Mont St. Michel

For our last day in France, we took a bus out to Mt. St. Michele.  This is a truly brigadoon-like structure – a monastery that was built during the 8th century, and still exists.  It was fortified and built into a tiny town in the 15th century.  Today there are 25 residents, 7 of whom are monks and 8 are sisters, still conducting 3 masses a day in the church.  There is an elevated road that leads there now, but you used to have to wait for the tides to get out there.  They have the second strongest tides in the world here at Mt. St. Michel.

Here it is as we approach at low tide. We are lucky to have a (relatively) warm-ish day (ok, it's quite cold, but I know it could get sooo much worse!) and no rain.

Check out the sheep crossing the road! They graze here because the grass is so salty, and so the meat is pre-salted! Clever french....

Aren't they cute?!  Hundreds of these - I've never seen sheep on a beach before.

These little "windows" are for shooting arrows.

Standing on the drawbridge. They needed good protection because Brittany tried to claim the monestary from the Normans. William the Conquerer and all that....

One is forbidden to wash one's feet in this basin, OK?

In the 8th century, one would shoot arrows out of this, in the 21st, we just stick a surveillance camera there.

Incredibly steep ramps and steps up to the monastery up top. 80 meters high.

View from the ramparts about half way up. Looking out into the bay at low tide.

View of the only route in and out - at high tide the parking lots are underwater.

Up on top - the colored doors were once the monk's dorms, directly next to the main entrance to the church.

Up on top of the monestary, looking down at the granite flooring of the plaza outside of the main church entrance. The workers only got paid for the number of stones they laid, so they carved their initials into them to keep track. I found a bunch of As!

Lovely shot looking down on the bay

Sua in a big fireplace. Of course, the monks couldn't have heat, this was only in the quest room for when the kings came to visit.

Pretty little garden up on top of the mountain.

From the ramparts looking down into the main street of the town.

The only two British canons left on the beach from when they tried to take the monastary during the 100 yrs war in the 15th century.

A very cool modern coat in a very old place.

Back in Bayeux for the evening, we walk the streets and spend our spare Euros on amazing treats from the bakery. J got a chocolate coconut confection.

I got the Sainte Eve - a specialty of Bayeux. It has no wheat flour in it - I negotiated that one pretty fluidly I must say. It is the best thing I have ever eaten, I think. Like a meringue, but with almond cream inside and ground almonds dusted on the outside. I went back and bought another with the rest of our change for tomorrow.

Sitting in the window of our little hotel room - finally warmed up enough so I could wear the shirt I made before we left without a big old sweater on top.

One of our students turned 16 today, so we had a big group dinner for our last night. Here we are after we ate, in the quiet streets.

Sadly, we must get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning to take a long bus ride back to Paris, then a 9 hour flight to Chicago, then back to Asheville.  It will be a long hard day.  Can’t believe this trip is ending so quickly!  I must find a way to come back more often.  I’m thinking international Pilates teaching????!!!!  Off to bed for a few hours.  Au revoir!

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