Relatively untouched by the war, beautiful Bayeux (pop. 15,000) is an ideal base for exploring the nearby D-Day beaches. However, visitors should not miss its 900-year-old UTapisserle de Bayeux, 70m of embroidery that relates the tale of William the Bastard’s invasion of England and his earning of a more respectable name the Conqueror.â The tapestry is displayed in the Centre Guillaume le Conquerant, on r. de Nesmond. (Open May-Aug. daily 9am-7pm; mid-Mar. to Apr. and Sept. to mid-Oct. 9am-6:30pm; mid-Oct. to mid-Mar. 9:30am-12:30pm and 2-6pm. â‚¬7.40, students â‚¬3.) Nearby is the original home of the tapestry, the extraordinary Cathedrale Notre-Dame. (Open July-Aug. M-Sa 8am-7pm, Su 9am-7pm; Sept. June M-Sa 8:30am-noon and 2:30-7pm, Su 9am-12:15pm and 2:30-7pm. Free.) The Musee de la Bataille de Normandie, bd. Fabian Ware, recounts the D-Day landing and subsequent 76-day battle. (Open May to mid-Sept. 9:30am-6:30pm; mid-Sept. to Apr. 10am-12:30pm and 2-6pm. Closed early Jan. â‚¬5.70, students â‚¬2.60.) The British Cemetery across the street provides a strikingly simple yet moving wartime record.
Trains ( 02 31 92 80 50) leave pi. de la Gare for: Caen (20min. 15 per day, â‚¬5.20) and Paris (2VÂ£hr. 12 per day, â‚¬28). To reach the tourist office, pont St-Jean, turn left on the highway (bd. Sadi-Camot), bear right, follow the signs to the centre ville, and follow r. Larcher to r. St-Martin. ( 02 31 51 28 28; www.bayeux-tourism.com.
Open June-Aug. M-Sa 9arh-7pm, Su 9am-lpm and 2-6pm; Oct. daily 9:30am-12:30pm and 2-6pm; Nov.-Apr. reduced hours.) From the tourist office, turn right onto r. St-Martin, follow through several name changes, and turn left onto r. General de Dais for the Family HomeAuberge de Jeunesse (HI) O, 39 r. General de Dais. (02 31 92 15 22; fax 02 31 92 55 72. Dorms â‚¬16. Nonmembers â‚¬18.) Follow r. Genas Duhomme to the right and continue straight for Camping Municipal O, on bd. d’Eindhoven. (02 31 92 08 43. Open May-Sept. â‚¬3 per person, â‚¬3.60 per tent and car.) Get groceries at Champion, on bd. d’Eindhoven. Postal Code: 14400.