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Armchair Uzès

The Gallery

 mars  2003

Mont Saint-Michel
Sea, Sand, Sky and Wind

Mont Saint-Michel, often called
the eighth wonder of the world.
A site of spirituality, history
and environmental marvels...
off the coast between Brittany and Normandy.


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Tombelaine Island, in the distance across the Baie Saint- Michel, traded back and forth between England and France for centuries.

 

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The afternoon sun creates shadows on the sand...when tides are high, the seawater comes to cover the parking lot and reaches up to the walls.

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The cathedral's gold-plated sculpture of Saint Michael the Archangel.

 

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Narrow streets, winding upward to the abbey, are usually jammed with visitors.

 

 

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Light, shadow, water, sand, island. Pilgrims from all over the world have come to Mont Saint-Michel for centuries...and continue today.

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Chapel of Saint Aubert, who founded the abbey in the 8th century.
The Benedictines took over the abbey at the turn of the first millennium.

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Water flows in and out,
tides here are both
the highest and lowest in Europe...

 

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Highest with the full moons
 of spring and fall...
no tide at all with the waning moon,
 when the tidewaters don't reach this far.

 

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A penthouse cloister where monks pray,
meditate, walk, tend the garden...
overlooking the Baie Saint-Michel.
There are still a few monks and nuns living here today...
and half a dozen regular island inhabitants as well.

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The abbey's Scriptorium, where monks worked in silence on illustrated manuscripts. 

 

These magnificent works of art are housed in nearby Avranches' town library.

 

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Mère Poulard:  restaurant, hotel,
 inn, boutique, bar, cafe...
tourist trap, but legendary...


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The famous kitchen from which come Mère Poulard's top secret omelettes - fluffy and delicious, but they won't give away their secret, not even how many eggs are in each one. come...

 

 

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Patrick and Muriel
at La Croix Blanche can fill
you in on local history
and happenings.

 

 

 

Getting there on your own? 
     From Paris you can drive to Mont Saint-Michel (about three hours) and park. If you drive, you'll be able to add on a tour of the Brittany and Normandy coasts as well.
     Another option is to take the train through either Rennes or Caen to Pontorson-Mont Saint-Michel, then take either a 15 minute bus or taxi ride to the island. If you go through Caen, you might consider a stop at Bayeux to view the famous tapestry of William the Conqueror; at Lisieux for the cathedral of St. Thérèse; at Coutances for another huge cathedral complex...plenty of things to see and do.
     Staying the night on the island itself is a wonderful way to visit...you'll have the place nearly to yourself in the evenings and early mornings without hordes of tourists, but prices for food and rooms are high. Mère Poulard seems to own the place, but there are other hotels as well including the Auberge Saint Pierre with la Croix Blanche. On the shore side of the causeway, a sprinkling of tourist hotels offer vanilla rooms, a little more than a mile away from the entrance to the monument.  Bon séjour!

 

 

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