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Hey y’all! I’m back with another Friday travel post! I’m picking up, right where I left off, last week. After our day in Disneyland Paris, we hopped on a train and headed to a beautiful, small town: Bayeux, France. I loved so much about our last Europe trip, that it is hard for me to pick a favorite spot. However, if I had to make a decision, I would say that Bayeux takes the win. It was the exact opposite of Paris. Where Paris was bustling and busy, Bayeux was quiet and slow. When Paris was up all night, Bayeux was in bed by 9 PM. It’s like comparing my 20 year old self, to my 30 year old self!
I could continue to wax poetic about Bayeux all day, but instead, let me tell some of my favorite things to do in this beautiful little town.
1. Stay in a Historic Bed and Breakfast
The B&B we stayed in, was originally a family home in the 17th century. The current owners converted it into a Bed and Breakfast, called Logis Les Remparts. The French family that lives in and operates the B&B are extremely sweet and courteous. The room was exactly what you would expect, in a lodging like this. It was full of antique furniture and it made us feel like we had stepped back in time. The same family owns and runs the connected Calvados distillery. If you have never heard of Calvados, it is an apple brandy, that is produced in this region of France. The breakfast was actually served in the Calvados shop. It included a bounty of pastries, with an assortment of jams and butter. They also had coffee, tea, and juices.
2. Window Shop and find some Unique Souvenirs
One of my favorite parts of Bayeux, was all of the small shops around the town. They were all locally-owned businesses. It almost made me feel like I was home, except instead of Southern U.S. accents, everyone was speaking French. The shop owners were all so helpful and kind. I loved purchasing items that were made by the local artists, in Bayeux. Those items are more meaningful to me, than the refrigerator magnets or keychains, that usually aren’t even made in the place that you are buying them in. I got a beautiful scarf with hand-painted poppies on it (from the Poppies Shop) and a tea towel that has a sketch by Marie-Emeric (her shop is named after her children: Mason Anna Louise). I will cherish them both, forever.
3. Eat ALL. THE. PASTRIES.
I know it may seem very “basic” of me, but macarons are my favorite. I mean I will shell out some good money for a decadent, well-made, macaron! Honestly, I have a major sweet tooth in general, and being in Bayeux was like the ultimate pastry experience. It turned into a series of photos, I like to call: See Kim Eat. You just can’t beat the delight of eating a perfectly-made pastry and Bayeux, France is the place to get them all.
4. Picnic in the Park
Similar to in Paris, there is a square in Bayeux, referred to as Place Charles-de-Gaulle. Though, the one in Bayeux is much smaller and quieter. It is the site of Charles-de-Gaulle’s famous speech, on June 14th, 1944. The green expanse is shaded and features a large fountain in the center. While we were there, we saw local people, walking their dogs, and playing with their children. Our B&B was just a few steps away, so this was the perfect spot to have a picnic lunch.
5. Or Stop in at one of the Local Restaurants
Everything I ate in Bayeux was delicious! The pastries, the pizza, the salads. Yes, all of it. One of my favorite spots, was a cute, little, tearoom. It was the first place we stopped in at, when we arrived in Bayeux. We literally dropped our bags at the B&B and went in search of sustenance! It was early afternoon, which is an odd time to find food. As it turns out, several of the restaurants in Bayeux close after lunch and then reopen for dinner. This is definitely something we weren’t used to! Thankfully, Les Volets Roses, was still open.
6. Visit the Bayeux Cathedral
The Bayeux Cathedral (also referred to as Notre Dame of Bayeux) is definitely the first thing you notice, when you walk into the town. It is by far, the largest structure, for miles. The original church, was consecrated in 1077, but the style and architecture has had some changes over the years. Even though Bayeux remained relatively untouched, during WWII, this building saw damage many years prior to that. A fire during the 12th century, caused a large part of the cathedral to be rebuilt during the 13th century, and the central tower wasn’t put up until the 15th century. So, you can see why there are some different architectural elements to the Bayeux Cathedral.
7. Visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum
The Bayeux Tapestry, is basically a large cloth, that was embroidered with the story of the Norman conquest of England. It is a massive 230 feet long! At the museum, you can listen to the audio tour. It explains all of the depicted scenes, on the tapestry, as you walk along side of it. I’m going to be honest. Usually, I find this sort of tour, rather dull. However, I decided to give it a chance and by halfway through, I was truly engrossed in the story! It was amazing to see the details that were on this cloth! It is definitely worth the visit. No photography is allowed inside of the museum (I certainly don’t want to damage a 10 centuries old, historical document), so my only photos are from the outside.
If you are heading to France, I hope you will consider Bayeux as an option! Especially, if you are thinking of visiting the Normandy region.
Until next time!