Five miles from the coast at Arromanches, in the gently shelving valley of the River Aure, lies the historic Norman town of Bayeux. I had arrived there the previous night. Exhausted from the stress of driving in a foreign country in a car on the wrong side of the road. I slept fitfully, aware of the magnitude of the history I was about to encounter.
I looked out of the window as the sun rose and I had to pinch myself to make sure this wasn't a dream
War has touched Bayeux, but not scarred it. A ring road circumscribes the old centre, like a protective wall, and within its confines lies a network of shadowy streets and old stone buildings; and here and there the late-medieval frontage of a half-timbered house protrudes into the sunlight, as if it had emerged unwittingly out of the past into the present.
But it is not the cathedral, remarkable as it is, that every year draws half a million visitors to Bayeux. They come to see one of the most famous, intricate and mysterious works of art that has ever been made.
Signs directing you to this masterpiece are dotted around the centre of the town. They are marked with a single descriptive word, in French and in English: 'Tapisserie.Tapestry'.
Here, in Bayeux, anything else would be redundant. The route marked 'Tapestry' takes you along these narrow streets, under the eves of ancient houses and beneath the angular shadows of the cathedral.
It passes by shops selling every item that can possibly be embossed with images of the Bayeux Tapestry, from mugs to mouse pads, tea towels to T-shirts.
You may pause to recall the conquering exploits of Duke William of Normandy under the pale green awning of the Restaurant Le Guillaume or remember his wife, Queen Matilda, at the Hotel de la Reine Mathilde.
Not far away a crepe may be consumed at the somewhat more alarmingly branded Creperie Les Pates 'Ouaintes.
The journey takes you past these establishments and along the Rue de Nesmond until you reach a sizeable seventeenth-century building that was turned into a museum in the early 1980s.
During the course of its long and dangerous history, the Bayeux Tapestry has been kept, and sometimes concealed, in several places in and around the town of Bayeux. This building is its modern home.
Your eyes narrow at the museum's gate. Rain puddles scattered around the courtyard reflect the sun's fresh glare like so many broken panes of glass. A party of English schoolchildren has gathered in front of the door, a posse of noisy chatter, scuffed heels and clipboard assignments gripped with an innocent disregard.
Two hundred yards away, Bayeux Cathedral is a silent witness to your journey, a stone silhouette imposed on a bright and changing weather changing day.
I found the Museum Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde I was nervous about going in and it reminded me of the time I first saw the original 1776 quilt in Germany. 8 Euros paid and I was in. There is a long introduction to the history of the Tapestry and I walked through the exhibition and read but I have been studying this for over a year now and will could write a book of my own. So I continued on to the movie which told the story in detail of William the Conqueror and his friend and enemy Harold and the Battle of Hastings in October 1066.
Created and photographed by Pam Holland