Our trip to the Tapestry was one adventure! The Tapestry is located in a building a few blocks from the Bayeux Cathedral. We dutifully plugged the address for the Tapestry building into our GPS. The GPS sure did take us there – directly in the courtyard of the building! This is one of those times when you have to have a map with you in addition to your GPS. We eventually found our way to municipal parking lot (there is no parking for the Tapestry alone) and then found our way by foot back to the Tapestry.
We paid for our admission in a line-free area, but then were dumped in packed, Disney-style line that snaked around a large room 3-4 times. This is a tedious wait. They control the flow of people into the room where the Tapestry is arranged, you walk in the room in single file and loop around the Tapestry with your audio guide telling the tale told in the Tapestry.
If you are there in high season, as we were, you can not rewind the audio guide or pause it – you just keep cycling around the Tapestry (it is arranged in a U shape). If you are there in low season you can pause and rewind the audio. It would have been nice to do that, but no matter what time of the year you are there the audio guide is a nice accompaniment telling the tale you see in the stitches.
The Tapestry tells the tale of the Battle of Hastings through a “cartoon” stitched in a banner style (it is 230 feet long by 20 inches tall) tapestry. The Tapestry is amazing in its condition – it was created in 1070! It has been protected during wars – and Bayeux saw a fair share of battles in WWII. During that time it was in the basement of the Louvre.
It is fun to walk along listening to the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings and the outcome as it is “told” to you through the creative minds and skills of the people who made the Tapestry. It is amazing to see the handiwork it to took to put this together and have such an involved story spelled out in a simple way. Having grown up in England I am very familiar with this story and its impact on the history of England. I loved seeing this tale brought to life in such a unique way.
Not only are the lines like Disney, but when you leave the room with the Tapestry you are sent to exit the building though a gift shop. You can get all sorts of items – woven bags, tablecloths, wall hangings and more with scenes from the Tapestry depicted on them.
- Be sure to research where there is available parking before showing up in the courtyard of the building like we did!
- Bring patience. The line to get your audio guide and enter the tapestry can be long and slow moving. Once in the Tapestry room be patient with stragglers and people not moving – getting your audio out of sync with where you are standing.