Saint Michel is the name of the Abbey on top of the Mont Tombe island. This island, and others in the area like it, were created by years of erosion. The hard granite rock did not erode as much as the rest of the landscape and as a result, a small island was formed. Because of it's great position near the mouth of the Couesnon river and the sea, it has been a spot used for fortifications since the ancient times. The Saint Michel monestary has been there since the 8th century, and from then on, the island town has been called Mont Saint Michel. During low tide, the area around the outside walls become a massive beach with quicksand and puddles everywhere. During high tide, the town can be completely surrounded by water with access only by the front light foot bridge
. The best way to describe something so magnificent, I think, is to compare it with a place in Lord of the Rings. So I will. Mont Saint Michel reminds me of a small one-sided Minas Tirith. It is a multi-leveled town that traverses back and forth on one side of the island in a semi-circle till it gets to the big monestary at the top. The streets are very narrow for the large number of crowds that have to squeeze past each other. The whole castle town can hold quite a lot of people, just as long as they are spread out through all the levels. The monestary is on top with houses and stores lower down. At the bottom there is a massive wall all the way around. You can get to the island by a 1km road beside the Couesnon river. There is only beach everyway else. Our bus dropped us off very near to the front gates. The first thing we did when we got in, was head right up to the base of the monestary to wait in line for our tickets to go higher. It was a good thing we did this first because later in the day, the line was at least triple the length. Of course you had to pay to go to the top but it was very much worth it. The view was amazing and very unlike any of the castles we have seen before. We could also go in the cathedral, around the monestary, and through all the rooms at the top of the island. Once we were done that, there was so much more to explore. We felt like two kids exploring a new park for the first time. There were so many little roads leading to different houses and stores, with narrow staircases going down to viewing platforms or connecting back with other roads. We could walk along the edge of the outer wall and see the changing landscape of flat beachland, grazing meadows, and the sea off in the distance. But the most amazing part was walking on the outside of the outer wall all around the rock island
. It is very dangerous to walk on the surrounding beaches without a guide, but there are parts near the wall that are totally safe. We could see little tour groups off in the distance with some horseback riding groups too. The view of the backside of the island from the beach was most spectacular. I have a great 360 degree panarama shot of it that you will all have to see when we get back. We wished you all could have been there to see this one with us! It was great!!
I knew today was going to be pretty cool, but I didn't know it was going to be one of the most spectacular places we have been on our trip so far...