Bayeux, Normandy France

Written by Alana Jolley

June 7, 2013

Bayeux, France was once the Capital City of the Celts, and is now a small part of the European Global Village, with a dominant French culture.  It is a beautiful Medieval town, with wonderful people.  A “bucket list” item, for me, is to live here for six months, study the French language and culture, and be a volunteer at the Bayeux Tapestry Musem.

The view from our bed and breakfast was exquisite, both day and night, as  we could see the Bayeux Notre Dame Cathedral without leaving our room.

 

One of the most interesting and fascinating things so enjoyable in visiting these magnificent cathedrals is seeing how differently the 13 Stations of the Cross are done.  As the Museum Director at Mission San Juan Capistrano in California, I saw the paintings of the 13 stations there, which were around 200 years old.  They are very dark, with little color or light.  Below are two in the Bayeux Cathedral, which are quite different artistically.

The visit to the Bayeux Tapestry Museum was a highlight that we shall not soon forget.  Because of the length and weight of the tapestry, it was hard to figure out a way to exhibit it in a way that would keep it preserved and undamaged.

Hanging it, for exhibition presented many problems so a solution had to be found in order to protect it.  The decision to place it on a round exhibit makes it so visitors may view each scene separately by number, while listening to the commentary on the scene, and walking around it as music plays in the background of the narration.  This makes the story very easy to follow and understand.

The Bayeux Tapestry, after surviving catastrophic historical events, including World War II, was rescued a few years ago from a large wooden chest in the Bayeux Cathedral, where it had been stored and kept for displaying only once a year for centuries.

Embroidered so many centuries ago in a monastery, it is now listed as “A Memory of the World” by [glossary id=’2431′ slug=’unesco-acronym’ /], and hopefully will be preserved for more centuries to come.

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The real importance of this tapestry lies in the depiction of the culture of the Norman era.  Historians have used the tapestry to learn how the people dressed, how they fixed their food, what their entertainment was, what animals and plants were part of everyday life, what weapons were used, and how soldiers were outfitted.  The above scene is a soldiers’ feast.

The above scene shows many of the preparations for battle each army needed to make.  Notice the horses, those carrying shields, and the flags.  About 8,000 soldiers total took part in the battle of Hastings in 1066.

The above scene shows Harold taking an arrow to the eye, which was fatal.  After he was killed, the English surrendered to the Normans, which changed the Anglo-Saxon blood line to a Norman-Anglo blood line.  This had a great effect on the descendants of these peoples.

The above scene is the last one and ends the historic battle of Hastings.

The World War II historic battle on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, took place on the opposite side of the English Channel from the Battle of Hastings and William and Harold’s conflict.

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