Discover Normandy’s vivid past and often intense history on a full-day trip from Caen. First explore Bayeux, a historic city with a towering cathedral and an illustrious piece of can't-miss art: the Bayeux Tapestry. Stroll the city on a guided sightseeing tour before heading back to Caen for a look into the life and times of William the Conqueror. See the archaeological ruins of his palace and visit the abbeys of St-Etienne, home to William's remains, and Ste-Trinité. This private tour is customizable to fit your interests.
Visit the Abbaye aux Dames in Caen where Queen Mathilda is buried
Start your full-day tour with a pickup from your Caen hotel by minivan, and then relax on the 30-minute journey to Bayeux with your private guide.
Learn about the significant history of this ancient town, founded by the Romans and once one of the major towns of the Dukedom of Normandy. Visit Bayeux Cathedral, built in the 11th century at the request of Odo, the highly unpopular Earl of Kent who was also the Bishop of Bayeux and William the Conqueror’s half-brother. Then, visit Bayeux Tapestry Museum to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry, an impressive piece of art that depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England.
Follow your guide through Bayeux’s medieval streets that are flanked with beautiful, old half-timbered houses. Depending on your interests, your guide will give you the option of seeing lace makers at work in the Conservatoire de la Dentelle or a visit to the Baron Gérard Fine Arts Museum. Before leaving Bayeux, pay tribute to fallen soldiers at Bayeux War Cemetery, the largest World War II cemetery of Commonwealth soldiers in France.
Take a break for lunch (own expense) and head back to Caen for a city tour. As the city of William the Conqueror, the most famous of the dukes of Normandy, Caen has a long and complicated, yet significant, history. See the buildings built during William’s reign, and imagine the destruction caused by the Battle of Normandy that took place here during World War II. Head to the Abbey of St-Etienne (also known as Men's Abbey or Abbaye aux Hommes) to hear the story behind the controversial marriage of William and Mathilda of Flanders. This former monastery is considered one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy.
Continue to Château de Caen (Caen Castle), situated on a rocky outcrop. Visit the archaeological remains of William's palace, known as the Vieux Palais (Old Palace), and head to the lookout point to enjoy views of the city, dominated by the flamboyant Gothic spire of Church of St-Pierre.
Your last stop is the Abbey of Ste-Trinité (Women’s Abbey, or Abbaye aux Dames). The counterpart of the Men’s Abbey, this is where Queen Mathilda is buried. Your tour then finishes in the evening with a drop-off at your hotel.