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.....
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