Bayeux Tapestry: is the museum worth a visit?

Details

  • Open 9am-6.30pm (except December, see here). Closed for January.
  • €11 per person or €5 for students. For groups, click here. Tickets are NOT available online – you buy at the ticket office on the day.
  • Ticket prices can be combined with 2 other local museums.
  • Paid parking is available a short walk away in the town of Bayeux. Take Euro coins.
  • Can be busy with student groups, try early morning for quieter times.
  • Location: 14402 Bayeux cedex, BP 21215
  • Patrick visited late March 2022.

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Located in the Calvados Department of Normandy in Northwestern France, Bayeux has a population of about 13,500 and a history  that stretches back more than 2000 years.  If you don’t know it for the famous Bayeux tapestry, you may know it was the first large town liberated by the Allies during Operation Overlord during the second world war. It lies just 7 kilometres from the English Channel which is known in French as ‘La Manche’. 

Clearly a wealthy small town

Bayeux was the perfect stop for someone like me, driving deeper into France from the ferry port of Cherbourg.  It lay just a little over an hour into my journey towards Laval, and it’s conveniently near the city of Caen. A short walk from the Mairie towards the Tapestry Museum showed Bayeux to be a wealthy small town, going on its architecture and charming layout.

Tickets must be bought ON THE DAY

The ticket attendant spoke excellent English and suffered along with my schoolboy French! Prices are extremely reasonable (see the DETAILS section at the top of this blog for more information).

Museum is laid out in a horseshoe shape

Once I had paid, a line of students was just ahead of me and the handing out of audio guides took quite some time. I had to point out to staff that I was not with the group and desired a guide in English. They were most accommodating and friendly. Having a group there at the same time made it a little difficult to get up close and personal with the tapestry on the FIRST side of the horseshoe-shaped museum, but by going a little bit ahead of them, I got to see everything I wanted to see on the SECOND side.

Scene 4 of the Tapestry

You should note that the tapestry is housed in a darkened space, so if you have sight or movement difficulty, it’s worth checking ahead with the museum if your needs are serviced. In my view, the space is accessible for wheelchair users.

The gardens are charming

The visit does NOT take long, even counting the extensive shopping options (stuffed unicorns, anyone?). There is a charming garden next door to the Tapestry Museum which is worth a few more minutes of your time. In spring, there was a carpet of snowdrops to enjoy and I think summer or fall/autumn visits will also be well-served.

For a future visit

I really was surprised by how nice the town of Bayeux was and would love to return for a future visit. I had not included it on my list of options as a place to stay as I had the idea of pressing further into France, and my next stop of Laval.

A pastoral scene from Bayeux

However, if you have the opportunity, I’m sure you would find a trip here most enjoyable. Given the reasonable cost of entry to the museum and the unique and ancient nature of this linen and wool tapestry depicting the conquering of England and King Harald, I’m certain that any visit you might make would be enjoyable!

Patrick Hughes

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