Bayeux – The Notre-Dame Cathedral
The Notre-Dame cathedral in Bayeux, IMHO, is nice but not worth a side-trip to see it. Obviously, if you are in the area, it’s a nice excursion to go and see it (after having seen the tapestry). It is imposing and enormous, but misses that little “je ne sais quoi“.
Coming from the tapestry museum, the cathedral looks the part: it’s imposing.
The style of the cathedral is a mixture of Norman-Romanesque and Gothic styles. That is because the cathedral was consecrated in the year 1077, but in the 12th century underwent massive reconstructions after it was partially demolished in subsequent wars.
It took several centuries to finish the cathedral, with the majority was finished in the 15th century, but in the 19th century it was finally totally completed.
Once you have entered through one of the 5 doors of the main entrance, you are in the nave.
Several of the 21 chapels inside the cathedral have elaborate stained-glass windows. The chapel above can be found at the South of the nave. It was made in the 13th century and is called the Saint-Jean-pres-de-la-Tour-Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte-Saint-Martin-aux-Fonts Chapel.
The main organ of the cathedral was manufactured in 1597, modified in 1843 and then again in 1862 and finally restored in 1998. In 1973 the organ itself was classified as a Historical Monument of France.
As for the bells, there are 17 in total, the last 2 were made and installed in the year 2004. The biggest bell was made in 1727 and weighs 1,000 kilos (2204 lbs).
This is a small chapel on the East of the Cathedral, well tucked away. You could walk past it several times and not notice that it’s there.
This is the altar portion of the cathedral, built between 1220 and 1240 and consists of 4 different levels.
In 1077, in the beginning of the famous Bayeux tapestry, the 70 meter long cloth, depicting the history of the conquest of England by the Normands, was exhibited in the Notre-Dame cathedral. In fact, it was commissioned for the cathedral, but eventually was placed in a museum.
It’s an interesting cathedral, not in the same playing field as the Chartres, Amiens or even Paris cathedrals, but nevertheless, it’s worth a visit if you are in the general area.
Entrance is free.