On the way back from the Normandy beaches in Northern France we made a special trip to Le Mont St. Michel. The pilgrimage to the shrine was worth the time, effort, and drive.
Despite our attempt to avoid pricey tours, we couldn’t resist. The 17.50 Euro per person price was worth the spectacle of this Normandy attraction that rises from the hazy expanse of sand and waves.
It is a bonus that our arrival fell during the night time tour, which included music. Musicians with instruments were individually placed throughout the 2000 year old Monastery. It was neat to bend around a corner to hear a deep hum of a Cello being played. Or to hear the chanting of the choir dressed in white hooded robes. The music was an added bonus for a family traveling with a toddler because it drowned out Beatrice’s deliberate ignorance of the OBSERVE SILENCE signs. More, it drew attention away from her occasional curiosity of the echo of her voice. She seemed to be amazed of the sound of her voice ringing through the halls.
This Mont has been used as far back as the 6th and 7thcenturies. With amazing tides spanning 14 meters between tides, quick sand, salt marshes, and the invasion of the highest tides in Europe reaching the Mont can be a feat. The waters are among the most dangerous in the world. Luckily, we reached the destination during low tide. Upon reaching the Mont you travel by foot up the Grand Rue which is a shop, hotel, and restaurant lined street toward the Abbey. The Grand Rue seemed like a trap to welcome the wallets of >3 million tourist a year as we felt we weren’t far off from a theme park.
I had hoped to taste the famous frothy omelette of this area. It is a souffle of nontraditional ingredients they make right in the windows before cooking in a wood fire oven.
And, I wanted to taste, agneau de Pré Salé which is the delicate lamb that wonder the salty marsh. Considering the omelette’s cost, which equals 45 dollars according to Brian’s calculations, the experience wasn’t worth the bet on Beatrice’s dining behavior.
Despite the fine smells, the grand reputation, and the site of happy diners we skipped the food of the Mont to delve into the morsels of our cooler and pilfer the loot of our supermarket binge. Only great strength, and the cry of a toddler could have made such a decision. I guess, I can use this Norman omelette recipe at home. Somehow, it loses it’s appeal without the ambiance.
Brian told me on the way home, “We are coming back to France…just you and I…we are going to eat and drink and enjoy life as the french do…with no worry of children…we will bike and camp and stay in hotels.” I am hoping his comments are a promise.
We will take you along our tour:
Take a break with us upon completing the great stairs. We are at the top!
Look down with me. Oh, it is a long way down. It is a twinge scary.
I can barely see the people at the bottom. Can you?
From the top, it all looks surprising. The strength of nature, the prodigies of medieval architecture, the light…
Stop. Two french lovers asked us to take their photos from this point. We requested a return of the favor. One…two…Three…Say Cheese! Note, this is our only photo with all three of us.
I hear the beautiful sounds of the monks. Lets enter the Abbey. We feel so small.
Slow down, now. Beatrice wants to play inside the Benedictine Abbey under the columns of the cloister. The Cloisters has elegant marble columns, an example of early 13th-century Anglo-Norman style. The buildings of Mont St. Michel are constructed of granite, but there is limestone in the cloister.
A small group of Benedictine Monks still inhabit the monastery. It is so damp and windy. It must be a very cold place to live during the winter when the wind blows off the English Channel. Brrr…
Look at the pulley we have found! This is the Goods Lift Wheel inside the Benedictine Abbey. After the Revolution when the Abbey was turned into a prison, the cargo elevator was operated by prisoners trudging inside like a Hamster wheel. As the wheel turns a ladder is lifted from the ground up carrying goods. Surely, one of Satan’s demented fantasies.
Can you hear the Cello?
The mirror of the Knights Hall makes for a perfect self portroit. One of our two, now.
Walk with us now as we leave the Merveille Building and Gardens to descend this granite marvel.
Sand is sand. Sea is sea. “A man-made marvel shines no brighter than the natural beauty of the landscape,” Beatrice reminds us as she INSISTS on playing in the shore. Take your shoes off as we did. Feel the thick-clay-like sludgy sand.
Au Revoir, Le Mont St. Michel. We enjoyed your rocky mountain, salty meadows, medieval town, and benedictine Abbey. Salut!
Thanks for visiting. Thanks for coming along.