The Secret Quests : Bayeux

Triumph in Bayeux

Visit the Bayeux tourist office to start your quest and follow in the footsteps of William the Conqueror.

Stage 1 | The ancient and medieval enclosure

Our quest begins here! In the heart of this ancient and medieval enclosure... Founded in the Gallo-Roman period, the town adopted a fortified enclosure in the 3rd century, to protect it from barbarian attacks. May our fellow knights take full advantage of this ancestral site, it was designed for you!
The mystery

What is the total surface area of the medieval enclosure?
Absolutely dear knight! You can now continue your route towards Place de Gaulle.
By Jove no! The correct answer is the smallest one.
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A short history lesson

The passageways through the city walls are a recent addition, brought in order to facilitate access to the main street. The tower on the north-west angle - which you can see to your right - is the only remaining original vestige.

Stage 2 | Place de Gaulle

This is the square where once stood Bayeux Castle. Built in 960 by Richard I, the third Duke of Normandy, the castle was dismantled on orders from King Louis XVI as from 1773. At the same period, vestiges of Gallo-Roman monuments were uncovered in the castle foundations; the fountain was built much later, in 1888.
The mystery

To which specific craft does the town of Bayeux owe its fame, the former manufacturing house of which was located in the Benedictine convent close to the square?
Well done, you are worthy of your rank! Now gallop your way to the canons' houses, in Rue de la Maîtrise.
Goodness no! Here's a clue - it is also the speciality of the town of Limoges!
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A short history lesson

Decorated with apples, daisies or cornflowers, part of Bayeux's porcelain production often represents floral motifs. Throughout the town, you can also admire porcelain street names and numbers.

Stage 3 | Medieval streets, canons' houses, the square in front of Bayeux cathedral

The streets and their houses can tell you a great deal about the town's history. If you take the time to carefully observe what's going on around you, your curiosity is sure to be satisfied.
The mystery

As you walk along Rue de la Maîtrise, which still follows its original medieval route, what architectural detail, typical of that period, can you see on the rooftops?
Well done. Don't waste a second - let's tackle the cathedral now!
Raise your eyes my fellow knights! Think of Christmas and you're sure to find the answer.
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A short history lesson

Rue de la Maîtrise formerly housed a holy choir school where canons used to sing. The same canons had took up residence there. In the Middle Ages, the cathedral chapter house was home to 48 canons, only 4 less than the chapter house of the archbishopric of Normandy.

Stage 4 | The Cathedral

Here we are at last! First and foremost, you should note that the oldest parts of the Romanesque cathedral date back to my half-brother's episcopate. The Gothic building we can see today embraces the original Romanesque cathedral on its western facade; it is considered to be a masterpiece of medieval Norman architecture.
The mystery

I am William the Conqueror's half-brother and Bishop of Bayeux. I was entrusted with completing the cathedral's construction. My name is
My oh my, you are a fount of knowledge. You have earned the right to continue towards the Episcopal palace.
Sorry, wrong answer. Here's a clue: his name does not begin with an « R ».
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A short history lesson

Over and above the cathedral's striking architecture, in particular the crypt - a genuine masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, the fact that many of its features bear witness to William's Epic Adventure is also worthy of note. In the nave, you can admire a corner piece detailing Harold's oath, a scene which can also be found on the Bayeux Tapestry.

Stage 5 | The Episcopal Palace

This striking palace, dating back to the Middle Ages, was developed on the cathedral's north flank around a courtyard, a former cloister and an ornamental garden. The most majestic part of the edifice now houses the town hall.
The mystery

Which tree, now measuring over 30m (100 feet) and planted in the former courtyard of the Episcopal palace on the 30th of March 1797, is the symbol of freedom?
Zounds! That's perfect! Now ride as fast as you can to the banks of the River Aure, where you'll find your next riddle.
Good gracious, what did you say? The tree in question is neither sad nor the king of the forest.
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A short history lesson

In 1793, the buildings were seized and declared national property, in order to be used for administrative purposes. The oldest remaining structure dates from the 14th century building, extensions having been made during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Stage 6 | The River Aure

Two thousand years ago, Bayeux stretched out across the western bank of the River Aure, which runs through the town from south to north. Since, it has largely dominated the town's development. Serving equally as a source of food and energy, the River Aure played an essential role for Bayeux.
The mystery

These striking buildings, run on hydraulic power, still stand along the banks of the River Aure. What are they?
You are decidedly unbeatable! Let's meet up at the Bayeux Tapestry Museum, where you can admire the fresco that tells the tale of my battle.
Good try... A clue: they transform wheat grains into flour.
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A short history lesson

The River Aure becomes an underground river around six miles to the north of Bayeux in a locality referred to as 'la fosse soucy'. The Aure resurfaces and flows into the sea under the cliffs that run along the coastline from Port-en-Bessin to Ste-Honorine-des-Pertes.

Stage 7 | The Bayeux Tapestry Museum

Here we are at the end of our adventure!
The Bayeux Tapestry, listed on Unesco's Memory of the World register, is a 70 metre-long (230 feet) embroidery on a linen canvas. Produced in the 11th century, it was very probably embroidered by monks in the south of England after the Battle of Hastings on the 14th of October 1066. It celebrates my conquest over England and my confrontation with Sir Harold before I became King of the great island.

The trail

Places to eat nearby

Places to sleep nearby

  • Château de Bellefontaine 49 rue Bellefontaine
    14400 BAYEUX
    Tel : 02 31 22 00 10 Visit the website
  • Hôtel Le Lion d'Or 71 rue Saint Jean
    14400 BAYEUX
    Tel : 02 31 92 06 90 Visit the website
  • Hôtel de Brunville 9 rue Genas Duhomme
    14400 BAYEUX
    Tel : 02 31 21 18 00 Visit the website
  • Grand Hôtel du Luxembourg 25 rue des Bouchers
    14400 BAYEUX
    Tel : 02 31 92 00 04 Visit the website
  • Hôtel de La Gare 26 place de la Gare
    14400 BAYEUX
    Tel : 02 31 92 10 70 Visit the website
  • Hôtel d'Argouges 21 rue Saint Patrice
    14400 BAYEUX
    Tel : 02 31 92 88 86 Visit the website

See also...

  • Cathédrale de Bayeux 14400 BAYEUX Tel : 02 31 51 28 28 Visit the website
  • Jardin botanique de Bayeux 55 route de Port en Bessin
    14400 BAYEUX
    Tel : 02 31 10 10 14 Visit the website
  • Musée d'Art et d'Histoire Baron Gérard (MAHB) 37 rue du Bienvenu
    14400 BAYEUX
    Tel : 02 31 51 25 50 Visit the website
  • Bayeux Broderie 24 rue Nesmond
    14400 BAYEUX
    Visit the website
  • Ryes, La sente au Batard 14400 RYES