Under siege for thirty years, during the Hundred Year Wars and with the low lying areas completely settled by the English. during that time, Le Mont Saint Michel was the last bastion of France occupied and defended against the English. This is why it is such a revered icon of La Belle France.
And then there is the lamb. Known locally as Agneau de pre sale, or salt marsh lamb. It is a specialty of Normandy and is particularly tender and has a unique flavour, due to the tidal salt marshes where the sheep graze. As with so many things French, much of the charm finds it's base in tradition. The sheep have been chopping on this grass since the 11th century. From this time there was a law stating that the monks could choose the best ewe from each farm, so that they had access to the best lamb..
Anyhoo, Le Mont Saint Michel today is world heritage listed and a visit is well organised, if a little over loved by fellow tourists. You are required to park some distanace away from the base of the mont in a large and well laid out carpark, located next to the visitors centre. You are then bused in to the base. The journey only takes about 5 minutes from the car park. Payment is made after your visit by credit card, upon leaving the carpark at the end of the day.
When we where there, they were still building the all tides bridge road and there was a big sign on the old road stating you had to move your car, by the alloted time, because it would be covered by the sea at some point.
Now Le Mont Saint Michel is incredibly touristy and very crowded and in the beginning, I was wondering whether we should have bothered. However, if you climb to the top to the Abbey, make sure you take the guided tour (in English, check times at the visitors centre) as it is totally fabulous and explains so much about the history and how it all fits together. I loved it.
There is no other way to access to top, but to walk. It is a moderate walk up hill and takes about 25-30 minutes to get to the summit.
You can stay on Le Mont and there are lots of restaurants and shops.
The entry door
Note the guy (bottom left) shlepping his suitcase up the hill to his digs. It's the only way unless your hotel has a porter I guess.
The Asian writing on the shop awning (centre right) also gives you some idea of the touristy nature of the place.
The mud flats surrounding le Mont. The tide is reported to be the highest in the world and runs very quickly.
The construction works with the new (but unopen at the time -2014) road bridge on the left and the lower old road on the right.
The Romanesque Abbey
The roof top garden and cloisters.
The kids were pretty well behaved, but my daughter's cute personality and high spirit cannot be tamed, ever. My son rarely escapes her antics and takes it all in his mellow stride.
Inside the monks mess hall with typical medieval arches
The mill, originally powered by humans walking inside the wheel
Looking out from the roof
Looking up at the Abbey from halfway.
The original nave of the original chapel
One of the many look outs over the mud flats and beautiful countryside.
Inside the tower
Like lots of boys, he's always interested in the weapons. It's amazing how available they are in the shops in France
Bye Bye, we loved our visit back to Medieval times. Until next time.
For more travel stories go here.
If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.
You can pin any of these shots by hovering over the shot and clicking on the "P"
Today I am linked up here