The Rock that is Mont Saint Michel

On June 23, 2023 we dropped anchor off the coast of France at Saint Malo and, after a short tender ride, hustled into a bus that was to take us to our four hour excursion to Mont Saint Michel. This tour is not for the faint-of-heart or those with limited mobility or cardiac problems. There was a great deal of walking and climbing on uneven surfaces.

Initially started in 708 by Bishop Aubert of Avranches, Mont Saint Michel is a rocky, tidal Island off the northwestern coast of France. It is surrounded by water during high tides. It rises 302 feet above sea level and it presented a real challenge to us to get to the top; but it was worth the effort. What follows are a number of photos I took as we made our way up and down. I hope you like them, and I hope they give you a prospective of this unusual and outstanding place.

When we arrived, we had to stand in line for about an hour to board a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the walkway leading to the abbey. Here is a photo of the line with us buried somewhere well in the back.

This photo is of JoAnn after we got off the shuttle bus and before we started our trek to the Abbey.

Here is another view of the Abbey from ground level, taken as we made our way down the walkway. At the very top is a statue of Saint Michael, the Archangel; made of hammered copper, it stands 15 feet tall and weighs over 1000 pounds.

The little village, with this one street leading up to the Abbey, was teeming with people. Only 29 folks live at the Mont. Working our way up the path, weaving in and around the hoard, was a challenge.

As we approached the entrance to the abbey, we passed this delightful little garden.

Some photos for your enjoyment.

A shot of the cloister . . .

. . . followed by a photo of people taking shots of the cloister as they reached through the columns for a “better” view.

Some of the detail work above the columns at the cloister.

According to legend, the archangel Saint Michael appeared to Bishop Aubert in a dream and instructed him to build the Abbey. The bishop, who was doubtful about what he had experienced, did not take action until after his third dream of Saint Michael. In that dream Saint Michael, to make the bishop realize that his vision was real, drilled a hole in his skull. Upon awakening, the bishop saw the hole and realized that he had to build the Abbey. This sculpture, which we came upon in a passageway, depicts that third dream.

On more than one occasion, the Abbey functioned as a prison. This wheel was used to deliver food to the abbey for the prisoners.

It was a challenge to take photos inside. The abbey is an architectural accomplishment and not, as in so many of the churches and cathedrals, an artistic delight. The crowds didn’t make it any easier and, because our time was limited to four hours, beginning with our shuttle from the ship to the parking lot and back, we were really rushing through. Here are a couple of more shots of the interior.

The final shot is as we were leaving. It is one of my favorite shots of the morning. In any event, a visit to Mont Saint Michel is well worth the time and effort.

Now, on to a visit to the charming village of St. Malo.

P.S. I am throwing in this shot of a flower which I took at the shuttle bus parking lot. You will see, as you look at it, a snail climbing on a flower stem in the lower, right-hand side. Sorry its not in better focus but I still really like the photo.

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