Medieval stone homes and buildings reflect in the river

Best Things to do in Bayeux, France

Bayeux, France

If you plan to tour the beaches and battlefields in Normandy, where the Allies landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944, chances are you will visit the medieval town of Bayeux, France. Though it’s a small town, there are plenty of things to do in Bayeux. In addition to strolling the streets and perusing the shops and restaurants, you should try to catch the Bayeux light show at the Bayeux Cathedral. Additionally, consider touring the Bayeux Museum.

The Bayeux Cathedral was consecrated in 1077, and the Bayeux Museum displays a UNESCO tapestry from the 11th century. Moreover, Bayeux is the perfect place to spend a few days during your trip. It’s conveniently located within a 20 to 45-minute drive to Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the World War II beaches, and the Normandy American Cemetery.

Check out this post for more details on must-see places in Bayeux. Additionally, you will find information on an excellent restaurant where they serve top-notch Dover sole. Also, we stayed at the Grand Hotel du Luxembourg, and I will give you my thoughts on that.

Bayeux, France
Lights illuminate the Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy, France.

Bayeux Escaped World War II Bombings

Most war-ravaged towns may still have historic remains. But, not only does Bayeux date back to the first century, you will find original medieval half-timbered buildings and large stone manor homes too. These historic homes that populate old town had survived World War II virtually unscathed.

Fortunately, the Germans evacuated Bayeux on June 6, 1944, and the Allies focused on other targets. Most importantly, the Allies liberated Bayeux a day later on June 7, and it’s celebrated as the first town freed from German control in Continental France.

Grand Hotel du Luxembourg

We booked our trip to Bayeux a few days before our World War II tour.  After a little research, we chose the Grand Hotel du Luxembourg for our one-night stay. In our estimation, the Grand Hotel du Luxembourg was not a four-star hotel, but for our purposes, it served us well for one night. 

Old town Bayeux, France, is the perfect place for a stroll.

Though the hotel was not fancy, it had a charming lobby. Plus amenities included a pool. Furthermore, the hotel was centrally located within walking distance of the Bayeux Cathedral, the Bayeux Museum, and shops and restaurants in old town.

 But most importantly, our room was clean. We booked a room that held one bed and the hotel staff brought us a cot to accommodate our son who traveled with my husband and me. It was fine for one night, but if we were staying longer, we would have booked our son in another room.

Additionally, they offered a continental breakfast. We appreciated the quick breakfast before heading out for our eight-hour tour of the Normandy beaches and battlefields. 

Bayeux FranceRestaurant Le Drakkar

We checked into the hotel around 6:30 on a Tuesday and headed down the cobblestone streets hoping to find a restaurant for dinner. As luck would have it since we didn’t have reservations, we tried several places that were already booked.  Moreover, we avoided several restaurants because they looked touristy with foreign customers, like us. If we found restaurants packed with patrons carrying cameras and bags we didn’t go in. Like anywhere else, the locals know the best restaurants.

Half-timbered stone buildings line a street in medieval Bayeux, France.

We reluctantly moseyed into a noisy, casual restaurant that advertised pizza. Though they offered outdoor seating, it reminded me of a pub. We had skipped lunch, and a pizza restaurant was not on our agenda.   

I have to admit, that we had the wrong first impression of Restaurant Le Drakkar. Moreover, I had expectations of a long wait because I didn’t spot any open tables. Plus, I watched a limited number of waitresses scurry through the restaurant taking orders and serving food.

Things to do in Bayeux France include visiting the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Tapestry Museum.

Surprisingly, the hostess sat us quickly. After our long day, we relaxed and ordered drinks. Then, my husband and I ordered the grilled Dover sole.

Previously, I had only eaten Dover sole meunière where the chef sautés it in butter and lemon. My husband and I usually order Dover sole whenever a restaurant offers it on their menu. Up until that day, we felt that we had dined on the very best sole in Lutèce restaurant in Manhattan. Also, our son ordered the seafood pizza.

Superb Dover Sole

We were wrong. Until we had visited Bayeux, France, we had never feasted on grilled Dover sole straight from the English Channel as we had at Restaurant Le Drakkar. Moreover, our son, who is a seafood pizza aficionado, raved that nothing compared to his meal. 

Therefore, if you visit Bayeux, do yourself a favor and stop in Le Drakkar. I hope that you enjoy the restaurant. If you take my advice, please let me know if your dining experience measures up to ours.

Wooden pews line the venter aisle of the Notre-Dame cathedral
The Bayeux Cathedral is a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque architecture.

Bayeux Cathedral or Notre-Dame Cathedral

While in Bayeux, duck in the Bayeux Cathedral where William the Conqueror attended the Cathedral’s consecration in 1077. The Bayeux Cathedral or the Notre-Dame Cathedral is an example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Attributes of Romanesque are massive piers and rounded arches, and pointed arches and elaborate tracery are examples of Gothic design. If you have time, take one of their guided tours. Check here for more information and below.

Guided tours begin on July 3, until September 1.  Monday to Fridays from 10 a.m. until 2:15 p.m.

Bayeux Light Show

When we walked the streets of Bayeux, France, we happened upon the Bayeux light show at the cathedral entitled “RENDEZ-VOUS À LA CATHÉDRALE, LES LUMIÈRES DE LA LIBERTÉ.”

Bayeux Cathedral

Normandy, France
The Bayeux Cathedral is illuminated for the light and sound show.

As we listened to ten stories celebrating France’s path to freedom and liberty, colors painted the “Tree of Liberty” and the Bayeux Cathedral in iridescent hues of red, pink, purple, green, blue, white, orange and gold. We had never seen anything like the Bayeux light show.

Bayeux, France
Colors highlight the Bayeux Cathedral in France.

Tree of Liberty

Bayeux, France
Lights color the”Tree of Liberty” in Normandy, France.

Most importantly, in the French language, these stories commemorated the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the Allied landings, the freedom of the press, the freedom to love,” and more.

Bayeux, France Light Show
Lights create an illusion that the “Tree of Liberty” in Normandy, France, is on fire.

The show was a pleasant addition to our Normandy trip.  This year’s free light show runs from July 17 to September 1, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. They begin at dusk.

To sum up, since Bayeux, France, escaped destruction from World War II, it’s steeped in history with lavish historic buildings. Furthermore, it’s an excellent starting and stopping point if you are touring the Normandy World War II battlefields and the Normandy American Cemetery. 

In Bayeux, there are plenty of restaurants, and there’s enough to see and do to keep you busy for a few days.

What is your favorite place in Bayeux?  Have you ever experienced the Bayeux light show?

Related Posts:

Normandy and World War II




30 thoughts on “Best Things to do in Bayeux, France

  1. Beautiful. Reminds me of White Night here in Melbourne, where all the buildings light up and tell a story 😃🐻

  2. I find it funny that you were trying to avoid tourists. Almost like avoiding yourself. However I do the same exact thing when I travel. I would love to explore this town one day. It looks so cute! I love that there’s a light show!

    1. Nina, it wasn’t a matter of avoiding tourists, but we felt that the locals would know the restaurants that served the best food.

  3. Looks lovely and sounds like you ate really well. The Cathedral looks impressive and I love the light show. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    1. Hi Anisa. Though we only stayed for one night, we saw a lot and luckily caught the light show. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  4. I’ve always wanted to visit beaches and battlefields in Normandy, especially after seeing so many movies about WWII. Hope to make it there someday and also visit the beautiful medieval town of Bayeux. You make it sound quite interesting. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. Anda, our tour of the Normandy beaches was the best one that we had ever taken. Our English guide told us WWII stories throughout the day that transported us back to D Day. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  5. Oh France! How I would love to visit this beautiful country. Love how you captured this at dusk. Beautiful 😀

    1. Hi blondevoyagenyc. I hope that you get to travel to Frnace​ one day, it’s one of my favorite countries.

  6. A beautiful place with so much history! The light show would be interesting, both with the Cathedral and the Tree of Liberty – love the colors, and how you captured them 🙂 Thanks for sharing. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. Emese, we were lucky to see the light show and we loved the historic homes and buildings in Bayeux. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  7. Wow! How come I haven’t heard of Bayeux until now?! This place seems like a piece of paradise, Dorothy. How many days would be enough to explore this Bayeux?

    1. Lydia, I think that you could spend a a couple of days visiting the World War II beaches and the Normandy American Cemetery, and a day or two touring the Cathedral and museum in Bayeux.

  8. This medieval town is so beautiful! I find the light show a bit of a disconnect with the historical buildings, but it offers it’s own beauty as well. My dad would have loved to tour the beaches and battlefields of Normandy–and it seems like a very interesting part of France with good food!

    1. Cynthia, We loved our tour of the World War II beaches and the Normandy American Cemetery, and the beauty and history of Bayeux was an added surprise. Moreover, by default ​we selected an excellent restaurant.

  9. Bayeux seems like such a fascinating city. My husband and I would love the history- especially the proximity to the WWII sights. #wanderfulwednesday

    1. Bayeux was an excellent addition to our World War II tour. Also, our guide did an excellent job of placing us in the context of World War II. #WanderfulWednesday

  10. Another blogger friend of mine recently wrote about this beautiful town and now, once again, I am itching to visit!! I love half-timbered towns and this one is just about as cute as they come! #WanderfulWednesday

    1. I also love half-timbered towns. T​he beauty and history of Bayeux surprised us, and we enjoyed our short stay. #WanderfulWednesday

  11. Yes — I’ve stayed twice in Bayeux and love this town! It’s a miracle it escaped the WWII bombing and has so many old buildings and streets. We stayed in the Churchill Hotel and I recommend it. We also happened to be there on a weekend and went to the town market. Locals were out and visiting and it was colorful and so fun. I hope to return in 2019, so I’ve pinned your post for travel planning!

  12. Really cool to see another side to Bayeux, would love to visit the light show. I remember seeing the tapestry as a kid which I loved as a young history buff, but it seems like Bayeux has even more to offer. Thanks for sharing #theWeeklyPostcard

    1. Travelsewhere, thank you for your comment. Since we stayed in Bayeux prior to touring the World War II battlefields we had limited time. On our next visit we plan to stay longer. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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