France: Bayeux, Normandy
Updated: Feb 9, 2019
Bayeux, France is a great central point to stay if you are visiting the D-Day sites of Normandy. Bayeux is about 3 hours west (285km/60 miles) from Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport, easily accessible via motorway or public transportation. Some of France's major motorways charge tolls, which allow fast and efficient travel but at a cost.
A great stopping point on the way to Bayeux is the Claude Monet Gardens in Giverny, France. The gardens are about 1 hour and 15 minutes west (100km/62 miles) of Charles de Gaulle airport. The gardens are open March through October typically. The tour includes access to both the the flower gardens and the Japanese gardens. The restored home of Claude Monet is also available to visit. The gardens and property are very beautiful and worth a visit if you are in the area. Easily you could spend 2 hours on your visit there.
Entering city of Bayeux, you will find the central point to be the Cathedral of Bayeux. This large cathedral of Norman architecture was originally dedicated in 1077 in the presence of William the Conqueror. This cathedral was the original home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which has now been moved to its own museum not far from the cathedral and is now listed as a Memory of the World by UNESCO.
Once inside the Cathedral the size and magnitude of the building is clearly evident, with large side chapels and rooms available to visit and explore.
The hotel we stayed at was the Hotel Reine Matilde. The rooms were small, but cozy. The rooms across the street were deluxe rooms and were very nice. It was easy to walk to restaurants and the local points of interest. Our D-Day tour driver picked us up at the hotel, so that was convenient.
Other recommended hotels in Bayeux are the Churchill Hotel, Hotel Le Bayeux, and Domaine de Bayeux.
The food was excellent in the restaurants we visited. Dinner at Le Brakkar was very good and gave us a good sampling of French food.
Other recommendations for restaurants are the Au P'tit Bistrot, Le P'tit Resto, Le Volet qui Penche, Le Moulin De La Galette, and La Maison Blanche. The hours on Sunday and some of the other days of the week made it not possible to eat at all these locations.
We couldn't leave France without experiencing their wonderful pastries and desserts. For our final morning in Bayeux we wanted to enjoy pastries at A La Reine Mathilde Pâtisserie Confiserie, however the shop had not opened yet so I quickly found another recommendation.
It took some time to walk to this spot from the hotel, but it turned out to be a great place for pastries. The name was Boulangerie Patisserie.
On this trip I was traveling with a group of 9 people, so getting around was not without its struggles. We found the pastry shop and our large group entered the small shop. Immediately you could tell the lady behind the counter was a bit concerned. She didn't speak much English and we didn't speak any French. The first person in our group tried to order (in English) a baguette sandwich. The counter person interpreted that to mean we wanted nine baguette sandwiches, which she said would take 20 minutes to make. Finally we helped her understand that it was just one baguette and she was able to get through all the other orders of pastries and desserts with less trouble. In the end the pastries were great, but I felt bad that we had frustrated the lady behind the counter and that we likely reinforced a stereotype of Americans in France.
Bayeux is a great location, especially if you plan to see the many historical sites of D-Day and WWII.
Hotels: Hotel Reine Matilde, Churchill Hotel, Hotel Le Bayeux, and Domaine de Bayeux
Restaurants: Le Brakkar, Au P'tit Bistrot, Le P'tit Resto, Le Volet qui Penche, Le Moulin De La Galette, and La Maison Blanche.
Pastries: La Reine Mathilde Pâtisserie Confiserie or Boulangerie Patisserie
Must See Places: Cathedral of Bayeux, Bayeux Tapestry, Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy, Botanical Gardens of Bayeux, British Military Cemetery and the Old Town section of Bayeux.
Extended Day-Trips: D-Day tours & museums, Mont Saint-Michel, Visit to Angoville-Au-Plain.
Alternate Locations: Much larger cities of Caen or Rouen, including visits to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen and the Saint-Ouen Abbey Church.