Welcome to Bayeux -- we're closed!
It's Monday in Bayeux, which means everything is closed. Almost everything was closed on Sunday, but Monday is the day this town says "screw it, we're closed!" and locks the doors. The restaurants are all closed, the shops are all closed, the bars are all closed. Well, almost everything is closed. Our hotel, Reine Mathilde, has its restaurant open and it's packed. Le P'tea Cosy, a wonderful little eatery next to the cathedral, also stays open and thank god for it. My wife and I managed to score delicious mushroom tartes along with a 50cl pichet of remarkable local cider, a few scoops of sumptuous ice cream and a pair of coffee drinks for 44 Euros.
Another place of note, also open, is the little kebab place called Bosphore, located on Rue Larcher. For about 5 Euros, you can feast on halal chicken in a number of different formats, including shawarma. This location seems to be a favorite of the locals and the line was out the door on Sunday.
A few notes on Bayeux:
You can see the main sights -- the Bayeux Tapestry and the cathedral (there's always a cathedral) -- in about two hours. Wandering through the rest of the main tourist areas will kill another few hours. Do not budget four days here like I did. You will be bored, antsy and sans places to drink on Monday.
This place is American and British tourism heaven. Also, Canadians. We were seated next to some Canadians at Le Petit Normand. Nice enough people, it seemed, until the topic of snow tires came up at their table. Then the discourse began. Apparently, in Calgary, snow tires are serious business and deserving of the kind of discussion generally reserved for Kant and Camus. The men compared tire plies, studded vs. un-studded, groove depth, air pressure; all in agonizing detail. Their wives drank wine and listened wearily. Tire wisdom was flowing freely, and the look of female suffering was growing, as was the wine consumption. Then the wine ran out. Not so the topic of snow tires, leaving me to suspect that there's a lot of Hitachi Magic Wands sold in Calgary.
Pretty much every place to eat opens at 7:00pm and is instantly packed with diners sans reservations. Woe unto those who join their ranks. You might get lucky and score a seat, or you might end up gnawing off your own arm out of hunger. Reservations are your friend here.
Bier: local beer is great, but avoid Desparados, a revolting concoction of tequila and watery beer that Bayeux appears to be a test market for. Seriously, do not order this swill unless your liver has been smarting off and you feel an urge to punish it.
(continued next post)