Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Normandy, Day 6 :: Exploring Bayeux


Bayeux is a small town in Normandy about 6 miles from the D-Day beaches, and a very popular tourist destination for old Brits and Americans for that reason.  It's a small medieval town of about 13,500 people. Its Roman roots date back to the 1st century BC, but the place was completely destroyed in the 9th century when the Vikings (who else?) came though raping and pillaging.  The town was rebuilt and the church you see above became the crown jewel of the place. This place hasn't changed much over the centuries, and it still has homes (that people live in) that date back to the 1300's.  Think about it.

Luckily for us tourists, it was the only city in Normandy that was left completely untouched by the Allied bombs.  French informants did a great job of letting the British know that there were absolutely no Germans headquartered in Bayeux, therefore no bombs were needed.  It was also the first city liberated after the D-Day invasion, which naturally led to an influx of French bastards born 9 months later.

It's crazy to think about how many little cities like this were completely blown off the face of the earth.  Sad, but at least we still have this one to enjoy.

Our quaint little bed and breakfast in Bayeux, which dates back to the 1600's.

It was the perfect setting for an Agatha Christie novel.



I was already pretty convinced that this place was haunted...this confirmed it. 




Ham and goat cheese pizza...delicious.

We didn't have anything on the agenda for the day, so we basically walked around the little town until we found a place where we could rent bikes.  So we did.  It was actually one of my favorite days of the trip, just biking around this small town and enjoying the beautiful French countryside.




This is a real place!









Medieval gardens galore.


The British cemetery, perfectly maintained of course. 

THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE




A lot of these...very sad.  Under the flowers it read, "Known but to God."



I wish I could have gotten a close up of this ole chap's face.












Seriously, this was one of the most beautiful towns I've ever been to.









House from the 1300's.  No joke.



Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux

This colossal and utterly impressive beast of a cathedral towers over the small town of Bayeux.  It's every bit as impressive as Notre Dame in Paris, but what's really mind boggling is that it was consecrated in 1077. William, the king of England was in attendance.  This church is almost 1,000 years old.  I'll let that set in. 

They just don't build 'em like that anymore.

    





Splitting headache.  I couldn't resist.






Danny G. bringing Tebowing to Europe.







Plenty more from Bayeux to come.  Tomorrow we'd spend all day on the beaches of D-Day, which gave me an entirely new respect, appreciation and fascination with WWII.


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