Mont St Michel Abbey.
This island sits on a small (sometimes) island in Normandy, northern France. A church sat upon this rock in the early 700’s A.D. and was later built into a monastery in the 900’s.
A uniqueness about this location is that when the tide comes in, it separates from the mainland. When the tide subsides, it is joined by the sandy ground that was once the bed of the sea.
An amazing architectural series of buildings, this Abbey is delight to see. I have seen photographs of this area for several years and it was certainly on my bucket list of things to see and do in France, if not just for the photographic opportunity. What I did NOT expect was to understand only a part of the beauty you see when walking around the stone walled buildings.
To get there from Greville-Hague, we had to drive over 2 hours. But it was certainly worth the 4 1/2 – 5 hour road trip.
You have to park about 30-40 walk away from the Abbey. But there are free buses, or paid horse drawn trams. We chose to use the bus. Once you arrive on the jetty (like structure) you have to walk another 1-200 metres to the base of the Abbey. As you enter, you are surrounded by a large number of shops, both for food and souvenirs. As you climb the very steep ascent (it gets steeper as you climb) the path gets thinner. You can start to imagine the Monks who lived here (prior to the crêperies I am guessing) walking through the thin corridors, tending to their chores and living a very hard yet honest life.
Finally at the summit of this climb, once you have removed your jacket, pulled up your sleeves and taken off any scarf or hat you had been wearing, to try and cool your body temperature, you have a choice. You either keep walking straight and descent by a different and somewhat easier direction (who knew?) or you can turn right and enter the Abbey, pay your Euros and ascend even further. We chose the latter.
I want to say outright, that this place really is beautiful. Both aesthetically and structurally. In many places the walls are alive with moss and plants growing on the side facing the sea. But inside, it’s a rabbit warren of halls, rooms and corridors. I would have to think the worst day in the world for a Monk would be when he has to do his induction. Can you imagine with all those forms having to be filled out, and being shown around to where the kitchen is, the crypts, the Prayer rooms 1 – 6, and barely even mentioning the sleeping quarters… Enough to bring you to tears or send you around the twist…
That’s enough of the description. I’d like to share with you a series of photo’s taken, very shortly.
At the completion of the (way to short) 3 hours we spent at the Abbey, we walked back the 30-40 minutes to the carpark. Trevor and I took a detour at the end of the jetty to look back and photograph a wonderful angle of the island and the iconic structure that sat atop. I share them with you in the hope that it will inspire at least one person to visit this wonderful place.
p.s. I was blown away by this 1200 year old place!