Welcome back to Travel Tuesday! I realize today is Thursday but alas, with hubby out of town it took me some time to get the photos I needed. Today I wanted to share my favorite spot in France, and quite possibly my favorite out of our entire Europe trip: Mont Saint-Michel.
Mont Saint-Michel is a tiny island in Normandy that can become part of the coast and then go back to being an island all in the course of one day depending on the tide. It’s made up of beautiful little shops and cobblestone streets that lead you to it’s main attraction, the abbey. According to good ol’ Wiki, the tidal island is a perfect reflection of the feudal society under which it was constructed: at the peak is God, then the abbey and monastery, then the great halls, and shops and housing at the bottom.
I think the reason I loved this site more than any other was because of how photogenic it was. In this social media generation where we are constantly flooded with other peoples’ selfies, baby photos and every meal they’ve ever eaten, I’ve sometimes seen people update their status proudly announcing a trip they’d recently taken with no photos to show because they were too busy “enjoying the moment” to whip out their phones. I agree with that, sometimes we need to know when to put our phones and cameras down. BUT for the most part, I’ve noticed that since I became interested in photography I’ve started seeing the world in new ways. Specifically, because light is everything in photography, I now notice it differently than I used to (or at all). While touring the Louvre I was of course wowed by the artwork, but found myself more so swooning over the seemingly deliberate way they lighted the museum. The windows seemed to create stunning streaks of sunlight further enhancing the beauty of the sculptures. While walking through the abbey at Mont Saint-Michel as well, I sometimes would feel my heart skip a beat while turning a corner and seeing how the light spilled through the stone windows. I’m not one of those deep artsy types, but over the years I’ve gained an appreciation for the how photography has opened my eyes in certain ways. On top of that, I will always have my photos to look back on and remember these moments. So I’m a big advocate of picture-taking. If you want to take a selfie or record your meals to remember a moment by, do it. My only regrets have been not taking enough photos at times.
I guess the point I was trying to make was that the reason I loved Mont Saint-Michel was because I loved the cobblestones, the beautiful stone abbey and how the light spilled into it, and watching the sun set and tide rush in at this amazing site. It was gorgeous in every way, and I highly recommend it.
Practical tips if you plan to visit:
Check the tide schedule. There are times of the year where the tide is so high it covers the walkway for a while so that no one can go in or out. Best to check the schedule and be sure you arrive at a good time. There are shuttles that run every few minutes between the island and the parking lot, very convenient. You do need tickets to enter the abbey, which can be bought there or in a tour package beforehand. There are also some other ticketed sites/museums you’ll run across while walking up the streets. We did one or two and they were kind of interesting, but short and we decided not worth the money. They also apparently do tours on the sandbar when the tide is out, but for us we just wandered outside the walkway to get these shots. There were two other people taking photos as well and no one said a thing, nor were there any signs indicating that wasn’t allowed, so I would assume it’s okay.