Day 3 Normandy trip
I did not have breakfast in the hotel this morning, instead I headed for Les Volets Roses, a quaint little restaurant in Vieux Bayeux beside the Cathedral. My photos could not do it justice to this little place so please follow the link.
I was in for a surprise when I crossed the road for Sunday Mass to find it was the feast of St. Fiacre (our Irish St Fiacra), their a hugely loved patron saint of gardeners and horticulturalists. The congregation wholeheartedly practiced a rousing hymn to St Fiacre in preparation for the procession of gardeners with their produce. Joined by the priest and servers outside the cathedral at the end of Mass, they were delighted to chat with an Irish visitor.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is visible from almost everywhere in the town and is a most amazing structure. I particularly enjoyed the amazing timeline of Christianity that was displayed around the back of the altar.
The tourist book advertised “le p’tit train de Bayeux”. However, it had crashed earlier in the season, so now the tourist had to get around “shanks’ mare”. The Musee Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie on the ring road was my first port of call. Although I had prepared for the holiday by reading Major and Mrs Holt’s Battlefield Guide, this museum provided an excellent chronology of the Battle of Normandy.
I continued along the ring road to the Bayeux War Cemetery. Containing 4144 graves, 338 of them unidentified, this cemetery was probably more touching than those visited yesterday (if that’s possible) as the headstones carried the names and ages of the dead as well as a comment from families.
The Bayeux Memorial to the Missing, opposite the cemetery, bears the names of more than 1800 men of the Commonwealth who died in the early stages of the Normandy campaign and have no known grave.
By this stage, I was in need of a ‘cidre’, so headed back into town, crossing Place Charles de Gaulle where de Gaulle gave his famous speech to celebrate the liberation of Bayeux.
After lunch and of course, cider, I searched out the Bayeux Lace exhibition in the Musee d’Art et Histoire Baron Gerard (MAHB). MAHB is a museum within a palace. The prehistoric to the Renaissance exhibitis are spread over 2 floors. I was particularly interested in the Lace exhibition- hand-made bobbin lace was introduced to Bayeux in the 17th century to provide employment and was soon catering to the luxury market.