Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Mont Saint Michel

Leaving Paris became a bit of a debacle, including showing up at the wrong station, rail staff who did not know anything about validating our Eurail passes (and nearly rendering them invalid!), and long waits. However, eventually we did get onto a train and sail away into the French countryside. And OH MY, is it ever beautiful!
Seriously. Beautiful.
In fact, it is just exactly what you would imagine quaint little French towns to look like. I nearly jumped out the window, I just want to go and walk down those awesome little roads and explore the lovely gardens! And this village called Pontorson...I need to go there. I would go back to France just to visit that place. I'm pretty sure its like Disney movie, where the birds and mice are your friends and everyone sings and dances because life is a musical.
Pretty sure.
Moving on.
We arrived in the town of Rennes (pronounced, "Ren") late at night, and it had begun to rain. We didn't know exactly the location of our hotel, as the directions read something like, "Not far from the train station". We were slightly worried, but shouldn't have been because the proprietors had not lied to us. Citotel le Bretagne is indeed located just across the street from the station!
We spent a very comfortable night there, and were ready from some adventuring in the morning.
Our purpose in straying so far from Paris was based on a picture I saw in a travel guide while we were planning the trip. It looked something like this:
Photo credit:
Most of my friends are aware of my deep and abiding love and obsession with all things medieval. When I saw that picture, my heart said, "You must go there."
And, as Disney has instructed, I always follow my heart. SO, I did everything in my power to convince Brit that we needed to take this long and out-of-the-way trip to see Mont Saint Michel.
It wasn't too hard, seeing as she really wanted to visit her namesake province, where the monastery was conveniently located!
We hopped on a bus in the morning and enjoyed a scenic drive listening to the local radio which was playing some classic tunes...the likes of both Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey were heard.
Regis is pretty stoked.
It was a cold, wet day, but I couldn't have been more excited! This was a huge thing for me.
And then...there it was.

What a lucky monkey!
I almost didn't know what to do with myself. This place is huge! There was so much to explore. So much to see!
Hmm...the French Diagon Alley?
As you enter through the front gates you come into a narrow, steeply inclined street lined with shops and eateries of all kinds (lots of cheesy souvenirs and postcards available!).

The tidal island was first used as a stronghold in the 6th and 7th centuries. The construction of the village and abbey came later, but it has been an important place throughout history. Now it is a tourist attraction with a small segment reserved for a monastic commune. The population of the island sits at 41. I'm tempted to make it 42.
This is me...REALLY excited!

Now I can die happy.
Its sort of ridiculous how great this day was for me. I mean, I think it was one of my favorite days of the whole entire trip. Looking at these photos again is bringing back so much of the sheer delight I felt while we wandered around, climbing old stone staircases, passing under archways, sitting in quiet felt like being in a fairytale, as cheesy as that sounds. Well, that is, it did if you blocked out the fact there were hundreds of other tourists there as well. Funny thing is that the crowds didn't spoil Mt St Michel for me, like other places were.

There were SO many winding sidestreets and intriguing nooks and crannies to explore. I could spend a week just walking around.

We ditched the crowds and spent some time laughing on the deserted beach.

Caught a few ZZZZ's. 
Mont Saint Michel is not to be overlooked. You really need to go there. Seriously.

For more information on Mont Saint Michel: 


kristieinbc said...

That looks like an amazing place! Don't you love it when something totally exceeds your travel expectations?

Jill.and.Regis said...

yes...especially when the expectations were high to begin with! :D