This is part of a series of posts about the city of Bayeux in Normandy, France. See the other posts here.
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux is a stunning example of Gothic architecture – I wrote a little bit about it here. It was built in honor of William the Conqueror and he, along with his wife, Matilda of Flanders, were both present when it was consecrated all the way back in 1077. Today, this is still an active church conducting regular services.
At the top of the spire, you can see flags from various nations involved in World War II displayed. Those same countries are also represented by the flags at the altar inside. There is also a crypt with a few nicely preserved murals. I believe there is only one person still interred in the crypt but I may be mistaken.
At the rear of the cathedral is a large crucifix with memorial poppy wreaths displayed at the foot of the cross. On the wall next to the crucifix are two plaques commemorating the British troops who died during both World Wars. The poppy flower is a symbol of remembrance for soldiers killed or wounded in battle since they grow best on disturbed ground, common after a battle, and are blood red.
One plaque reads:
To the glory of God
and to the memory of one million dead of the British Empire who fell in the Great War
and of whom the greater part still rest in France.
The other reads:
56th Infantry Brigade British Liberation Army
To the memory of all ranks of 56th Infantry Brigade who died in the campaign for the liberation of north western Europe
June 1944 – May 1945
Erected by their comrades
We shall remember
There is something incredibly touching about the fact that all these years later, people still lay flowers at graves and memorials.
The exterior of the cathedral is perhaps even more stunning than the inside.
It’s well worth a visit after dark to see it lit up – my photos don’t do it justice. Keep in mind that in the summer, it doesn’t get full dark until around 23:00.