Well Worth the Crowds

Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
Trip End Aug 17, 2009

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Flag of France  , Normandy,
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August 5th was our true first day in France.  We were up early and headed out to the Abbey.  As I had hoped we would, we drove through Domfront as I heard it was a picturesque mediaeval village.  Would have loved to stop but wanted to get to MSM as early as possible.  At one town not long before the Abbey we were able to get a glimpse of our first Market Day...cannot recall the name of the town so I may update later.  I don't recall it taking much longer than 1 hr / 1.5 hrs to get to the abbey, including a stop at a grocery store for some necessities.  I learned at the grocery store that "ou est le salle de bains" is not something people say in France - they just say la toilette!  That was a throw back to elementary school French! 

Just as we first saw the abbey, traffic slowed down to a crawl leading to the causeway.  One way in - one way out (unless you go by foot across the mud flats!).

So, we got parked, walked to the island and wound our way through the throngs of people to the top.  Unfortunately it was so crowed you could not stop to peek into the windows of the little shops in the "village" very easily.  It would take some maneouvering to get back in the line up so you had to make a stop worth your while.  I wanted to see where they made those world famous omlettes - I did find a place and I believe the price as 25 Euros so I took a pass on trying one of those.  We got to the top and stood in line for tickets to get into the Abbey.  We stood in line for about 40 minutes.  At times it was very hot from the sun beating down when exposed, but enough breaks in the cool shade of the stone walls to be bearable.  I have to say the wait was well worth it...We opted not to do a guided tour or an audio tour, and just roam around and explore.  Using the handout pamphlet we were able to understand what we were seeing and enjoy ourselves.  We were lucky enough to get to the abbey just as mass was being held, and sitting in the 1000 year old building and listening to the voices chanting in Latin was a highlight.  Other highlights included seeing people travel across the mud flats on horseback, the Cloisters and seeing authentic half timbred Norman buildings in the village.  Also, the views from the ramparts were truly spectacular!!!!  I loved seeing the number of cars from the ramparts in the parking area and lined up along the causeway!

We grabbed a quick lunch inside the walls and I don't recall the name (salad with some chicken in it - we were starved so anything would have done) before leaving, heading off towards Carentan...
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