A millennium ago in Normandy

Coronation of Harold

The 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry is a remarkable work of art and storytelling. Embroidered with richly dyed woolen yarns on a 224-foot-long strip of linen, it is not actually a tapestry at all. Tapestries are woven, not embroidered. Its colors, primarily blues, greens, gold, and russet, still hold true after more than nine centuries.

Going to see this treasure is a must; the visitor experience is so well done. Before entering the darkened room, each person is given an audio guide, like a telephone handset, that narrates the tale and keeps everyone spaced out and moving at the same pace. The subtle lighting enhances the colors and you can move up close to see the details of the stitching. No photography is allowed; these photos are from Wikimedia.

330px-Bayeux_tapestry_laid_work_detail

The tapestry’s more than fifty scenes tell of the events leading up to the Norman Conquest, culminating in the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066. There’s a Norman spin to the story. The scene at the start of this post shows the coronation of King Harold after the death of England’s King Edward, despite Harold having previously pledged allegiance to William of Normandy. Much like a comic strip or graphic novel, the scenes are action-packed, depicting treachery, heroism, and humor. The audio guide pointed out details we might have missed, like Hailey’s Comet, seen as a portent of the coming invasion.

P1010657

Mont-Saint-Michel is even older than the Bayeux Tapestry. Clinging to the top of the island of Mont-Tombe, this monastic enclave has grown over the centuries and has long been a place of pilgrimage. Early in the 11th century, the abbey church was built.

P1010671

The simplicity of the architecture and stained glass, the glorious weather, and the silent presence of the nuns and priests who still serve here, made this a very meaningful time for Megan and I, who climbed to the top for the full self-guided tour.

p1010668.jpg

P1010677

P1010691

P1010686

The Benedictine monks ate in silence in the refectory, shown below, while one read scripture from the pulpit in the right wall.

P1010692

The wheel below was used to haul provisions up to the abbey in the years following the French Revolution when it was used as a prison.

P1010696

Below the abbey, the narrow streets were packed with shops and tourists. We settled for a quick picnic lunch before hurrying to catch up with Mom and Dad. We tried two types of galettes or buckwheat crepes, vegetable (filled with spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes) and a cooked apple and cheese variety. We loved them!

P1010703

3 thoughts on “A millennium ago in Normandy”

  1. Larry and I just went to Battle about 10 days ago and immersed ourselves in this history of the Battle of Hastings. To stand there on the battlefield and realize the slaughter that took place on that day is quite an experience. I was very moved by it.

    Margaret

    On Sat, Apr 21, 2018 at 4:02 AM, Laurie Apgar Chandler wrote:

    > lachandler22 posted: ” The 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry is a remarkable > work of art and storytelling. Embroidered with richly dyed woolen yarns on > a 224-foot-long strip of linen, it is not actually a tapestry at all. > Tapestries are woven, not embroidered. Its colors, primaril” >

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s