Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mont. St. Michel

An Apparition in the Salt Marsh

Day 8 - Mont St. Michel, A Return to Paris and a Flight to Milano 
We left St. Malo early after bidding adieu to Sigrid and Adelle our two wonderful bicycle guides. We then boarded a coach for our drive back to Paris including a visit Mont St. Michel. We went to Mont St. Michel early in the am as it tends to become overrun by tourists as the day progresses.

Mont. St. Michel is a special place. And, aside from the Eiffel Tower, the palace and gardens of Versailles and the cathedral of Notre Dame, this is perhaps the next most photographed site in France  Straddling the border between Brittany and Normandy (officially in Normandy), it is a little village and Abbey built to cling to what was a pointy little island rock outcropping in the middle of some tidal marshes.

It is a pilgrimage site for many Catholics and a mess of tourists. So many tourists in fact that the 40 monks left at the Abbey lead a fairly reclusive life observing vows of silence and poverty.

What housing there was on the island has now mostly been converted to B&B's and little Inns. My big caution to potential visitors is that there has been no upgrades for barrier-free accommodations. There are no elevators or ramps.

Mont St. Michel at Daybreak

A Staircase Up the Mont.
(This Island is An Accessibility Nightmare)

Surprisingly the Island Hosts a Small Cemetery

Casting its Famous Shadow As the Tides Return

The Tallest Spire is Crowned With St. Michel
(A Major Magnet for Lightening Strikes)

A Replica of the St. Michel Statue

The Walkers Wheel

Toward the end of the tour we came upon the Walker's Wheel. Here up to 6 men would climb inside the big wheel (like a squirrel wheel). Here they'd walk to furnish the power to hoist supplies up an inclined train running up the side of the hill.

Also from here we had a brilliant view of the new approach road that replaced the ancient causeway serving the island for centuries. The new road is elevated with open structure below allowing the tidal action to flow by. This has helped clean the salt marsh by preventing excess silt build up on one side of the road.

The New Elevated Approach Road

The Abbey in Bright Afternoon Light

We concluded our tour with a quick lunch and then rejoined our coach for the trip to Paris CDG  airport where most of the cyclists would fly from in the morning.

As for me I flew on to Milan for a quick visit to Milano's Expo 2015!
More about that in my next post!

Roadboy's Travels © 2015

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