10-30 Mont Saint Michel

Our last look at the Mont with afternoon skies

Mont Saint-Michel is, geographically speaking, a tidal isle. To you and me, this means that when the tide is low the mount is connected to the mainland, to Lower Normandy, by a narrow strip of land, but when the tide is high the mount is an island that propels 92 meters (300 ft.) into the sky some 200 meters (650 ft.) off the coast of France.

Here we are just starring out to visit the Mont.

This is what makes Mont Saint-Michel so special; what makes it breathtakingly beautiful. Romantic. Spooky. Stay for a night in one of the isle’s numerous small but comfortable hotels, and I expect you would hear the sea drumming the rocks, the distant coastline wrapped in a light mist, and you only have to close your eyes to imagine wolves howling at hobgoblins and demons and old warriors, maces and axes upraised– why not a vampire, too? – lurking behind the isle’s centuries-old ramparts.

David at the entrance to the Village at he drawbridge.

But beyond such Halloween fantasy, the Mount is one of France’s most visited tourist attractions – 3.5 million visitors annually. Therefore, once you have passed through Mont Saint-Michel’s wooden gateway and are on its main street –

Grande Rue, narrow, steep and winding its way to the abbey, now over a thousand years old (Benedictine monks began to construct it when they settled on the islet in 966) – you will be back in the land of the living. Grande Rue is a moveable feast of seafood restaurants, crêperies (pancake bars) and souvenir shops that sell anything from tiny pewter Archangel Michaels to mass-produced tapestries. Easy for us vagabonds to pass by without stopping on our trek to the top.

Stairs – lots and lots of stairs.

The mount’s main attraction is the abbey. To reach it from Grande Rue, we climbed something like 19 sets of stairs – or at least that’s what my step tracker said. At moments there are great views out over the bay and village, but the climb does seem to go on and on.

 

Final stairs into the Abbey.

 

 

At the upper terrance gathering point for the group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got to the abbey and bought our tickets and discovered there was an English guided tour starting immediately – so up to the Terrace as quickly as we could to catch up with the guide.

Our Guide, a lovely young woman, whose name I never quite caught, was very knowledgeable about the Abbey (well she is a licensed professional after all) and took us on a tour lasting about an hour and a half – through the

Inside the gothic sanctuary.

sanctuary,

Our guide, and us, taking in the sites. Thanks to Bob for the picture!
Cyrpts are more like more private movement spaces then burial places – more like the underground system at DisneyWorld.
Small window in a Romanesque Chapel in one of the Crypts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

crypts, gardens, formal spaces and

 

Priory Room – dinning area for the Monks and listening to scripture.
Pilgriam gathering room.
Garden wall outside of the Abbey.

working spaces including the big wheel used to haul stuff up the side of the rock.

The side of the wheel with the rope showing.
The rope
Here’s our guide at the Wheel but immediately behind her is the sled that is used to haul material up the side of the Mont.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We chose to eat a late lunch overlooking the beaches rather than hiking out on to them.

Oysters for lunch! These are local oysters.
Our dessert at lunch. Lovely taste treat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The street with all the vendors, shops and restaurants.
Rocky cliffs with ramparts at the top of the picture.
Stairs up and stairs coming back down!
View of the village from the rampart.
Janeen with the Abbey above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last look at the Mont with afternoon skies

All in all it was a fantastic day and the weather could not have been better.

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