Normandy was the birthplace and home of William, Duke of Normandy, and after 1066, King of England. 950 years after he conquered England, he’s still a big presence in Normandy. We take you where you can walk in his footsteps and discover William the Conqueror in Normandy – his castles, towns and legacy…
The Bayeux Cathedral in the historic old town dates back to Norman times and was consecrated in 1077 by Bishop Odo of Conteville in the presence of his half-brother, William Duke of Normandy and King of England. It is believed that this same Odo commissioned the world-famous, UNESCO-listed Bayeux Tapestry. This masterpiece is now displayed at the Bayeux Museum, where visitors can take an audio tour while following the epic 70-metre tapestry that depicts all stages of the Norman Conquest. It is an awe inspiring work of art that takes your breath away.
Historically, it was largely due to William the Conqueror that Caen grew into a great city. William and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, each ordered a grand abbey, the Men’s Abbey for William, the Women’s Abbey for Matilda. Both buildings are hugely impressive places and are open to the public and free of charge. Between them, Caen Castle was one of the most important strongholds in the duchy of Normandy, and now houses the Normandy Museum and the Fine Arts Museum.
The imposing medieval stronghold of William the Conqueror’s Castle still dominates the town of Falaise; a reminder that this was the birthplace of the fearsome William Duke of Normandy. Little is known about William’s childhood, although it is assumed that many of his early years were spent in Falaise. The castle has been restored in recent years and its tablet tour uses the latest augmented reality technology to create an immersive experience which brings the castle’s past to life.