Why did the Vikings settle in Normandy?
The sunlight streaming through the stained church window lights up the robes of the two men. Under the eyes of their troops, the French King Charles le Simple and Viking leader Rollo sign the treaty that marks the founding of Normandy.
The stained glass in the small church of Saint Clair in the French town of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte shows how it could have happened in 911. Normandy is the only French region that can determine its birthday exactly - and they celebrate it until the end of September with the "Happy Birthday Normandy" series of events. On the program: concerts, medieval markets, exhibitions, sound and light shows.
The history of Normandy begins in the Middle Ages. The wealth of the region had attracted Vikings from northern Europe. At first they drove home with their booty, but eventually they settled on the doorstep of the rulers of the time and started their looting from here.
With the Treaty of Saint Clair, King Charles finally officially transferred to them what they de facto already owned. In return, Viking leader Rollo promised allegiance to the king and had himself and his men baptized. Some of the legends about Rollo are captured on a 21 meter long carpet, designed by a group of interdisciplinary experts based on the famous Bayeux tapestry. The traveling exhibition can be seen in Saint-Clair-sur-Epte from September 9th to 11th.
Far better known, on the other hand, is the work of art in Bayeux, which has been attracting visitors to the small town in Bessin for almost a millennium. The 70 meter long tapestry shows the conquest of England by William the Conqueror, who, as a direct descendant, followed Rollos in his footsteps. As "Comics of the Middle Ages", an exhibition in the Musée de la Tapisserie this summer is juxtaposing this historical example of an equally old, 20-meter-long paper roll painting from Japan.
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