Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Le Mont Saint Michel (and a tidbit about what came next)

Sunday night we drove into our hotel right across a field from Mont St. Michel.  It was late, and we arrived 30 minutes before they stopped serving dinner.  I'm so glad we got there in time, because we had one of the most memorable meals ever.  It was so delicious.  Expensive and delicious and French.  It was so cold and windy, and we'd been wet through on the Normandy beaches, but we had to try to set up the tripod for a shot of Mont Saint Michel at night.  We did okay.

Yesterday morning we stopped and bought some local products and then walked into Le Mont Saint Michel.  The legend from several centuries ago is that the angel Micheal told a bishop to build an abby on this mountain.  Over the next hundreds of years, it was also lived in by Benedictine monks and was also a fortress.  Many people, including French kings, made pilgrimages here.

It reminded me of the village of Bree in the first Lord of the Rings movie, narrow and steep cobblestoned streets.  The stairs keep going up and up to the abbey.  The abbey is huge and cavernous and cold, only a few of the reasons I'm glad I wasn't a Benedictine monk in the 12th century.

 a view as we were climbing up to the abbey

 The other really fascinating thing about the place is how much the tides come in once a month at the full moon.  Most of what you see there is very wet beach.

I really am always amazed at the ingenuity of men and what they can create.  The stonemasons and builders who constructed this place were incredibly inventive and smart.  

 one of the massive fireplaces

When we left there we drove to what was supposed to be one of the most picturesque villages in France.  I found it on Pinterest, of course.  Pinterest doesn't lie, because this was the most peaceful and beautiful place I've ever been.  There was hardly anyone in the village; it was so quiet, and all you could hear were birds singing and frogs croaking by the stream.  We saw ducks and a groundhog.  It's a place known for having artists and painters come, and we also saw a lot of French people camping.  I took a picture of every door and gate we passed because they were all beautiful.  Here's one picture.

I'm in a hurry this morning to get out and take pictures of the chateau where we are staying.  It is the most amazing place, and the marquess told me I could wander all over and take pictures.  It's the type of place where when we arrived she first showed us to the salon we could use.

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