Day 5 Normandy trip
I spent the morning rambling around the town. I found an old church dedicated to St Patrick, where an old guy with as much English as I had French, was more than interested in telling me about the church’s history, the stained glass windows especially those depicting scenes from the life of Patrick, the banner of St Patrick from the 17th century and the new sculpture of the Saint.
Vieux Bayeux was my next destination. Although there was supposed to be a marked route, I couldn’t find it and just explored myself.
What a pity our Irish towns have lost their “small town feel”. Bayeux has a selections of “Boulangeries”, coffee shops, small draperies, boutiques, curio and craft shops which make it a very typical French town.
Located behind the Cathedral, I found the Monument des Deportes, a memorial to the Bayeux inhabitants who were deported for being Jewish or members of the resistance and the camps to which they were sent.
The memorial carries a quote from the poet Louis Aragon: Qu’importe comment s’appelle Cette claret sur leur pas Que l’un fut de la chapelle Et l’autre s’y derobat Celui qui croyait au ciel Celui qui m’y croyait pas (It doesn’t matter what the name is This clarity on their step That one was in the chapel And the other evaded it He who believed in Heaven he who did not believe in it)
Naturally, with my interest in textiles, the Bayeux Tapestry had to feature in the holiday. The tapestry tells the story of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 in 58 cartoon-strip style scenes. It took 11 years to embroider the 230ft long linen cloth.
It is displayed in an old seminary and the accompanying audio guide explains the scenes and the history of William the Conquerer’s life.
I had explored the idea of actually doing a tapestry class while in Bayeux and found Chantal James, owner of a little craft shop, Broderies Bayeux, a willing and excellent teacher. There were 2 of us in the class and although the teacher and the other student had no English, the language of craft is universal. I came away with “my Bayeux tapestry” and some knowledge of the stitches required to complete.
The evening was warm so I strolled back to the hotel along the River Aure.
After a swim and a read by the pool, I headed for my last supper in Bayeux.
Day 6 Normandy trip
A wonderful holiday comes to an end. After an early morning swim, some last minute shopping and a final stroll through Bayeux, I head for the train station. Travelling during the day is great as it allows you to see so much more than just your planned itinerary. The train stopped in Lisieux – I had planned on visiting here until first day went awry. C’est la vie. Arriving in Paris, Gare de St Lazare, even at rush hour, was easy enough to manoeuvre when I had time. And Charles de Gaulle was also a treat when you have time to look around. Would certainly recommend the trip to a solo traveller!