The Bayeux Tapestry Museum retraces the history of William the Conqueror through various exhibitions, a film and the contemplation of the famous Bayeux tapestry. Probably commissioned by Odon de Conteville, William the Conqueror’s half-brother, the Bayeux tapestry offers, by its precision and details, a unique testimony to medieval Europe. Incomplete, this embroidery, which was incorrectly named “Queen Mathilde’s Tapestry”, is 70 metres long by 50 centimetres high and weighs 350 kilos. Its unity of style in the representation of the characters shows that it was made in the 11th century in the same place, certainly an English workshop. The Bayeux Tapestry is registered in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.
1st floor: all you need to know about the Bayeux Tapestry
In order to deepen his knowledge of the history of the Bayeux Tapestry, this space is dedicated to the mysteries of its creation, the secrets of its realization and its conservation through history…. The visitor is confronted with a replica of a traditional Viking ship, an introduction to the conquest of England and the fabulous epic of William, Duke of Normandy. The battle of Hastings is explained in detail here, as well as an evocation of the Kingdom of England after 1066, where we discover in particular the Norman influence on the construction (Tower of London, Winchester Cathedral…).
2nd floor: cinema room and educational room
Every 20 minutes, alternating between French and English, a film explains how and why William became King of England thanks to reconstitution images of the Battle of Hastings, combined with special effects. A space is also dedicated to welcoming school groups. The Tapestry is reproduced in its entirety at ½ to facilitate its study.
History of the Bayeux Tapestry
Intended to decorate the Cathedral of Bayeux for its dedication, its central plot traces the history of Harold’s perjury and the conquest of the throne of England by William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy.
The facts described in the tapestry date back to the end of the reign of King Edward the Confessor of England in 1064 and the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Friezes of minor size and importance decorate the top and bottom of the embroidery: they present mythological scenes, from everyday life and even erotic.
In order to make this 70-metre-long millenary work accessible, the museum has managed to make the tapestry explicit while presenting it alone and intact: through a series of rooms, one is introduced to the understanding of the canvas before following it, without any commentary, in a dedicated room. Take the time to observe the 58 scenes and immerse yourself in history.