AFTER THE FETE

Following the D-Day celebrations, the party continues.

Bayeux, France

Last year I wrote about how wonderful it would be if Our Tour was inhabitable enough to enjoy the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Bayeux. Well, tant pis.

We weren’t lucky enough to have been in town during the commemorative ceremonies, but my beau parents were and they said it was crazy. A few weeks later and the town is still a buzz with all the energy the visitors, events and decorations brought to this corner of Normandy.

flags normandy

French home, flowers

Bayeux, France

The cathedral was lit up in multiple colors. A beautiful jeux de lumière.

Notre Dame, Bayeux, FranceNext year, yes, next year…

THANK YOU

In memory 1944-2014.

An American tank crew in Avranches, Normandy, Summer 1944 by Frank Scherschel

Blue beaches murmur waves
Splashing old, rusted war remnants.
A sea bird flaps wet beaches
Where the sea swells and crashes gently on wet sand,
Retreating back erasing all footprints.
The men stare the distance,
At blurred memories through tears.
Trickling down their cheeks dripping softly,
To merge with the sea like before.

Excerpt from ‘Harbingers’ by Curtis D. Bennett

Links:

BAYEUX TRAVEL GUIDE

  Visiting the beautiful city of Bayeux.

Bayeux Normandy travel guide / RockRoseWine

In a few short weeks Bayeux will be hosting the annual D-Day Festival Normandy. This year, for the 70th anniversary, the town has planned for an even greater participation than usual. Here is a little list of travel tips for those lucky visitors who will be in Bayeux for this momentous occasion and for all other travelers year round.

WHEN TO GO

The two major tourist events in Bayeux are the D-Day festivities that take place the first week in June and the Medieval Festival that takes place the first weekend of July. Unless you are specifically going to Bayeux for these events, I would avoid these dates as hotels will be fully booked many months in advance.

medieval house bayeux

WHAT TO DO

  • The Bayeux Tapestry: No trip to Bayeux would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry. Even if you’re not a history or textile buff, the tapestry is a truly remarkable sight.  The excellent audio tour does a great job explaining the history behind this 224 foot long 11th century artifact. See official website for address, admission prices and opening hours. You can get a reduced rate by purchasing a twin or triple ticket pass for the 3 museums in the Bayeux museum group  (The Bayeux Tapestry, The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy and The MAHB).
  • MAHB: The Museum of Art and History Baron Gérard (MAHB) reopened its doors in March of 2013 to much fan fare. Housed inside the former bishop’s palace next to the Cathedral, the museum was closed for 12 years and underwent 4 years of major renovation work. The result is 1,500 m2 of gorgeous exhibition halls covering Norman art and history. From Medieval artifacts to impressionist artwork, to permanent displays of Norman lace and ceramic, the MAHB is Bayeux’s new must-see. See official site for address, admission prices and opening hours and information on twin or triple ticket pass.
  • Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-mer: While there are many moving D-Day sites and museums in Bayeux and the surrounding region, if you only have time to do one, that site would have to be the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.  Located in Colleville-sur-Mer 20 minutes north of Bayeux and just east of St. Laurent-Sur-Mer (Omaha Beach), the cemetery is a deeply moving experience one will never forget. Also, when visiting the Cemetery, don’t miss the beautifully curated permanent exhibition housed in the Visitor Center. Opened in 2007, the story of the D-Day landings and the 80-day Battle of Normandy is told through three themes: Competence, Courage and Sacrifice. Both the cemetery and visitor’s center are open daily till 6 p.m. (April 15 to September 15) and till 5 p.m. the rest of the year. There is no admission charge.
  • Other D-Day sites: A complete list of Bayeux and Bessin memorial sites and museums from Bayeux Bessin Tourism.
  • Vieux Bayeux: Miraculously untouched during WWII, Bayeux is a living historical monument. Visit the Cathedral, the Lace Conservatory, walk along the canal, window shop or just wander through the town’s maze of cobblestone streets.

Crab at French MarketFrench goat cheese

Bunnies at French Market

MARKETS

  • On Saturday mornings there is a large market at Place Saint Patrice. This is a fun, very traditional French market. The first alley-way closest to the main street features local organic produce, products, seafood and live animals!
  • On Wednesday mornings there is a smaller market located near the tourist office on the rue St. Jean.
  • On Sunday mornings in Port en Bessin there is a lovely little market along the canal. This is a 15 minute drive outside Bayeux.

(more…)

MAY FLOWERS

Warm(er) weather at Port-en-Bessin

port en bessin flowersport en bessin market

On Sundays, the canal leading to Port-en-Bessin is full of flowers, fresh fruit and fish. The market takes place each dimanche and seems to get more colorful and lively with each passing year. The wonderful weather brought out locals and tourists alike who took advantage of the low tide on the beaches near the port. Next month, the region will be packed for the commemorative ceremonies of the 70th anniversary of D-Day and everyone is getting ready for a particularly intense agenda this year. Hotels all over the region are fully booked through September. This is the calm before the high season storm.

port en bessin normandy

port en bessin normandy coast

DSC_1558

Also on the Normandy coast:

arronmanches ARROMANCHES

 

LEST WE FORGET

A Tribute to D-Day.

blending-historic-moments-into-present-day-photos-and-locations-seth-taras-history-channel-know-where-you-stand-dday-normany-wwii Seth Taras 

Tomorrow marks the 69th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. Like every year, Bayeux celebrates its liberation and honors those who fought and fell for freedom.

The above image by Seth Taras from the Know Where You Stand series created for the History Channel, dramatically illustrates how I feel when walking down the calm Normand coast. My daughter is too small to understand this region’s historical significance, but we do. My husband’s family, his grandparents and parents, were greatly impacted by the war and I feel very fortunate to have heard their direct accounts. Enjoying the serene beaches that are only lightly freckled now with a few leftover bunkers and artificial harbours, one can’t help think about what happened here in 1944. To them, we shall forever be grateful. (more…)

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