There are many people who use Bayeux as a base when they'd like to spend more than a day exploring the WWII battlefields and memorials of the Normandy region. So, while they will book a room and probably grab a bite to eat in town before heading to bed, they usually don't spend time visiting.
But the truth is that Bayeux is a worthwhile destination in and of itself – and even makes a great day trip from Paris. The historic city center is a beautifully maintained, pedestrian-friendly area of half-timbered homes, fun shops and delicious, affordable restaurants.
Of course, the undisputed star of this otherwise sleepy Norman town is the famous Bayeux tapestry. Housed in a light-sensitive room and hung in a way that shows off its entire 230-foot length, it dates back to the 11th century and depicts the story of the events leading up to the Battle of hastings. It includes scenes as well as text, and uses a rainbow of colors in its design.
And what a design it is. Although it's behind temperature controlled glass and the lighting is low, you can get right up to it and see the intricate handiwork of the embroidery – obviously all done by hand. It's astonishing to see how even in the limited space they had, they were able to show facial expressions and even inconsequential details, such as foods on a table or tiles on a roof.
Medieval Bayeux is very much worth time away from paris, and viewing its famous tapestry is an afternoon well spent.