Medieval Normandy

March 10, 2016

For just about as long as the 2 countries have existed, the history of Normandy has been inextricably linked to the history of the UK, but especially England. In modern history, British troops arrived on the beaches of the region on D-Day to begin their assault, but perhaps most famous of all is the Norman conquest of 1066, where William the Conqueror defeated Harold Godwin in battle to claim the throne of England.

Normandy’s medieval history is rich and fascinating, and the links with Britain make it a hugely popular tourist destination. 2016 is the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, and is being celebrated with special, medieval-themed events all over the region.

William the Conqueror Festival

Taking place from 7-9 August in Dives-Sur-Mer, where William’s armies first set sail from back in 1066, the William the Conqueror festival pays homage to the Norman king with re-enactments of the battle. There is also a Sherlock Holmes exhibition, which may seem out of place until you realise that Arthur Conan Doyle’s ancestor was one of William the Conqueror’s companion knights.

Bayeux Medieval Festival

Home of the now legendary tapestry, which tells the story of William’s conquest and is the genesis of the story of Harold Godwin taking an arrow in the eye, the story of Bayeux is impossible to separate from the story of 1066. From 26 June to 3 July, the city celebrates its medieval heritage. The medieval market will be out in full force, with 150 stalls from all over France, while on the Sunday there is a parade and medieval mass, as well as book sales, performers, workshops and medieval taverns!

Médiévales de Touques

For the weekend of 25-26 June, the sleepy medieval town of Touques is brought back to life with the Médiévales de Touques festival. You can find the story of William the Conqueror re-enacted and dramatised throughout the weekend, which means that it’s a great way to learn all about his history and life in a fun and interactive manner. There are also Médiévales festivals in Créve-en-Couer & Creully which include lightshows, re-enactments and other events.

Fête des Jeux

Medieval history is fascinating for young children, and offers them the chance to journey into a world of adventure, of noble knights and heroes, of mighty castles and epic battles. The concept behind the Fête des jeux is to allow the little ones the chance to play in the castle of William the Conqueror. The Falaise castle is transformed into a giant playground, sure to give children a magical and unforgettable experience, and it may even spark an interest in medieval history for them.

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