On the road to Mont St. Michel

Mont Saint Michel Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 11 › view all entries
Isn't it cute??? :-)
Well, today was the start of my “real” vacation, although I must admit that the work part has been rather vacation like as well.

My train from Paris to Le Mans was at 08:05, and I had no idea what to expect at the station so I arrived there at around 07:00. There was confusion on my part as to whether the reservation tickets I had were good to get on the train as well, or if I needed to check in. It turns out that all I needed to do was wait for the train and board it, but it was good to have the extra time to figure all that out.

The high speed train to La Mans was very nice. I was in a first-class car, and the seating was extremely comfortable, although the luggage bin just barely took my suitcase.
Mont St Michel from a distance...
Le Mans is ~120 miles from Paris, and the trip took less than an hour, so you can see that it is a pretty fast train.  :-)

Once in Le Mans I took a taxi to the Hertz location to pick up my rental car. The quote I had been given for the car was about $43 per day, but that was without insurance. I had decided that for the first time ever I would actually buy the rental car insurance, because if I’m ever going to be at fault in a rental car accident, it will probably be over here. I’m guessing the actuary tables tell Hertz the same thing because the insurance costs a little more than the car does per day!

The car I received is a brand new (~250 km) Peugeot 107 and it is the smallest car I have ever driven. It has a wheelbase of 2340mm (~7 1/2 feet), but it is surprisingly roomy inside, at least in the front seats.
Mont St Michel, taken from the start of the causeway.
It drives pretty well, although the road noise is rather loud and the driver side window doesn’t roll up without you having to wiggle it back onto its track halfway up. I hate to see what is wrong with it in 100k km! :-o

I was a little nervous about driving over here, mainly due to the roundabouts, but it has gone much more smoothly that I had hoped. The roundabouts in Phoenix are actually scarier than the ones over here, mainly due to the fact that NOBODY in Phoenix has any idea what they are doing, and here it is just me.  :-)   

I arrived at Mont St. Michel around 1:30pm, and just driving up to it I could tell that it was going to be an incredible place to visit. As you drive along a windy country road, you start to catch small glimpses of this bizarre rocky island with a church perched on the top.
Looking north-east from the beach...
It looks very surreal from a distance, and is still impressive up close.

I spent many hours just wandering around the island and the abbey. The sky was very overcast so my pictures are a little flat, but you can still get a feel for the place. The amount of work that went into hauling all that stone up to and on top of the island is amazing!

I stayed the night at the La Mere Poulard, on Mont St Michel itself, and it is a very nice hotel. I ate dinner in the hotel as well, which was quite an experience. I continued my trend of trying new foods, and had a very rich meal. It started with Foie Gras which I had never had, and was wondering what all the controversy was about. I was pleasantly surprised to find it very good, it’s hard to describe the taste, but it was quite mild, with almost a buttery flavor.

That was followed up with a bacon omelet that was beyond belief.
Outside the doorway to my hotel on Mont St Michel.
The omelets at the Mere Poulard are prepared over an open fire, and I can’t even describe how light and fluffy they are. I don’t know how they manage to do it, but the one I received was at least 3 inches thick, but probably contained the same amount of eggs that you would find in a typical American omelet.

I spent several hours talking with a rather crazy Frenchman who was tending bar in the Piano lounge upstairs. It was really quiet that night so we were both happy to have the company.

Tomorrow I head up further north into Normandy and will be staying in Bayeux.
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Isnt it cute??? :-)
Isn't it cute??? :-)
Mont St Michel from a distance...
Mont St Michel from a distance...
Mont St Michel, taken from the sta…
Mont St Michel, taken from the st…
Looking north-east from the beach.…
Looking north-east from the beach…
Outside the doorway to my hotel on…
Outside the doorway to my hotel o…
Looking back down the causeway, fr…
Looking back down the causeway, f…
Stone detail
Stone detail
Figures inside the Abbey
Figures inside the Abbey
Inside the Abbey...
Inside the Abbey...
Inside the Abbey...
Inside the Abbey...
Inside the Abbey...
Inside the Abbey...
Looking north from the beach...
Looking north from the beach...
Mont St. Michel at night, the refl…
Mont St. Michel at night, the ref…
On the road to Mont St. Michel
On the road to Mont St. Michel
The engine is tiny, but surprising…
The engine is tiny, but surprisin…
Mont Saint Michel
photo by: wanderlass