Monday, November 5, 2007

The Mont-St-Michel

Hello, from the top of the Mont-St-Michel!

So, I finally sat down and got these pictures on Picasa. So now, I can write about it.

Mont-St-Michel is a wonder- natural, architectural, historical. It is simply put, beautiful. It is a small island off the north coast of France in the English Channel. It has been around for about 1000 years, when it started out with just a church at the top, then the town sprang up around it, building down the hill. There are signs at the entrance showing the times for high and low tide. So, I learned a new vocabulary word (which suddenly appeared to me to be everywhere) and found out that, at least at this time of year, it is safe to park a car or bus in the parking lot without fear of it being swept away in the tide. I remember hearing at some point that people could only visit during certain hours, but maybe they have added some ground to the surrounding area, along with the permanent road they built leading straight to the entrance.

A view from the bus as we drove up to the island.

When you enter, it's like a bustling medieval street, tight and winding, full of shops and people.

A lovely little street near the entrance.

The abbey had a prison where prisoners were occasionally used as hamsters to turn a giant wheel that would pull cargo up the side of the Mont by pully.

And there were also small chapels, dining halls and a scribes' room (which had lots of windows so the scribes could take advantage of the light). There was also another church on this small island, I suppose to accommodate all the people that eventually lived here. Now, all the houses have been turned into shops, restaurants and museums. But that little church is still there, and still functions (as does the abbey).

Joan of Arc at the door of the church.

There are some great views from the top of the Abbey, too. It's really a beautiful location.

We had a lovely tour of the inside of the Abbey, and then went to a restaurant with a view out onto the water for lunch. That was a lovely day. We're going back to the coast in a couple of weeks for a trip to the Normandy beaches.

From Mont St Michel

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