Our first day we took a shuttle to Mont Saint Michel. It is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights and just an hour and fifteen minutes from Bayeux. The staggering location draws visitors and pilgrims from all over the world.
Early in the 8th century, Bishop Aubert claimed that the Archangel Michael told him to build a church atop the island.
From 966 onwards, the dukes of Normandy, followed by French kings, supported the development of a major Benedictine abbey on the Mont-Saint-Michel. The abbey became a center of learning, attracting some of the greatest minds and manuscript illuminators in Europe.
Our visit to the Abbey was quite a journey through narrow crowded streets, lined with shops and restaurants.
Not only are the streets crowded but they are steep and there is no easy way to get to the top. It didn’t stop families with babies or elderly folks from making the climb.
Did I mention getting to the Abbey on top we climbed up stone stairways, and stone pathways leading up, then down, and enclosed by high stone walls?
During fourteen centuries this island has been a base for Benedictine monks, a home for fishermen, a prison, a besieged holdout during the medieval Hundred Years War and now a destination for pilgrims and tourists. This Romanesque monastery buildings and Gothic cloisters are now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It is mesmerizing to look out from the many ramparts with inspiring views of the bay and sand flats that shift and change appearance daily. Bold seagulls greeted us all along the way.
The island is in the middle of the highest and fastest tides in Europe and can quickly transform from sitting in the midst of muddy flats to being engulfed by the bay. We saw it at low tide and the sandy shoreline made a beautiful abstract sand and sea pattern.
After the long climb and on the way down we took a break and stopped for lunch at this scenic and delicious restaurant.
I had mussels and frites and it was fabulous. This area is known for fresh mussels and I highly recommended ordering them.
All I can say about Mont Saint-Michel is that it is unlike anything I’ve seen and is absolutely worth the effort to visit.