Matt is an author and historian of the medieval period, with a particular interest in the Wars of the Roses and Richard III. He has written biographies of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry III, Richard Duke of York, and Richard III.
Explore William the Conqueror's Normandy and the Bayeux Tapestry with Matt Lewis
Discover the Norman history of France on this fascinating tour with expert historians Matt Lewis and Julian Humphrys.
You'll learn about The most famous Norman of them all, William of Normandy, also known as William the Conqueror. There'll be a guided visit to The Château de Falaise, standing on the site of an earlier castle where the Norman king was born.
A highlight of this trip is sure to be a trip to see the spectacular Bayeux Tapestry, a true masterpiece of embroidery that tells the story of the events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.
Throughout this tour you'll be based at Le Lion d'Or Hotel in Bayeux, a beautiful 18th-century coaching inn which has been lovingly converted into a sleek hotel.
You'll have breakfast here each day, plus two group dinners in the hotel's excellent restaurant, where the chefs enhance Norman cuisine with international touches.
Image credits: Thomas Le Floc, Valentin Pacaut, Maggie McNulty, Coraline et Leo, Severine Freres
Reasons to book
Château de Pirou
Matt Lewis and Julian Humphreys
Your expert guide
- Overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen in a double cabin with en suite bathroom
- Return daytime ferry from Caen to Portsmouth
- Three nights' bed and breakfast at the Le Lion d'Or Hotel, in a twin or double room
- Welcome drink and dinner with wine at the hotel
- Evening dinner with wine at the hotel on the third day
- Two lectures from Julian Humphrys and Matt Lewis
- Coach transfers, tours and entrance fees
- Julian Humphrys and Matt Lewis will join you for the duration of the trip
Day1Depart from PortsmouthPortsmouth, United Kingdom
Today you'll join the tour group in Portsmouth and travel by overnight ferry in an en suite cabin to the Port of Ouistreham in Normandy.
Day2Arrive in NormandyFalaise, France
On arrival in France, you'll meet Julian Humphrys, your expert guide. You'll drive from Ouistreham Port to Falaise, stopping en route for breakfast (not included).
Falaise is the birthplace of William of Normandy, where you can see traces of the original castle where he was born. You'll visit the extensive Château de Falaise, built on the site of the earlier castle, and explore its history.
After the chateaux visit there'll be free time for lunch (not included). You'll depart for Bayeux in the early afternoon and check into your hotel, Le Lion d'Or Hotel. In the evening, enjoy an illuminating evening lecture from Matt Lewis and Julian Humphry over dinner and wine.
This morning you'll visit the wonderful Bayeux Tapestry, an extraordinary masterpiece of embroidery that tells the story of the Norman conquest as well as revealing details about the 11th century way of life. Its origin is uncertain, but it was probably made in England just after the invasion.
This afternoon you'll visit the 11th-century Cathedral Notre Dame and the Museum of Art and History, which showcases the history of European art, from archaeology to Modern Art.
This evening, Julian will give another lecture, 'Triumph of the Conqueror. William of Normandy and the invasion of England' before dinner with wine at the hotel.
Today You'll travel to the Manche area of Normandy for a tour of Château de Pirou, one of the oldest Norman castles in existence. The site has been occupied since the 9th century, although at that time it was a wooden construction, later updated to stone in the 12th century.
Inside you'll see the The Pirou tapestry, a 58-metre long tapestry in the style of the Bayeux tapestry which tells the story of the Norman invasion of Sicily and the conquest of southern Italy.
You'll return to Bayeux stopping to see the ruins of Château de Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, a fortified castle dominated by its huge stone keep and 14th-century towers
You have the evening free to enjoy dinner at leisure.
This morning, after checking out of the hotel, you'll drive to the Norman city of Caen, which boasts a host of ancient buildings dating back to the time of William of Normandy. You'll see the Château de Caen which houses the Musée de Normandie, the Abbaye aux Dames, the Eglise de la Trinité, built by William's wife Mathilde in 1062, and the Abbaye aux Hommes, the Eglise St Etienne.
You'll then travel to Ouistreham, Caen to check in for the return daytime ferry crossing to Portsmouth.
Le Lion d’Or Hotel, Bayeux
Le Lion d’Or Hotel is located in the heart of the lovely and historic town of Bayeux
With just 31 rooms, it is small and friendly with a bar, restaurant and cosy, well-appointed rooms with all modern facilities. Bedrooms have a private bathroom with bath/shower, TV, free wi-fi and hairdryer. The hotel's restaurant serves excellent local cuisine along with carefully-crafted international dishes.
Please note the hotel is laid out over three floors and does not have a lift. There are rooms located on the first floor which can be reached by approximately 20 steps.
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* From price is per person, based on two people sharing a room, subject to availability. Price and itinerary correct at time of print but may be subject to change. Single supplement for hotel £199. Single supplement for ferry applies, please call for details. Deposit 30%. Local charges such as tourist tax may apply. Not suitable for those with mobility issues. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, expert(s) may be substituted, and any expert-led events may be subject to change. Expert(s) will not join you for your full trip duration unless otherwise stated. Travel insurance is not included and should be taken out at time of booking. Images used may not reflect your actual tour experience. This holiday may be sold through other selected brands. Tour is operated by and subject to the booking conditions of TS Travel Ltd.