For the last couple of days of our holiday we stayed in the town of Bayeux. We’ve only dashed through here in the past to drag the kids around the tapestry, so we decided that this year the town deserved a proper look around.
Here in the cathedral, we saw more of the apotropaic symbols commonly seen in an English medieval church than we had seen elsewhere during the break. Hexafoils and pentangles on the pillars and walls:
The forms that had been carved long ago in the cathedral were also seen on the desks of the courtroom housed in the MAHB museum next door.
Originally the Bishops Palace, housing the Bishops courtroom, the building was seized as National Property during the revolution and the room used as the court of justice of Bayeux between 1793 and 1987. I couldn’t identify if the woodwork belonged to the revolutionary court, or if it had been shipped in from somewhere else, but people with time on their hands, beliefs and fears all seem to play with drawing the same shapes.
Elsewhere in the MAHB museum were all sorts of interesting things to see, and lots of instances of my favourite sort of structured chaos/chaotic structure. There were large displays on the local lacemaking tradition and about a local porcelain factory that made ceramics for medicinal uses.
The first night that we stayed was Saturday 16th July, and late in the evening we went to a son et lumière performance at the ‘Liberty Tree’ sited between the cathedral and Bishops Palace. Because the gîte that we had been staying in had no wi-fi and a barely intermittent phone signal, we had only just become aware of the carnage in Nice on the 14th, so it was a very moving experience to have all the people around you singing the ‘Marseillaise’ in defiance.
The illuminations projected onto the tree were the sort that only the French can come up with; psychedelia accompanying Bob Dylan…
Our last day in France and final jog around the cathedral found a couple of the best examples of graffiti for the whole break. Firstly, high on one of the exterior walls near the cathedral, some Scrabble tiles that said it all:
And lastly, a ship in plain sight (in the right light!) beside the main doors: