A tour of Mont St Michele
Mont Saint Michel Travel Blog› entry 19 of 24 › view all entries
We trundled along the coastline, and then suddenly there was MSM, in all its glory. The sun was peeping through the clouds, and the sight was breathtaking.
Mont-Saint-Michel is thought to date back to 708, when the Bishop of Avranches had a sanctuary built on Mont-Tombe in honor of Saint Michael, the Archangel. The mount soon became a major focus of pilgrimage. In the 10th century, the Benedictines settled in the abbey, while a village grew up below its walls. By the 14th century, the village extended as far as the foot of the rock. Today’s abbey is built on the remains of a Romanesque church, which stands on the remains of a Carolingian church.
MSM became an impregnable stronghold during the Hundred Years War, and is an example of military architecture.
Following the dissolution of the religious community during the French Revolution and until 1863, the abbey was used as a prison.
We climbed the ramparts to the Abbey, with of course, more stairs. Took the tour of the Abbey, and the scale of the work executed to achieve this structure was incredible.
The weather remained cool, with rain on the horizon. My feet were loving it, in spite of the stairs, and there was a noticeable decrease in swelling by evening.
Scenes from the bus: Hydrangeas everywhere!! One would think it was the national flower, huge bushes with blossom heads 8” to 10” across. Steeply pitched roofs with dormer windows and slate roof tiles. Two women gossiping at a bus stop, one with a baguette in her arms, the other with a larger long loaf of French bread in her hand. An elderly gentleman riding down the road on a bicycle, a baguette sticking out of the basket on the rear wheel. Folk dancers in the town square in traditional Breton clothing, accordionist wheezing away. Sand surfers racing around a circular track on the beach, sails taut in the wind. Cottages with flowers dripping off windows, doors, every available space. We even saw a few cottages with thatched roofs.
Back in St. Malo, we had dinner in a small, homey restaurant along the beach. My desert of raspberry sorbet came complete with an 8” swizzle stick with lots of sparkly foil on the end, which I promptly stuck into my hair. When the owner came by with the check, she commented about it (in French, naturally, probably something along the lines of “My, I love your new hair ornament!”). To which I replied how fun it was to embarrass one’s child occasionally. Tom had to translate, complete with Gallic gestures, and we all had a good laugh.