One of my favourite places in the France, nay, they world is Mont Saint Michel – purely because of its beauty and its history and that this is a monastery that has been built on the top of a rock!
Since my last visit here with my lovely friend Madeline quite some years before the road in to the island has changed somewhat. When were here last you could drive out on the road at low tide and park right at the front door, but it seems the tide may have taken its toll on the road, and a bridge has been built for the use of pedestrians, buses and horse-drawn carriages only.
It was nearly high tide when we arrived, however we were experiencing a neap tide – meaning it wasn’t very high due to the position of the moon and to be honest – it was completely anticlimactic. We did consider walking in the mud and so many people had clearly done…. but thought way better of it.
The history of this monastery dates back to the 600s and it has been reincarnated many times since then. It was a fortress, a monastery and even a jail for a time and now – it’s a full on tourist trap if you try to eat or drink or purchase anything.
But once you get past all that… it’s stunning!
Deb is so little and petite that she can fit in all manner of nooks and crannies! This is probably where the monks would just sit and watch the other monks go by…
When ever you see a sign that has anything to do with you – you take a photo. Stella Maris was the first primary school and Jason and I attended before we moved to the new St Francis Xavier Primary School in Grade 4. Stella Maris – she was the star of the sea.
There was a couple of gigantic taps in the walls – hand is for scale.
View from the top of the new bridge – imagine all that area covered in water.
The abbey is right at the very top and it still amazes me how they managed to build it. Just getting materials up there was a massive feat.
The mont was obviously swarming with tourists, but these ladies were among my favourites for the day. I was watching them for a bit as the girl on the wall posed and then her friend said in English “Yeah, I got it – do something else now.” to which the girl on the wall swung her legs over the wall to get the all important ‘look over my shoulder’ pose. There was a sheer drop over that wall. I held my breath for a minute whilst she balanced and then I backed away.
There was a group of priests/monks/brothers? in the abbey singing. There were a few people there who looked like they were participating in a mass, or they could’ve just been there to sit and take it all in. It was quite beautiful to listen to. You weren’t meant to take photos, but I thought this tableau would be ok cause you can’t see their faces…. just like that dentist ad!
You also weren’t supposed to touch the pillars apparently – This sign said ‘Please don’t touch the pillars’ – that’s just asking for it, isn’t it?
Wandering through the abbey was just as beautiful as I remembered it.
This room had massive fire places which would have been need to heat a room of this size. Here Deb, Jason and Kylie demonstrate what the fire would have looked like back in the olden days.
Monk 1: “Which wall should we put this cupboard on?”
Monk 2: “I think the left wall.”
Monk 1: “Really? I was thinking the right side.”
Monk 2: “Really? Well, how will we ever decide?”
Kylie had a sneaky peek into this cupboard and found a fire extinguisher and a hose…. lucky it was signed. We could have spent hours looking for that in an emergency.
This was where they kept the hamsters back in the day in order to spin the wheel and pull the pulley up with materials and probably hamster food.
There was no sign saying how many hamsters were needed for this task, but my guess would be quite a few.
That pulley trolley seems pretty heavy…. and look, there are some of the hamsters down there now on their lunch break.
When we walked into this room a couple walked in just before us, stood for a moment and then purposefully strode to a pillar on the far side…
And then posed like this…
After a lovely day at the Mont, we walked back over the bridge and trekked the 15 miles back to our car.