Bayeux’s past seems, in many ways, to be defined by war. From the famous tapestry depicting events dating to the Norman conquest of England to its proximity to the famous World War II D-Day landing beaches. While it’s impossible to forget these sullen events, Bayeux is anything but gloomy.
Today, it’s a picturesque town that attracts historians and tourists from all over the world. The charming old town, that miraculously came out of World War II unharmed, is lovely and home to a famous wooden water wheel. Taste the local Norman cuisine at one of the city’s many delicious restaurants.
Bayeux is naturally the perfect town for history buffs. Visit the landing beaches, the war cemetery and the numerous museums to learn all about the region’s past and role it played throughout history.
Additionally, its location makes Bayeux a great base for visiting the rest of Normandy. In this article, we’ve put together the places worth visiting in town and ways to get to Bayeux from Paris. We also have a list of our favorite activities, restaurants and places to stay that Bayeux and its surrounding towns have to offer.
Bayeux is also just a few kilometers from the famous D-Day landing beaches. The museum located at Gold Beach recounts the events and the role the beaches played in WWII. For history buffs, we do recommend one of the many guided tours offered. Knowledgeable, local guides can expertly explain the events and impact on both a local and international level. These historic beaches are a must-see during your trip.
Plan your visit to Bayeux
When to visit Bayeux
We definitely recommend avoiding winter for a trip to Bayeux, unless you don’t mind the cold! The weather is best from June to September, especially if you are planning on visiting the D-Day beaches. The spring and fall are also nice times to visit, but it can get cold and there is often rain.
How long is needed to visit Bayeux
We recommend spending a full day in Bayeux. You can spend the morning discovering the town and grab lunch at one of Bayeux’s great restaurants. Use the afternoon to go out on a tour of the D-Day beaches or explore the Norman countryside. It’s home to some lovely boutique hotels and is an ideal place to spend the night during your time in Normandy.
What should I wear to visit Bayeux
Bayeux is a pretty relaxed town so there is no specific dress code required. We recommend dressing comfortably as you might do a lot of walking. Being on the coast, it can get pretty windy, especially at night. Bring layers if you’re going to visit the D-Day beaches.
Attractions in Bayeux
It’s hard to miss the Notre Dame Cathedral of Bayeux. Sanctified in 1077 in the presence of William the Conqueror, the massive structure combines medieval and gothic architecture. It was the setting for the oath taken by Harold II that he would marry William’s daughter. An oath that would later be broken and set the stage for the Battle of Hastings.
- Open daily from 8:30 am
- Closes at 5:00 pm from January – March; 6:00 pm from April – June / October – December ; 7:00 pm July – September
- Free entry
- Guided tours available at 3:00 pm ; €4 adults, free for under 15 years old
- Visit the website here (only in French)
Bayeux Tapestry Museum
Over 950 years old, the Bayeux Tapestry is one of the most famous tapestries in the world for its length and intricate details. After being displayed at the cathedral for a long time, you’ll now be able to see it at the Bayeux Tapestry Museum (also known as Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux). The tapestry that depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England measures a staggering 70 meters long and 50 cm high. It is absolutely worth seeing as it is an important piece of history that reads like a cinematic storyboard for an epic saga! We highly recommend getting the free audioguide that describes in details each of the panels that make up the tapestry.
- Address: 13 bis rue de Nesmond, 14400 Bayeux
- Open daily from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm; 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
- Closed from December 24-26, and exceptionally closed from January 1-31, 2019
- €9.50 full rate, €7.50 reduced rate, €5 students, free for under 10 years old
- Audioguide is available in 16 different languages
- Visit the website here for more info.
The Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy
This museum (also known as Musée Mémorial Bataille de Normandie) serves as your gateway to the D-Day beaches. Spanning over 2 300 m2, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the historic Battle of Normandy. The museum has a large collection of military hardware used in the Second World War on display as well uniforms and items. You’ll also find a large number of maps, audio, and video material that’ll help you follow the day-by-day progress of the Allied invasion.
- Address: Boulevard Fabian Ware, 14400 Bayeux
- Open daily from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm; 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; May – September open daily from 9:30 am – 6:30 pm
- €7 for adults, €5.50 for children, free for under 10 years old
- Visit their website for more info.
You can buy combination tickets for the the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy and the Bayeux Tapestry Museum for only €12.50! Find the other available combination tickets here.
Bayeux British War Cemetery
The Bayeux British War Cemetery (also known as the Bayeux British war cemetery) is the largest cemetery in France dedicated to commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives in WWII. With over 4,500 graves, this solemn site is a tribute to the area’s history and pays respect to the thousands who fought in the conflict. Visit the area to pay respects or remember the events that took place here.
- Address: 1945 Boulevard Fabian Ware, 14400 Bayeux
- Open daily
- Free entry
- Visit this website for more info.
Travel from Paris to Bayeux
Train from Paris to Bayeux
For most travelers from overseas, taking a train from Paris to Bayeux would be a convenient option. You can simply go to Paris Gare St.-Lazare, which is in the center of the city, and purchase your tickets there. A good way is to also reserve your tickets online especially if you’re traveling in a group! Buying tickets in advance will also mean cheaper tickets. Luckily, there are trains almost every hour from Paris to Bayeux starting from 7:00 am. It’s important to know that between Paris and Bayeux, you must change trains once at Caen station.
- Travel time: 2 hours and 50 minutes with one change at Caen Station
- Price: from €50 for return tickets
- Book your train tickets here.
We also have a complete guide to purchasing your train tickets online!
Drive from Paris to Bayeux
While taking the train from Paris to Bayeux is certainly convenient, it can be quite tiring especially since it’ll require getting up very early to catch the train, change stations and then needing to do it all over again in reverse at the end of the trip! We think that a more relaxing option would be to drive all the way to Bayeux. You can go at your own pace and stop as often as It’s not only relaxing but you’ll also get to enjoy the scenery of northern France which is vastly different from that in the south!
- Travel time: 2 hours and 40 minutes – 3 hours and 50 minutes depending on traffic conditions
- Check out our complete guide to renting a car and driving in France.