Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a 247 acre island community (population: 44) in the Normandy region of France. The island has been inhabited since ancient times, and has been home to a monastery since the 8th century A.D. From Wikipedia (because I cannot say it better myself): “The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: on top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers.” The island is accessible by foot during low tide but is completely surrounded by water at high tide. There is a 46ft difference between high and low tide. Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by 3 million people each year.
One convenient thing about the main highways in France is that there are many signs for common attractions, so we always knew whether or not we were going the right direction.
As fans of Band of Brothers, we were excited to see a sign for Saint-Lô, a town mentioned in one of the episodes.
To get to Le Mont-Saint-Michel, you park your car in one of the many, huge parking lots and can either walk over a pedestrian bridge or take a shuttle to the base of the island. We opted to walk, which gave me the opportunity to photograph the island as we were approaching it.
The pedestrian bridge (which is the same bridge that the shuttles drive on) starts on the right side of this photograph. It’s a bit of a walk, but the view of Le Mont-Saint-Michel is definitely worth it.
The building with the light blue shutters stood out among the other buildings and quickly became my favorite.
The island is a rocky outcropping and today is a combination of rocks and buildings. Pretty plants and flowers are able to grow in the rocks.
This cat seemed interested in us but took off before I was able to pet it (probably a wise decision since many people are unkind to cats). We saw several other cats on the island.
The businesses all had illustrated, medieval-looking signs similar to this one. I enjoyed looking at them.
We didn’t find out about the tours of the mud flats surrounding Mont Saint Michel at low tides until we were already there, and we were a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to participate in this adventure. The mud can quickly turn to quicksand, so they strongly recommend that you don’t trek out into the mud unless you’re with a guide. This is a pretty interesting article about the tours.