The Liberty Tree – Bayeux, France - Atlas Obscura

The Liberty Tree

This symbol of the French Revolution still stands where it was first planted during the 18th-century.  

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In 1792, the French Revolutionary government adopted the symbol of the Liberty Tree. Its roots were based on a similar idea that developed in the United States during the American Revolution. Liberty trees were soon planted all around Bayeux. In 1797, similar smaller trees were replaced by a lone Liberty Tree that still stands today in Place de la Liberte, next to the Bayeux Cathedral. The survival of the tree is remarkable considering that similar trees in other cities were destroyed by counter-revolutionaries. 

Today, the tree is the main attraction at the Place de la Liberte square. During the summer, a light and sound show utilizes the tree as its 360-degree screen. The show begins at nightfall and continues until midnight. During the light show, the cathedral also becomes part of the display. The theme of the show focuses on peace and freedom. 

Know Before You Go

Arrive early for the light show to find a comfortable place to watch, as there is no seating. Early arrivals tend to line up along the walls of the square. As long as you are not behind a light source and you are not standing behind someone who is much taller than you, there are no bad spots to watch. The show generally runs about 40 minutes. 

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October 20, 2019

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