How to spend a day in Bayeux, France?
If you’re planning a trip to the region of Normandy in France, Bayeux is the perfect town to make your home base. It is centrally located which makes it easy to travel to all the WWII destinations and Mont St. Michel.
Keep reading for things to do while in Bayeux, where to stay, and the best café. Plus, I’ve got some helpful tips for your visits to the World War II sites and the beautiful island of Mont St. Michel.
How to Spend a Day in Bayeux France
My husband and I just took a trip to France to check Normandy with its WWII history off his bucket list. It was a magical trip, and I highly recommend you visit one day.
While in Normandy, we stayed in the small, quaint town of Bayeux. It is a place filled with beautiful buildings with timber frames, Gothic architecture and the friendliest people in all of France.
Here is a list of the things we enjoyed in Bayeux, and I hope this inspires your own trip. I’ve also included some great tips for visiting the WWII sites in the area. Be sure to check them out below.
Things to do in Bayeux France
Enjoy local delicacies such as pastries
Start your day with a breakfast pastry from a patisserie or boulangerie. I recommend trying a regional favorite called Brioche Feuilletee. It is a crusty bread, made with copious amounts of butter with layers on the inside similar to croissants. I fell in love with this after eating it at breakfast.
Find Brioche Feuilletee and other amazing breads and pastries (like the Le Pepito) at Boulangerie Capucine in the old part of Bayeux.
Stroll through Bayeux Old Town
The historic part of Bayeux is called Old Town, and it is a great place to wander around. You’ll find timber-framed houses, a working mill that used to service the hospital, and plenty of Gothic and Medieval buildings. There is also a quaint canal you can walk along that peeks through the town from time to time.
Take in Gothic Architecture
Be sure to step into the La Cathédrale de Bayeux also known as Cathédrale Notre-Dame. You’ll love seeing the Gothic style of this huge cathedral which has been around since 1077. This Roman Catholic Church still holds mass today if that interests you.
Devour a Galette
Eat the best Breton Galettes at Le Moulin de la Galette.
Galettes are a thin, savory pancake (like a crepe) made of buckwheat flour. Inside, the fillings are endless. This meal might have been my number one in all of France. My husband tried a burger that used mini galettes as the bun. Be sure to try out this place with a great view of the working mill in Bayeux.
Sip a Café
Every where you go in France, you’ll find people drinking cafés (expresso). If tiny, strong coffee isn’t your cup or tea, try a cappuccino instead. The best cappuccino in Bayeux is found at Le Cafe Cuillere.
Do yourself a favor, and don’t rush. Don’t play on your phone. Just sit and relax, enjoy your company or do some people watching.
Shopping is a must for this small town. The boutique stores have amazing clothing and shoe shopping. My favorite is a secondhand clothing store called Boutique Rouge Cerise where I scored the most amazing pieces.
Find a Tarte Normande
Find an apple dessert (tarte Normande) in one of the many patisseries or boulangeries. Apples are to the Normandy region what grapes are to Burgundy. If you’re near the town center, try Maison Lemoisson. The apple options are endless.
Drink Some Apple Cider
Visit a ciderie, a traditional cider house, to taste a fermented alcoholic beverage enjoyed all throughout Normandy. Cidrerie Viard is just outside Bayeux, and has great cider. While you’re there, be sure to also sample Calvados, an apple brandy made in Normandy.
If you can’t find a ciderie to visit, go to pretty much any local restaurant or bar and order a cider. They also come in a carafe which is a better deal.
Use Bayeux as a starting point for your WWII tours
Our entire visit to Bayeux was centered around visiting WWII historical sites, and it didn’t disappoint. Bayeux is located in the perfect place to start off your WWII tours. Most tour companies will pick you up right at your hotel. Here are a few historic locations to check out in Normandy.
American paratroopers landed at St. Mere Eglise where one named John Steele famously got stuck on the tip of the steeple. Can you see his replica in the picture?
Utah beach is the western-most beach involved in the WWII landings. It is definitely worth a visit along with the great monuments in honor of those men who served for us.
For me, Omaha Beach really made the most impact. Walking on the beach and seeing how far our soldiers had to run from the water’s edge with no cover is mind-boggling. You have to experience it for yourself.
Omaha Beach also has some great monuments right on the beach to check out.
Pointe du Hoc
Enjoy the spectacular views while also imagining how impossibly difficult it had to be for the Rangers to climb up the steep cliffs to overtake German artillery.
As you’re making your way to the cliffs, keep an eye out for the countless indentations for the bombs that hit during the Battle of Normandy.
Try to plan your visit to the American Cemetery so that you’ll be there at 4 pm. This is when a ceremony takes place where two American flags are taken from the poles and folded. The ceremony is accompanied by the playing of TAPs which will most likely give you goosebumps.
If you are interested in visiting a specific cross at the cemetery, be sure to call the office and arrange it ahead of time. The American Cemetery blocks off differing sections of the cemetery to keep the grasses in good shape. This could put a damper on your trip if not arranged ahead.
The trees at the American Cemetery are trimmed to mimic the shapes of a soldier’s helmet. Very cool!
Take a day trip to Mont St. Michel
A trip to the region of Normandy wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the island of Mont St. Michel. The view of Mont St. Michel is amazing. You’ll see it from miles and miles away as it sticks out of nowhere.
I recommend making the half mile walk on the bridge either to or from Mont St. Michel from the parking lot. The island is not huge, so you won’t be spending hours upon hours. Take the time to enjoy the view of the Abbey, the quick sands around the island, the special Normandy sheep, and more.
The street going up to the Abbey has cute little shops that you’ll want to meander through, most likely on your way out so you don’t have to carry around your souvenirs.
If you’re planning to stay for lunch or dinner, don’t miss out on the La Mere Poulard’s famous omelet. But, go ahead and miss out on its hefty price tag. By merely dining just a couple doors down at Restaurant La Confiance, you’ll get the same omelet with the same recipe at a much more affordable price.
What’s the best place to stay in Bayeux France?
The absolute hands-down best customer service I’ve ever had in my life was in Bayeux at Hotel Villa Lara. From the second you enter this beautiful boutique hotel, you become more like family than guests.
Don’t skip out on the hotel breakfast with its vast array of options and the most-friendly attendants found in France. They will whip you up whatever type of eggs you want, and be sure to have a café or two to start your day.
This hotel is steps away from Le Cathedrale de Bayeux. I could sit in my bed and see the cathedral which is breathtaking day or lit up at night.
You will also be right in the historic town center with its amazing shopping and Medieval architecture. Enjoy walking the streets of old town just steps from your room.
At night, the bar at Hotel Villa Lara is a great place to unwind with a beverage or even a Calvados tasting. Even if you’re taking a drink to your room, or possibly just borrowing some champagne glasses for your own private soiree, they take care of you to the T. Check out this beautiful tray of snacks they sent up for us to enjoy.
Where can I find the best café in Bayeux?
Hands down, the best cappuccino is found at Le Cafe Cuillere on Rue Saint Jean. It’s creamy and divine. I’d actually say this was the best cappuccino I had my entire stay in France.
The velvety texture of the milk in addition to the smooth expresso was worth a couple visits. They also have a huge variety of other drinks, although the owner claims the cappuccino is his specialty. I’d have to agree!
Where to eat when visiting landing beaches at Normandy?
If you’re anywhere near the port of Grandcamp-Maisy in France (for WWII history or for any other reason), you must stop at Restaurant de la Marée for the most amazing seafood you may ever eat.
Located right on the water, the views are fantastic. Watch the boats, fisherman or the locals right on the water.
I highly recommend going with the Menu La Maree which gets you a starter, main course and a dessert. Plus, if they offer you a homemade Madeleine after your meal, do not turn it down even if you are stuffed.
My three courses started with beautiful, fresh raw oysters, followed by a perfectly cooked piece of fish and ended with a decadent chocolate mousse.
Our trip to Normandy and stay in Bayeux, France was truly amazing, and I hope the tips above are helpful to you if you visit.