Back in April, we took a quick trip to Normandy to visit Saint Michael’s mount, better known in France as “Mont Saint-Michel”. The mount and the surrounding bay are on the list of the World Heritage sites. The history of the mount is quite interesting, spanning from a vision of the archangel motivating the construction of the initial chapelto the inevitable tourism (“en masse”, really). The mount’s history is marked by struggles for power as well as many battles.
The bay surrounding the mount is quite flat. We hired a guide to walk in the bay (at low tide!), all around the mount, barefoot. The wet sand can be surprisingly slippery and at places quicksand may form. The guide taught our group how to get out of these unsound spots. Suffice to say, kids love the experience of getting very slowly sucked into quicksands. What’s impressive is how deceitful the tides can be. The sea’s water may appear to be far away but it moves very fast. It’s very easy to get stranded on a small island or worse, to be washed away! The guide timed our hike perfectly so that we could experience the incoming tide close to our return point. It’s easy to understand the power of the sea and how easy it is for humans to be too confident.
We joined a tour to visit the abbey and understand a little more about its history, the struggles for power over the mount, the attempts by England to invade the village (failed), etc. The only disappointment was… the massive number of tourists, walking around, shoulder to shoulder, to join a tour or wait in long lines to get seated at a restaurant (none on the mount are particularly great and all are particularly expensive).
Here are a few pictures made during our visit, the mount, its bay and the inevitable cows of Normandy.