The Bayeux Tapestry might be almost 1,000 years old, but it’s still one of the top tourist attractions in northern France. Housed in a purpose-built museum and depicting the infamous Norman invasion of England, its detailed needlework and impressive size draw hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the world every year.
A UNESCO “Memory of the World,” the Bayeux Tapestry is a very rare object, one of few textiles to last almost 1,000 years. The 230-foot-long (70 meter) embroidered frieze shows William the Conqueror invading England, and the subsequent Battle of Hastings told from the point of view of the victorious Normans.
Since 1983, the tapestry has been displayed behind glass in a purpose-built, climate-controlled museum called Tapestry Museum (Musée de la Tapisserie), in central Bayeux. The colors and level of detail of the figures shown are remarkable when viewed up close, and make the tapestry a must-visit stop on guided tours of northern France.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entry to the Tapestry Museum is by paid ticket.
- Discounts are available for students and seniors.
- Audio guides can be rented at the reception desk.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible.
- Visitors can buy a combined ticket to see other museums in Bayeux.
How to Get There
The Tapestry Museum is located at 13B Rue de Nesmond in Bayeux, France. It’s accessible by car or as part of a guided tour that includes transport. Rail links join Bayeux with St.-Lazare station in Paris.
When to Get There
The museum is open seven days a week from February to December, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It closes for the whole month of January. From March to October, it is open from 9am–6:30pm (until 7pm in May–August). In November, December, and February, the museum closes every day for lunch, 12:30pm–2pm.
Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum
Also found in Bayeux is the Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum that details the events leading up to and including the Normandy or “D-Day” landings. With a collection of military artifacts, including uniforms, guns, and armored vehicles, the museum recreates the events of August 1944 in vivid detail and will be of interest to visitors who want to learn more about the history of the Second World War.