Tapestry - Tapisserie, Bayeux
The famous Bayeux Tapestry tells the story of an event that changed the course of history back in the 11th Century. It is housed in the Musee de la Tapisserie de Bayeux and is well worth a visit.
The tapestry is in fact "an embroidery made from wool on linen canvas" and is 70metres long and 50cm high. It tells the story of how and why the Norman, Willliam the Conqueror, invaded and defeated England in 1066.
A visit to the museum commences with a look at a replica of the tapestry, with a full written explanation of the events portrayed in it. There is then a film you can also watch. After that you can see the actual tapestry, which you view whilst listening to an audio guide, explaining the events again.
There is too much information given…..if you are short on time, or don't want information repeated, you could skip the replica tapestry, and move straight on to the real thing.
It is pretty impressive though, and was nothing like I was expecting. Cost in June 2006 was 7.60euro per adult.
Bayeux, one of many smaller towns in the Normandy, is famous for the so-called "Tapestry of Bayeux". This piece of linen shows the story of William the Conqueror and the battle of Hastings after which he became King of England. It is considered as one of the most important documents of its time and has a length of 70 meters. Unfortunately, the last piece of the tapestry got lost. It is said that the tapestry was made after an order from Williams half-brother Odon, bishop of Bayeux. The tapestry was to be shown in the cathedral of the town, but after a dispute between Odon and William, the plans were dropped and it was never placed there. In the 18th century, it was said that the tapestry was made by Queen Mathilde, William's wife. Nowadays, this is regarded as false.
You will found the tapestry in the Centre Gillaume le Conquerant (William the Conqueror center). There, you will find different exhibitions about the tapestry, the background of its history and the Normans in general. The information you get about the scenes and their details on the tapestry (58 in total) is very good and abundant. The entrance fee (7,50 EUR / 3,00 EUR for students and children) includes an audioguide which is offered in 11 languages. Please calculate around an hour for it and an additional one for the rest of the center!
The tapestry itself is located in a dark room, so that I don’t have any photos of it. The picture shows the place in the Cathedral (just around 200 m away from the Centre Gillaume le Conquerant) where the tapestry was supposed to be.
This is one of two absolute must-see items in Bayeux. The first is the cathedral and next is the famous Bayeux Tapestry. It is not a true tapestry in the sense of the design being woven in. Rather is is a very elaborate embroidery depicting the Norman conquest of England.
According to legend, Queen Mathilda, wife of William the Conqueror, commissioned it, but present scholars think it may have been commissioned by Bishop Odo, William's half brother. Things were so complicated back then . . .
It is very long and very narrow and behind glass. You enter the museum and walk past a statue of William the Conqueror sitting on his throne before you enter the darkened tapestry room. Then you follow the tapestry as it takes you through the famous battles. It is dramatic and fascinating.
Check the Official web site below to check for times and price.
This is a great place to spend the morning. I'm not a great fan of a needle and thread but I was very impressed.
The Tapisserie de Bayeux is a 50 cm by 70 m (20 in by 230 ft) long embroidered cloth—not an actual tapestry—which explains the events leading up to the 1066 Norman invasion of England as well as the events of the invasion itself.
The museum gives you a handheld guide to tell you the story of the tapestry as you walk along it scene by scene.
A good tip would be to try and avoid going through to see it accompanied by a coach load of school kids. However, a fellow resident at the B&B we were staying at in Bayeux, mentioned that she was allowed to take a second trip around the tapestry as she couldn't hear what was going on the first time.
I can't say when I first heard about the Tapestry of Mathilde, but it was definitely a priority for me when we had a chance to visit. We found Bayeux small and quaint, best to park and walk around. From street performers to sidewalk cafes and scenic bridges, there was plenty to see on the way to the museum. Once there the guides directed us to the English theatre for a movie providing us with background and history about this piece of cloth. Then we went into the darkened exhibit space and with awe I beheld the real thing. We were given an audio guide which I found went much too fast for my taste. I had come all this way after years of wanting and I was not going to be rushed through because the audioguide did not have a pause. So I marveled at the length of the work, at the intricacy of the embroidery, at the amazing way the story really could be seen from the panels that went on and on. DH and son were done twice as fast as I was, but that was okay. Since I would not being coming again I tried to savor the moment. The tapestry was in amazing condition for its age and sometimes poor treatment. Only the day before we had seen Falaise where William was born. This was a nice follow up and had us searching for more information about this man whose life changed the course of English and French history. For history buffs, this is a must. There is a nice shop of course with valuable books, and more. Between the wait, the movie, me going slow, the shopping I'm sure we spent more than two hours here, but I wasn't keeping track.
The tapestry of Bayeux in 1792 was saved before being used as covering of a wagon and in 1794 it was to be cut in small decoration pieces. Napoleon exposed it in Paris for some years. In 1939 it was guarded in an anti-aircraft shelter and in 1944 it was carried to Paris and to hide in a cellar of the Louvre.
The Tapestry of Bayeux is located in the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux.
It is a magnificent embroidery in wool on cloth along 70 meters and breadth between the 50 and the 55 centimeters. The tapestry narrates in 58 numbered scenes, with sequences rich in details, the conquest of England made by William the Conqueror from 1064 to 1066 and ended with the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. The work is attributed to the queen Matilde and it was performed in England in 1077 and given by the queen to the bishop of Bayeux, her brother-in-law Eudes.
The Bayeux Tapestry ("la Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde") has to be the most famous illustrated narrative history in the world. This tapestry tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in which William the Conquerer conquered England on October 14, 1066. It's a critical moment in European history (specifically for France and England) and the tapestry tells the story from the perspective of those who lived to witness it.
The tapestry is technically not a real woven tapestry, but an embroidery made from wool on linen canvas during the 11th century. It's 70 meters in length. Needless to say, the fact that this tapestry has been able to exist as long as it has in one piece is extraordinary. It's a work of art with incredible historical significance!
The Bayeux Tapestry is displayed in its own museum in the city of Bayeux. The tapestry is well-lit, and it's set behind glass walls. You can listen to audio-recordings (recorded in 11 languages) as you walk around so that you understand the context and significance of the tapestry and the story it tells.
This is not an attraction for short attention spans. Unfortunately at time I didn't bother listening to the audio, so I quickly wandered past the tapestry at a fast pace with my friends. When you're with a school group without a teacher leading you, every student just speed walks through so they can socialize at the end of it. I do not recommend this approach as you don't learn as much just by glancing at the tapestry. You can appreciate the aesthetics, sure, but you can't really grasp the story the tapestry is telling you otherwise.
I'd imagine you can easily spend over an hour here or more if you truly appreciate history and will willingly spend the appropriate amount of time it takes to fully comprehend what it is you're looking at. And knowing what I do know now (but also coming from an adult perspective), definitely invest in the audio recordings even if you normally wouldn't - it would make your visit a lot more fulfilling.
Despite its name, the tapisserie de Bayeux or de la Reine Mathilde ("Queen Mathilda's tapestry") is not a tapestry, but an embroidered cloth. It is 85 metres long and 50/55 centimetres high; it consists of 58 scenes commemorating the battle of Hastings (1066). The missing part of it may have portrayed William's coronation in the future Westminster cathedral in the Christmas night of 1066.
The Romantic tradition ascribed the realization of this "tapestry" to Mathilde, the wife of Guillaume le Conquérant (William the Conqueror), who wove it, but actually it was made in England around 1077. It used to be kept in the cathedral of Bayeux, but now it is exhibited in the Centre Guillaume-le-Conquérant. It is forbidden to photograph it, but we bought a reproduction of it, and here you see a picture of that reproduction.
If you have any interest in European history, seeing the Bayeux Tapestry is a must. It chronicles William the Conqueror's victory in England to secure the crown. It is housed in the Musee de la Tapisserie de Bayeux and is well worth the entrace fee of less then 10 euros. It is also worth paying the 1 euro to get the headphones with the taped commetary as it makes it easier to follow what you are seeing during the 70 meter tapestry.
This remarkable piece of work was most probably commissioned by the bishop of Bayeux, William's half-brother Odo, from an Anglo-Saxon workshop, for display in his cathedral. The TAPISSERIE DE BAYEUX bears a unique witness to life in the world of the XIth century.
A series of exhibitions and audio-visual displays including a 14 minute film, give visitors information about the tapestry.
Individual earphones giving a recorded commentary in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian and Japanese, are available to visitors as they view the remarkable tapestry.
Hans and I heard of this famous tapestry when Hans was investigating his ancestry. We made it a priority to see it while we were in this area of France.
THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY is actually an embroidery in wool on a background of linen, 230 feet long and 20 inches high ( 70 metres x .50 metres). It is a pictorial account of the events leading up to the military invasion of England and the expedition itself, led by William, duke of Normandy. It depicts the Battle of Hastings which led to the crowning of the victorious William as king of England in 1066.
The most well-known attraction of Bayeux is the Tapestry of Bayeux which chronicles the conquest of England by William the Conqueror, formerly know as William the Bastard. No, I am not making that up. He was an orphan and acquired that name, and was only given the much prettier name after his military exploits.
The tapestry is 20 inches tall and 230 feet long. My favorite part of the piece is a picture of Haley's Comet. Knowing the comet's schedule allowed scientists to pinpoint the date that the tapestry was chronicling.
The Musee de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, which houses the tapestry is open from 9-7 daily, but closes at lunch in the off-season. It provides you with headphones and a narration about the tapestry, its history and its content.
Here is a link to a great sight where you can view each section:
This piece of linen, over 85 meters long and 60cm wide, is embroidered with 58 scenes that depict the story of William, Duke of Normandy, who is better known as William the Conqueror.
In 1064, Harold Godwinson, brother-in-law of Edward the Confessor, came to Bayeux to promise the Throne of England to William, Duke of Normandy, upon the death of Edward. Harold obviously had second thoughts, because her returned to England and accepted the crown for himself when Edward died. William, not thrilled with this news, gathered some fellow Normans and set sail for England. This led to a battle and a date programmed in many history students' brains-- the Battle of Hastings in 1066, in which the Norman conquest met with success. A few weeks later, Harold met his end with an arrow in his eye.
The Bayeux Tapestry documents these events, but the end of the story is missing; the end of the tapestry was lost some time ago. I like to wonder where it might be... hidden in an heirloom trunk, passed down from generation to generation? Or maybe chopped off because the wool threads served as a meal for some moths?
The tapestry is now housed in a museum called "Centre Guillaume le Conquérant"-- the William the Conqueror Center. The museum building was previously a seminary. Now it houses the tapestry, a gift shop, a theater that shows a film in French as well as in English (check the times for the film, and this can help you plan your time in the other exhibits).
Admission is 7.40 Euros for adults and 3 Euros for students; this includes an audio-guide recorded in 11 languages (French, English, German, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, Russian, and Spanish).
The museum is open from 9h00 to 18h30. In the winter, the museum is closed during lunch (12h30 to 14h00).
The Bayeux Tapestry museum; Bayeux, Normandy.
OK, I am biased to this one. I am a Medieval Studies major and so I think everyone should know and love this one. Truthfully, only history and/or art buffs like me will probably like this one, but you never know! However, many of the teenaged boys in our group loved it. The tapestry is a 11th century work, created in commemoration of the Battle of Hastings, 1066, the turning point in English history, when William the Conqueror, a Norman, took over power of the Isles and began a new era in history. In other words, England was born. See? I get carried away with this stuff.....