Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mont Saint-Michel Normandy France

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

The Crowds. 
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

Walking to the bottom

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"

You can also find me on
Today I am linked up here


  1. Wow, that is absolutely spectacular! Thank you so much for linking with #TeamIBOT.

  2. Oh how I'd love to visit this place once!AriadnefromGreece!

  3. Thank you for your photos; they brought back so many memories. The bridge was finished when I was there recently although it still goes under water. My favorite part was the cloisters and garden.

    1. Mine too. I find that so funny about the road bridge. Surely they would have build it for the highest tide. One wonders what the decisions makers were thinking. Perhaps they are building it defensively should the Brits decide to invade again. LOL.

  4. I would love to see the mud flats alone. It must look very different when the tide is in. What an amazing place.

  5. Wow. I have always wanted to go. I didn't realise it was quite so touristy however. I can see how that is frustrating but still, I'd still brave it for the experience. How's the mud flats view? What a unique place!

  6. We missed exploring mont saint michel but I have it on my list for when we return.

  7. Gorgeous photos! I've never been to France.
    I am fan-girling over your pics in your sidebar too ... of the inside of your house. LOVE a beach themed seaside-esque environment. Having just returned from two coastal trips I am completely jelly!

  8. Wonderful memories! Gorgeous photos. Thanks for posting!

  9. The Asian writing is in Japanese, actually - "St. James" and yes, it does prove how touristy it is! Still, Normandy is definitely a place on my bucket list.

  10. Oh what a lovely adventure!! Your children are so lucky to go and see it with you!
    Definitely, need to go one day.

  11. wonderful! we were there a few years ago, and it was so impressive driving up, wasn't it?!

  12. The construction work is all now finished. You park further back and then walk or get a bus most of the way there. At high tide the mount becomes an island again.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...