Bayeux makes a fine starting point for excursions to nearby World War II sites. Despite being close to scenes of such destruction, Bayeux itself was never bombed by either side (without factories or military bases, it served no strategic purpose); hence, its Norman Gothic cathedral and beautiful Old Town emerged intact. The highlight here for most visitors is the world's most celebrated piece of needlework: the Bayeux Tapestry, which vividly conjures up life circa 1066. For a different take on the past, plan to come for the boisterous Fêtes Médiévales, a market-cum-carnival held in the streets around the cathedral on the first weekend of July. A more conventional market is held every Saturday morning in the Place Saint-Patrice.

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