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