A bit of church, a bit of state

On a foggy day like yesterday, Mont Saint Michel rises like a mirage on the horizon as you drive toward the island.

We got a nice early start because you never want to arrive there around 11, when the tour busses from Paris pull in. Trust me, we were out of there before the crowds, or otherwise it just would not have been the lovely experience we took away.

Thanks to our faithful guide, Rick Steves, we knew to ascend via the less-traveled route and to descend via the single street that is narrow and clogged with shops. The abbey at the top has had 1200 years to become stunning, and the views are endless. A remarkable engineering feat, in any day.

The main – and only street – seems more charming when you realize that the commercial activity has been relentless since pilgrim days. Only the souvenirs have changed. The most famous stop is near the entrance, where La Mére Poulard used to make quick omelets for the pilgrims trying to race the tides. The shop and the tradition continues, but no modern-day pilgrim could afford these eggs!

We returned home to Granville to do laundry and have lunch. Met a nice young French student in the laundromat who was delighted to have someone to speak English with. Oddly enough, he finds English a much more beautiful language than French (??!!) and said with disgust, “No one in the world speaks French!” We won!!!!

But then on to affairs of state. Our little town of Granville is evidently considered (or considers itself) the Monaco of the North. So who better to open an art exhibit celebrating same than Prince Albert II himself?

We’re still miffed that he didn’t invite us in when we were in Monaco, but we decided to forgive him and go hear him accept the honor of a plaque commemorating this momentous event. Though he showed up an hour late, he seemed charming and the whole thing was so small-town like that it had its own charm. He didn’t get the looks in the family, but he seems like a really affable rich guy.

Yup, we are having a good time!

3 thoughts on “A bit of church, a bit of state

  1. Does Mont St Michel get cut off by the tides, or is it always accessible?
    Include St Michael’s Mount on your Cornish itinerary. It’s the ( much smaller) UK equivalent.

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    • They have just this year removed the old bridge which blocked the tides, and we came across on the new one, which won’t. They are carting away – truck by truck – the silt of 100 years – that the old one trapped. Someday soon, it will be an island again. (What were they thinking?)

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    • We met some Brits from Hampshire on the ferry yesterday who also suggested St. Michael’s Mount. We’ll see if our tour guide can work it in.

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