Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chartres, Bayeux, and Normandy

Tuesday morning we picked up the rental car from Orléans and drove to Chartres to see the cathedral. It was pretty impressive, but very dark inside. The town was also really charming, but we didn't have long to stay because we had to hurry to Bayeux, which was three hours from Chartres. Bayeux is an amazing little town with lots of charm and probably the coolest cathedral in France.
Let's do a picture comparison: which city boasts the best cathedral? Paris, Orléans, Strasbourg, Chartres, or Bayeux?

But the very best thing about Bayeux is the Bayeux Tapestry. This tapestry from 1090 is 70 meters long and depicts William the Conqueror's Ass-Kicking of the British. This would have been very overwhelming but there was a really useful audio guide which explains each of the 58 panels. I'm going to work on translating the Latin over the summer because it was so interesting. Because Bayeux is such a small town, everything closed around 7pm, including most restaurants and all shops, so after strolling around town we called it a night and returned to our hotel.

On the way out of Bayeux the next day we stopped at Omaha Beach, one of the D-Day beaches in Normandy. It was freezing cold, windy, and very wet, and since there wasn't much to see except some monuments, we quickly took to the road again and arrived in Mont St. Michel in the late afternoon.

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