Driving down the narrow curvy road on the Brittany Coast of France you are intrigued by the beauty. As you meander through the historic half-timbered villages that lace the French Countryside you pinch yourself to make sure its real. Passing by colorful fresh fruit stands you can’t resist stopping for a healthy snack. Large grassy fields with wooly white sheep dominate the scenery. Zipping through a bend in the road you are taking it all in then “BAM!”. There it is, Mont Saint Michel! Your breath is literally taken away by an amazing sight of huge stone medieval walls, and imposing fortress. The craggy Abbey Spires rising up to the heavens. You will find yourself speeding up with anticipation of walking thru the gates of this monumental 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 into the distant past.
Climb the tiny cobbled street that leads you up to the abbey. You won’t be able to help yourself from walking into a few of the shops. Of course the Boutique La Mere Poulard is probably the most popular for chocolate. They also carry Calvados and hard ciders from the local area. If you have never heard of Calvados and have a taste for brandy then you must try some. Delicious! Other fascinating buys are at the Monastary Book Shop, Aux 3 Croissants handles local handmade items of porcelain, lace and tablecloths. L’Epee and La Fee Des Greves are shops for collectors of medieval weapons and religious art.
Mont Saint Michel is a sight anytime of day or night
Hiking up the Abbey, reaching the view from the lookout is almost mind-blowing. 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 Michel was ingeniously built to otherwise keep unsuspecting conquerors from attacking.
Inside the abbey may look a little plain and barren but isn’t that how the monks liked it? Nothing fancy just a place where they could spend their time in quiet prayer.
A visit to Mont Saint Michael will not only leave you with an understanding of life in the middle ages, but also a treasure trove of great memories.
If you liked Mont Saint Michel wait until you see some of our other top picks in Europe
Historic street photo by Flickr