Driving along the winding road that travels through the Norman coastline you have to pinch yourself that you really are in the heartland of France. While passing through the French Countryside, delightfully you notice its filled with fresh fruit stands, half timbered houses, and large sprawling farms. Then just as you come through a lazy bend in the road lined with large yellow sunflowers and wooly sheep, BAM, There it is! Your breath is literally taken away by an amazing sight of huge medieval walls, and commanding fortress. The craggy Abbey Spires rise up to the heavens. You will find yourself speeding up with anticipation of walking thru the gates of this antique marvel.
More than just rustic boutique shops and gastronomical delights you feel as if you have just entered into a time warp and living an adventure from the distant past.
Walking through the imposing entry gates of the fortress, you will be pleasantly surprised by the romance the abbey elicits to your emotions. Tiny rocky walkways and stairs filled with activity of tourists browsing the shops with a flakey French pastry in one hand and camera’s waiting for a great shot in the other. There are no roads here, so you will enjoy total peace and quiet after dark when the tour busses leave and those fortunate enough to stay on the island overnight. Lovely aroma’s from fabulous restaurants filter out and beckon you to stop and dig into irresistible dishes while sitting on balconies that dominate the abbey.
Hiking up the Abbey, reaching the top, lookout into what looks like a dry barren desert for as far as your eyes can see, is the English Channel. This is not just a scenic view of sandy ripples and protruding rocks. If you stay long enough, and are lucky enough you will experience why the Abbey was built there in the first place. At amazing speeds of 20 feet per second the salty waters of the English Channel come fast but gracefully to encircle the island. Mont Saint Michael was ingeniously built to otherwise keep unsuspecting conquerors from attacking. Between the high speeds of the tide approaching, there are also the consequences of quicksand just as deadly to ill intended troublemakers. This should not stop you from exploring the beaches while the tide is out; there are many tours you can take that are safe and fun.
A visit to Mont Saint Michel will not only leave you with an understanding of life in the middle ages, but also a treasure trove of great memories.
If planning to stay a night or two, which is highly recommended, here are a few hotels you might consider along with a couple restaurant recommendations:
Les Terrasses Poulard
Grande-Rue BP 18, 50170
On the island, this is a no nonsense hotel, basic and clean. Just a bed, private bathroom, TV with table and chairs that has a view out on to the sandy beach and town just outside of the causeway. Inexpensive, a good value
16 Grande Rue, 50170
Wonderful and again basic hotel, perfect for those who want to get away for a romantic holiday
Le Relais du Roy
8 Route Du Mont St Michel 50170
This property is located off the island but is comfortable and has well appointed rooms. Most rooms have great views of Mont Saint Michel. The restaurant is commendable with fabulous dinners.
Auberge de La Mère Poulard
Grande Rue BP 18, 50116
Le Mont Saint Michel
Phone: (+41) 02 33 89 68 68
Although this restaurant has been written in just about every tour book and website at Mont Saint Michael, it will be one of the most memorable experiences of your visit. The food is good, and the atmosphere cannot be beat. Although known for its grandiose omelettes, unless you like mushy eggs, go for one of the other exceptional dishes. But to watch as they cook one of their famous omelettes is a sight to see.
Restaurant La Vieille Auberge
50170 Mont Saint Michel
Tel. : (+33)2 33 60 14 34
Located at the base of the abbey, this restaurant caters to all tastes. Has a wonderful creperie worth trying.
Grande Rue BP 28
50170 LE MONT SAINT MICHEL
Tel: (33) 2 33 60 14 08
Excellent Seafood cuisine