Day 99: October 29th
Mont Saint-Michel is an island off the coast Normandy, France. The island has been fortified for almost a thousand years now and since the eighth century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. The monastery also referred to as the abbey these days is perched right on top of the Mont and still functions today.
The most interesting thing about the island is the tides that surround it. At high tide, the island is completely surrounded by the ocean. At low tide, the water recedes an astounding 18km in some areas leaving the island accessible. In the old days, there was no bridge so people had to cross over depending on the tides. There is now a pedestrian bridge that allows tourists to cross over. When we were there, it was low tide and you couldn’t really see the ocean even in the distance. By the time we left, the tide had started coming in and we could see the open water in the distance. Very cool!
Tourists are prohibited from walking around the island during low tide except with a guide because the tide rolls in so quickly and in the past people have gotten stuck and had to be rescued. Really very interesting! I had never even heard of the island until we started planning this trip. The island is actually one of France’s most visited tourist attractions.
Later that day, we crossed over into Brittany and drove to the town on St.Malo. Brittany is known for its rugged coastline and certainly didn’t disappoint on that front. St.Malo’s most famous attraction is its old town called the Intramuros. We didn’t get to witness the tides here but I read that the receding of the tide at St.Malo is also pretty spectacular.
We had a nice local dinner in Intramuros and called it a night. Tomorrow we have another long day ahead..we’re driving into the beautiful Loire Valley region away from the ocean.