Normandy - Mont St. Michel

Mont St. Michel is one of the most dramatic tourist attractions in France.  We could see this site of an 8th century monastery emerging from the haze as we wound toward it on a narrow country road.
We parked in a lot that is submerged at certain hours by the tide.  Fortunately, it's very predictable and the signage was very clear about when we needed to vacate.
The monastery towered over us as we drew closer.
The island was overrun by tourists on the main path toward the monastery.  
We took a brief detour up a steep staircase that took us onto a less congested path to the top.
We passed moss covered homes...
...and a small cemetery.
We admired the low-tide view as we climbed higher.
A small spigot protruded inconspicuously from the wall leading up to the monastery.
We entered the monastery proper, bought our tickets, and had a look around.
We emerged onto a stone courtyard with sweeping views.
The tide was low and people (see the red dot below) were taking the opportunity to walk to the small island in the distance.  Guidebooks caution to be mindful when doing this.  It's easy to get lost walking on the sand in the fog and the tide comes in fast!  It's said to sound like a freight train.
We stopped to enjoy the speculoos flavored (and giant sized!) macaron that we'd bought that morning in Caen.  It tasted divine.
We entered the church and looked up at the huge vaulted ceilings.
We entered another smaller courtyard that the monks used as a place for silent reflection.
The path was lined with sharp arches.
We went inside and looked through the glass at the sea below.
We caught a glimpse of a well and another small garden.
The monastery was once used as a prison.  Workers would mount this wheel (hamster style) and drive a sled up and down the steep face of the cliff.
The walls of the church were incredibly tall.
After climbing to the summit, we made our way back down via a winding path on the exterior of the monastery.
Stark trees obscured the view of the sea below and protected visitors from the cold and wind.
We stopped to admire the monastery from below.
It looked particularly striking against a backdrop of colorful flowers.
We spotted a gallant figure in a nook along the wall.
We scrambled out onto the rocks near the parking lot.  A winding channel of water had carved itself into the sand.
We spotted lovely seashells embedded in the silt.
As we retreated to the car, we captured some panoramic views of Mont St. Michel.
We hadn't driven far when we pulled into the parking lot of Biscuiterie de la Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel.  We could still see Mont St. Michel in the distance.
Inside, we were treated to samples of buttery biscuits.
Historic cookie stamping equipment adorned the lobby.
We sampled and bought a few treats before jumping back in the car for a quick pitstop in Granville.

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Sidewalk Safari: Normandy - Mont St. Michel
Normandy - Mont St. Michel
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