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Wonder of the West - Mont Saint Michel

overcast 8 °C

"Build here and build high" - Archangel Michael

Foodie moment

Tonight we had a meal of Normandy specialities; apples, cream and butter. Mark tried some locally made Apple Cider, it was not like ciders we buy back in Australia, more like a beer, but delicious! For our meal, Mark had Steak with crispy roast potatoes and garlic butter sauce, and I had 'Moules à la Normande', which was mussels with cream, apple cider, mushrooms, butter and small chunks of apple and onion. An AMAZING meal!

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Cultural moment

Unbeknownst to us, the 19th and 20th of May are Whit Sunday and Monday in France. This is a religious public holiday. We found out about this holiday when we 'attempted' to drop in at the walled city of St Malo on Monday, on our way to Mont Saint Michael. The volume of people visiting the walled city (and probably the church within) was unbelievable, thousands!! People were parking everywhere, on median strips and for kilometres down the streets. Not surprisingly we gave up on the visit and escaped off to the camp-site! Lesson learnt! Do not try to go to tourist attractions on public holidays!

Wow moment

We braved the elements to head out to one of France's most visually stunning tourist attractions, Mont Saint Michel. The key tourist attraction here is the Abbey. It was built by Aubert, Bishop of Avranches when he saw a vision of Archangel Michel (the head of heavenly militia) who told him to 'build here, and build high'. It was a beautiful abbey, particularly the abbey church and cloisters. The abbey church was made even more spectacular by the impromptu performance by a vacationing choir group! The architecture of the rest of the abbey was amazing with a focus on flowing lines and symmetry.

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What we learnt today

Mont Saint Michel is set on an island, that is only an island at high tide. The tidal waters around St Michel recede over 18 kilometres at low tide, revealing the mud flats that pilgrims for centuries have walked across bare feet. You can access the island via the causeway, which floods at high tide, or by the mud flats at low tide, which can be dangerous as the tide comes in. The tides can reach a height difference of 14 meters and have been described by Victor Hugo as "à la vitesse d'un cheval au galop" or "as swiftly as a galloping horse". A new bridge is in development that will provide all day access and makes use of a dam, that with the removal of the old causeway will be beneficial for the environment and return St Michel to being a proper island.

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Posted by travellinglise 07:38 Archived in France Tagged beaches church abbey mont_saint_michel Comments (1)

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