Archive for January 1st, 2020

January 1, 2020

Let’s say Mont Saint Michel!

So let’s say Mont Saint Michel. Oh yes for many years I used to passed by it on my road warrior trips between the Paris region and the west of Normandy. Then, one year my twin sons got a school trip there and came back with some pictures and saying it was nice. Finally, I took the whole family and went there to see it and indeed it was nice. And this is my first post of 2020!!!! Happy New Year to all!!!

Well more like one of the wonders of our world really, a must to see in France. I have written some posts on the sights there and the food, this time will just remind you of how to get there and enjoy the walks along its marvelous old streets. Again, no other words are needed when we speak of this marvel of our world, the Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, (but Bretons claim it too!).

I waited to be living already in the Morbihan breton to make the family run there. Going we took the D768 to the N24 direction Rennes, all the way to the beltway  coming around the rocade nord or north beltway as if going to Paris but once on the A84 got off on the exit 33 for the Durcey Mont Saint Michel exit on the N175. Coming back we took off by Pontorson on the D43 and went to the D766 , N176, N164, and by Josselin the return back on the N24 home. We came into the parking area P10 , which is very expensive for a monument unless you spend the whole day and night there, 12,50€ for 6 hours it is expensive even for France ::)

mont saint michel

The compensation is that you have a long navette bus that makes the run to the foot of the front entrance to the mount for free. they go instantly almost like every 4 -5 minutes intervals. The second link above has great info on this. There is another service that you pay almost like a bus type but drawn by horses, the Maringote. We took the bus navette faster and easier and free.

mont saint michel

mont saint michel

Once inside there is a laberinth of narrow street,like the Grande rue,  rue Principal, and blvd de l’Avancée ,step stairs, and hilly terrain which you must be in shape to do. It is semicircular and if you go to the ramparts you have great views over the sea. By the way, the area had the big waves or grand marée recently but we were there it was all sandy and plenty of walkers even a tour group in the sand on foot coming over. The walking on the sand to the mount is handle by expert guides as they can be very dangerous. Waves come back at 15 meters within minutes to surround the mound like an island.

The mount of St Michael or Mont Saint Michel has many towers around it starting from the entrance Tour du roi or king’s tower. To the right is Tour de la Liberté or liberty tower, then Tour Basse or lower tower, Bastion de la tour Boucle or tower bastion of the Loop, tour Demi Lune or half moon tower, tour du nord or north tower, tour Gabriel or Gabriel’s tower.

On the left side back you see the Chapelle of St Aubert just after the tour Gabriel. There is a very nice swampy lawn in between best seen from the tour du nord

mont saint michel

The Grande rue street goes in layers upwards to the next loop of streets or the chemin du ronde abbatial and another layer known as the Grand Degré de l’Abbaye to the abbaye or abbey church. On the side to the left there is a gorgeous terrace or Grande Terrasse de l’Ouest with great views to the streem of Le Quesnon the great debate between Normandy and Brittany for ownership settle by the French revolution and France on the side of Normandy.

Upon entering to your left go to the échauguette de la pillette or pillbox watchtower up Montée aux Poulains street near the tour Gabriel for great views of the sea . Grande-Rue, a narrow street that takes on the assault on Mont-Saint-Michel, is lined with 15C and 16C mansions. with evocative names from medieval times. Mythical addresses such as the La Mère Poulard whose omelette makes the world run,  and numerous souvenir stalls dot this street, invaded by a dense and multilingual crowd which, for some, evokes the assemblies of pilgrims of long ago.

mont saint michel

A bit of history and info for enjoying this wonderful spot on our belle France

The origin of the city merges with that of the monastery at Mont Saint Michel. Upon the arrival of the first monks, the first huts of traders, artisans, fishermen, etc. are built at the foot of the rock to enjoy and participate in the development of this new place of worship.

If today most of the houses in the village are made of stone, at that time wood was widely used, which would largely contribute to multiple destruction, then reconstruction of the village by fires over the centuries. The houses are built on the south and east sides of the rock, where its escarpment allowed the houses to sit securely.

In the 15C, the construction of the defensive system of the abbey being completed, the protection of the city was considered. Three gates defend the entrance to the city. The first, attached to the bourgeois guardhouse (where the Tourist Office is today), is known as the Porte de l’Avancée. Its defenses are summary. The second gate, defended by a redoubt and a half-moon, is called the Porte du Boulevard. The most defensive gate is undoubtedly that of the King, protected by the towers of the Arcade and of the King, it could hardly be crossed because a drawbridge and a portcullis blocked its passage.

Passed the threshold of the Porte du Roi, the visitor finds himself under an arched passage which served as a guardhouse. The rooms located above this passage now house the city/town hall of Mont Saint-Michel. You now have the Grande Rue in front of you. Unique street of Mont Saint Michel, it turns around the rock to lead the visitor to the foot of the large outdoor step. In summer, the ascent of the street is made, between the shops of souvenir merchants, in the middle of a compact and cosmopolitan crowd. Under these conditions, it becomes very difficult to appreciate the constructions bordering this street and it is better to leave it without regret. So, taking the alleys and other passages deserted by tourists eager for trinkets makes it possible to plunge back into an era when the beauty of things makes us forget the vicissitudes of current life.

Couple of webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Mont Saint MIchel in English

Tourist office of Mont Saint Michel in English

There you a must to visit in France I said, and repeat. One of the wonders of our world and even if overly run by tourists today, it is for a good reason after all is famous and all should come here. Oh yes prices are for a top tourist spot in a crowded space so you were told. In all, enjoy the Mont Saint Michel!

And remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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