A tour of Mont St Michele

Mont Saint Michel Travel Blog

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Mont St Michele!

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.

Another view of the Abbey.
  Its ramparts and fortifications resisted all the English assaults and as a result, the Mount became a symbol of national identity.

 

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.

The ubiquitous hydrangea

 

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.

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Mont St Michele!
Mont St Michele!
Another view of the Abbey.
Another view of the Abbey.
The ubiquitous hydrangea
The ubiquitous hydrangea
The Mount
The Mount
Main street of the Mount.
Main street of the Mount.
Slate-roofed cottage with stone do…
Slate-roofed cottage with stone d…
Whimsical wood shake shingle dorme…
Whimsical wood shake shingle dorm…
The Abbey
The Abbey
Rampart stairs.
Rampart stairs.
Stairs into the Abbey.
Stairs into the Abbey.
Abbey cloister.
Abbey cloister.
Cloister columns arch detail.
Cloister columns arch detail.
Wood-panneled barrel vault in Abbe…
Wood-panneled barrel vault in Abb…
Refectory, where monks dined.
Refectory, where monks dined.
Refectory fireplace where meals we…
Refectory fireplace where meals w…
Great pillared crypt.
Great pillared crypt.
Wheel used to raise building mater…
Wheel used to raise building mate…
Looking out the ssuary window, not…
Looking out the ssuary window, no…
Abbey spire model of St Michael.
Abbey spire model of St Michael.
Circular sand sailing track outsid…
Circular sand sailing track outsi…
Mont Saint Michel
photo by: wanderlass