28 Dec 2014 Sunday , A day at Mont St Michel
MSM was 6 months of planning but I found out today that there was a serious lapse – how are we to take night scene of the Mont and yet not drive back to Avranches in the dark ?
The day started very frosty – the door of the car was iced over and we could not open the door. Imagine if I had been in the car all night. I would be frozen stiff already!
We had a very elaborate breakfast , courtesy of the proprietor, and ate with another French family. It was awkward and I kept wondering if small talk on the already late morning was going to prevent us from seeing MSM while the weather was good.
A cold , high pressure front has come to France and though for the first time in weeks it is crisp and dry, the wind chills to the very core. Our ride started off very carefully because of the frost but Pat soon got going on the highway like the French.
We did not get onto the coastal road as planned ( again ! ) and went by the highway instead to Pontorson , where we looped back to MSM. The rock and its famous Abbey shone stately in the sun. It got more and more magnificent as we approached.
We parked as near as possible to the Visitor Center and hopped on the free shuttle. We used the new causeway that began functioning a couple of months ago.
It was a steep accent to the top of the Mont and thankfully, the crowd was still thin. It was vantage point at every turn ! Entrance to the abbey for us and H was €9 and €5. Youth has its perks.
We toured round the endless abbey which exit led us to the low end of the tower where we lunched. A gale blew and we could not huddle up enough – it was bitterly cold. Lunch was the usual crepes at a restaurant on the Mont, about €40.
We toured the other end of the abbey, making another accent minus the crowd before plucking ourselves from the Mont. Instead of taking the free shuttle bus, we took a 40 minutes walk. It was not easy because the sun shone into our eyes and it was very, very cold and windy. It was just 4ish pm and to while away the time, we had tea and shopped at the gift shop. I got a tub of duck liver paste at a steal of about €6.
Near the MSM mainland hotels, we stood on a dam which had a direct view of the Mont and experience the dam releasing the water. It was a new project, meant to revitalize the marsh so that grass will not grow around the Mont.
We waited for nightfall to take night scenes of MSM before leaving reluctantly. Going back to Elham Ricoux B&B was very tough because the roads and turnpikes were pitch black. Thank God He led us safely home.
After a successful ‘expedition’ back and forth, Pat drove to Jardins where we checked out the MSM from the vantage point. The Jardins was in pitch darkness but I had the foresight to bring 2 solar torches to illuminate our paths. It was so cold nothing seemed possible for long. We went downtown to look for dinner.
Avranches on Sunday was totally different from Saturday, deserted and unhappening. Even bars were closed ! We ate in the Serhbat Kebabs shop ( 3 kebabs $21 ). I was pleasantly surprised that the food was good, the service friendly and the eating place was well lit and modern.
Another day of feats, possible only by the grace of God. Folks living in Normandy did not have it easy. Through time, they have experienced battles, wars, invasions and the severe weather. Perhaps there must be something that made it special so that so many come again and again.