Sunday, September 10, 2006

The secret of Mont St Michel

My high school French text had a beautiful picture of Mont St Michel, isolated, rising above a vast tidal plain. I wanted to visit this castle-like abbey - I wanted to cross the causeway at low tide and explore the mysterious passageways and cloisters of the mount. So, yesterday I finally got my chance. The approach to Mont St Michel is through a clutter of tourist motels and cookie shops. Marginally classier than Pigeon Forge (there was no miniature golf - but in place of Porpoise Island or the Aquarium of the Smokies there was some kind of "Alligator Island" reptilarium). There are cars and people evrywhere. We payed about 6 bucks to park in a space that would be "reclaimed by the sea" in two hours. We fought our way through a throng of people - forevr in danger of being separated by shoulder-to-shoulder tourists. I freaked. This was not the lonely, windswept abbey of my French textbook. This was the line to the Grizzly River Rampage ride on a day of 2 for 1 admission. We stood on the ramparts and discussed strategy - how could we make this the experience I wanted? In the end, I decided we couldn't. I wasn't even going to be able to get a good photo - the sky was hazy and dull. So, we left - we just left after 15 minutes. I squeezed off a couple of shots and decided that I could put a tick in the Mont St Michel experience box. The weird thing was, when I reviewd my photos later, there was the Mont St Michel of my textbook - beautiful, isolated against the bluest sky. The secret of Mont St Michel is that it's incredibly photogenic.
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1 comment:

Sam said...

I hitchhiked France for several months in the low season some years ago. If you have an opportunity to return to St. Michel in early March, you will be rewarded with a mear smattering of tourists and wild, wind-swept waves rolling in at high tide. The weather is, of course, not as mild, but the absence of sweaty mobs of tourists is more than adequate compensation.