the tour. Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day.

Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on May 10, 2015:

Another great post by you. Was a pleasure reading it. The pictures are really good. The quote in the end is awesome :)

Voted up.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 09, 2015:

Hi Anne. Bayeux is a fascinating place and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. WWII will forever be a part of Bayeux and Normandy. Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful day.

Anne Harrison from Australia on May 09, 2015:

We spent a rainy few days in Bayeau but it still cast its magical spell on us. A fascinating place - and great food - yet the scars of the war are still too obvious.

Thanks for sharing, voted up

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 09, 2015:

Hi Bill. That struck me also. The allies did not bomb indiscriminently and they managed to avoid destroying many historic buildings. The exception to this in Normandy was Caen, much of which was leveled. This was due to the Germans making a determined stand there and it took over 2 months for the allies to finally liberate the city.

Words and pictures really can't reflect the emotion that the American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach portrays. The white marble crosses seem to go on as far as the eye can see. It sure makes one appreciate what we have today and the sacrifices that these young men and women made. Glad you enjoyed the tour, have a great weekend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 09, 2015:

I got goosebumps just looking at the pictures of the memorial at Normandy....it's amazing to me so much incredible architecture survived the bombings of WW2. As a society we are very lucky that so many great buildings are still here for us to enjoy.

Great tour, Bill. Thank you!