Thursday, July 17, 2014

Le Tour de France: Mont Saint-Michel

Thursday, June 19
From Bayeux, it was a pretty drive through the countryside, dotted with French cows; when we exited the autoroute I saw le Mont in the distance, so exciting! I made Dan stop to take photos of le Mont with sheep.

Sheepies

Then we arrived at la Jacotière, our B&B was literally right before the gate to the village. I'm so glad I found it, as most hotels in the village are far more spendy. After checking in, we walked about five minutes to the shuttle stop. We took the shuttle to the island, and I first asked about evening hours at the tourism office. Apparently the evening hours do not start until July, phooey. The island was very crowded, and we continued on and walked up the many steps to buy tickets to the abbey, where the lady said the audioguide was finished. Another lady said the audiogudes would be available the next day from 9 to 6. I pointed out that it was only 5:30, but she was unmoved. It was rather frustrating, but she would not relent. So we made do without the audioguide and just followed our guidebook. Thankfully it was not very crowded inside the abbey, just a handful of people. Also, there was a private event that evening so some areas of the abbey were closed off. Dan asked the caterer who it was for, and was told it was a secret. Dan thought it was for an politician, but I thought for a celebrity. Later we saw a Chinese man playing erhu and some French singers rehearsing; I enjoyed hearing the music echoing through the abbey. There were also bagpipe players, Dan loooves bagpipes; he used to play in the army. [Aside: Why does the US Army have a bagpipe band?] He asked a bagpipe player about the event, and was told the designer Hermès was launching a new perfume. So that is what it was!

Cloisters

Inside Mont Saint-Michel

Dan in a giant fireplace

After touring the abbey, we walked around some of the less crowded pathways of the island and looked at the mudflats and the construction. A new bridge to the island is being constructed and the causeway will be no more, since it has silted up such that it is no longer really an island.

A turret

At le Mont

Mud flats

Mud flats

After touring the abbey, we took the shuttle back and had dinner near the B&B. The area is known for lamb, so Dan ordered the lamb tasting plate. I didn't think the lamb was all that great, but he enjoyed it. I had the salmon, which perfectly cooked. Then we walked back toward the island to see the abbey lit up at night. We saw a bunny rabbit hopping through the fields. A French rabbit! We also saw people cycling on the path, that would be fun to do. And several tour buses unloaded as the sky darkened. The lights were obscured by scaffolding on the abbey, but it was still pretty.

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel

Friday, June 20
The next morning there were more desserts for breakfast...crepes, French toast, croissants, and yogurt that tasted like cream, which Dan thought was homemade. We checked out of the B&B and saw poppies on the walk to the shuttle stop, so pretty.

Poppies

We heard a helicopter overhead when we got off the shuttle at the island, and saw it approaching the abbey. It was picking up equipment from the previous evening's event! It flew off, then later we saw it return and carry off more cargo, many times throughout the morning. Crazy! 

Helicoptor

I wanted to walk around the island and see the view from the other side. There was a group of school children starting a walk, and we followed them. (The mud flats can be like quicksand, so Dan wanted to follow a group to be safe.) The view was nice, and it was fun walking through the mud. (One of the French kids didn't think so, she was crying as she held hands with adults on both sides.)

View from the back

Dan in the mud flats

Carol in the mud flats

After the walk, we rinsed off our feet and put our shoes back on, and explored some of the stairways around the abbey. Then we took the shuttle to a new-looking bridge in the village, and Dan checked out the dam. We saw more cyclists, seems like a fun area to go biking. The view of the island from the bridge was nice, and we saw what looked like Breton characters on it. I wonder if the silting up of the causeway has reduced the tides, because I didn't see any big tides, kind of disappointing. Dan said we'll have to go back in a few years, after the causeway is gone, to find out.

Dan in the cemetery

Le Mont

Then we walked past the poppy fields back to the B&B to pick up the car, and we were off to Brittany!

Poppies

1 comment:

Robert C said...

Enjoyed your France trip immensely from beginning to end. Your enthusiasm shows through. Thanks for taking the time to share both your words and great photos with others! ;^)