We woke up this morning to a drizzly rain in Bayeux -- but it was still beautiful! And by the time we ventured out in search of breakfast -- cafe and WARM pain au chocolate (chocolate croissant), the weather was shaping up beautifully!
We walked around this charming historic district, laced with canals, old buildings, shops and cafe's…
…on our way to view the famous Bayeux Tapestries. Now, I know what you're probably thinking, because we thought the same thing -- tapestries? Seriously? But this was one of the coolest things we've seen. The Bayeux Tapestry is a single tapestry around 230 feet long and 20 inches wide depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and featuring a fascinating drama between William the Conquerer and Harold, the conniving would-be king of England. And it was made in the 1070s. Meaning it's 944 years old. And it is spectacular!
(this is just part of the tapestry -- which is actually embroidered, not woven, but it has always been referred to as a "tapestry.")
Over the course of 50 different "scenes," the story is told -- a dying king's choice of William as successor, the deceitful Harold, taking the crown for himself, despite swearing his loyalty to William on two different holy relics!
A battle ensues with boats, horses, soldiers…all told in amazing detail.
Violent war scenes (note the soldiers are wearing chain mail)
Wading into the water from the boat…no pants!
This scene features Mont St. Michel (top).
According to the curators of the tapestry, it was designed to depict the historical events so they could be recounted to the largely illiterate populace. My brilliant husband remarked that the tapestry is the equivalent of an 11th Century blog -- using pictures and descriptive text to share important life events! Ha!
From the museum housing the tapestries, we walked to their original home -- the Bayeux Cathedral, built in 1077 and dedicated in the presence of William the Conquerer, King of England. It predates Paris' famous Notre Dame Cathedral.
It's hard to describe how the ancient places of worship move us. But they do.
I picked up a prayer guide that included this:
"Almighty and Eternal God,
Give me, I beseech You,
the great gift of inward peace.
Command the winds and storms of my unruly passions.
Make me forbearing and kind to others that I may avoid quarrels and contentions…"
Ah. And Amen.
We so enjoyed our time in Normandy, driving back to catch the train in Rouen through more beautiful villages and farmland (more on that later, from our guest blogger!)
We did make a quick stop -- on a recommendation from the lovely Becca and Rachel Causey -- at Paul for a sweet treat this afternoon.
We got the beignet au pomme -- you were right, Becca, it was delicious! And I also got a tarte au sucre (we've had my sister's Quebecois version -- which, to be honest, I still prefer! Yours is better, Tracey!)
When we got back to Paris, we decided to just run across the street to the grocery store and get a baguette, some cheese (brie and roquefort -- oh. my.), salami, grapes and apple and just picnic in the apartment. I didn't even take a picture because we just plopped it on the table on top of our maps and things! However, our food blogging has apparently inspired some folks because we got these wonderful pictures from back home:
Our sweet cousin Juanice is hanging out with the still-recovering Mama D this week and she shared the wonderful gourmet fare they enjoyed at Chez Wisner! And the obligatory post-meal espresso shot!
These pictures made our day! Thanks Juanice! We think of home and our people every day! We're having a fantastic trip -- and we carry you all with us every where we go!