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- Visiting Europe
Travel to France: Mont-St-Michel small tidal Island
Little rocky island in Normandy
One of my favorite places and also one of the most amazing tourist attractions in France is Mont-St-Michel, a little rocky island at the mouth of Couesnon River in Normandy. Also known as St Michael’s Mount, it is well-known for the medieval Benedictine Abbey that occupies most of this rocky, tidal village.
Mont-St-Michel is connected to the mainland via a 2km long causeway. In earlier times the island could not be reached at high tide, only at low tide. Due to the Couesnon River being canalized, the water flow has been reduced making the island more accessible. Plans to build a bridge have still to be realized.
A mount in the middle of salty swamps and one of the most visited monuments in France, perhaps even in the world.
The amazing Benedictine Abbey
The main attraction in St-Mont-Michel is the Benedictine Abbey. You pay an entrance fee and can then explore the Abbey at your own leisure. Or you can join a guided tour at no extra charge, or hire an audio guide for another few euro.The climb is hard but once you get to the courtyard of the Abbey Church you will have a view of the Bay, small islands, even people on horses out in the Bay and other amazing views of the Abbey.
Also visit Notre-Dame Sous Terre Chapel (Our Lady underground) and the medieval church, St-Pierre with its statue of St. Michael killing the dragon.
The attractions of La Grande Rue
Wander at leisure in the village to watch the islanders continue with their daily activities. You can also visit the many interesting souvenir shops. Perhaps eat at La Cloche Creperie in the main street (le Grande Rue). If you sit in the main area, you can watch the cooks prepare the dishes. There are several restaurants to choose from, but they are all a bit overpriced. There are so many tourists that the town can feel real crowded at times.
After visiting the town, try to also go to the bay to get a different perspective of the Mount. Walking barefoot in the sand is an experience you will always remember. But be aware of the dangers of the tide and quick sand so never venture alone into the bay.
I already visited France several times, including spending a year in Paris. This "Wonder of the Western World" will always be one of my favorite places in France.
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