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Travel Pensieve: Mont St Michel

In August 2009, I decided that my birthday must be celebrated with a mini-break (ah, the "mini-break", those were the days). So we organised a weekend break to Normandy (Mont St Michel, Bayeux Tapestry, D-Day Beaches, Monet's Garden) and Champagne (er... Champagne). Tash and Matt tagged along for the first bit of the trip. First stop - Mont St Michel.

Originally, I hadn't been too fussed with visiting Mont St Michel. We had visited England's version, St Michael's Mount which is in Cornwall. I figured that we'd ticked "Visit abbey on a tidal island" off our to do list. But I was wrong, Mont St Michel is definitely worth visiting.

We'd caught an overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen (Ouistreham) and when we arrived at six in the morning the French countryside was cloaked with mist. It was just beginning to lift as we arrived at Mont St Michel. We had a spectacular first view of the abbey. Mostly shrouded in fog, we only caught a glimpse of it here and there. Then as the mist lifted we were treated to a wonderful view of the abbey set against a brilliant blue sky.
Mont St Michel

After touring the abbey, we headed out to the tidal flats for a wander. I've now read that this is a bad idea because of quick sand (oops!). We were out there when the tide was scheduled to turn and start coming in. They warn you over loudspeakers about the incoming tide in lots of different languages. We were able to identify English (duh!), French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Russian. We stuck around for a while hoping to see the tide rush in and surround the island. But nothing happened. Well I'm sure the tide was coming in, but it certainly wasn't the torrent pictured on the postcards.
Mont St Michel
Mont St Michel

I would love to visit the abbey during a king tide and see the car park covered in water. There are signs in the carpark warning you not to park there at certain times lest your car becomes a submarine.
Mont St Michel

More photos (slideshow) on Flickr.

Our visit to Mont St Michel was part of our trip to Normady and Champagne. We visited France in August 2009 to celebrate Jess's birthday with camembert, croissants and bubbles. This is the first entry from this trip.

jess - 12th Nov 2011, 10:25 tags: travel pensieve france normandy j-bday-09 nablopomo nablopomo11

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