Autumn is the perfect time to explore this lovely part of Brittany. We have wood burners in each property just in case it should get a bit nippy in the evening - of course a glass or two of red wouldn't hurt either...
We have a dedicated board on Pinterest which is regularly updated with our special offers and late deals which you can find here: Special Offers & Late Deals at Ty Hir.
The Mont is dominated by an abbey dedicated to St Michael which has existed on the 80 m high outcrop since the 8th century. It is located at the end of a 2 km causeway in the middle of a wide sweeping bay.
La Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel is famous for its highly prized plump Bouchot mussels. 'Moules de bouchot de la baie du Mont-Saint-Michel' have been granted protected origin status by the EU and are shipped throughout France.
This time, well before we reached the Mont itself, there were signs directing us to a brand new car park on the mainland. The new parking facilities are part of a multi-million euro project to restore the maritime character of the Mont. The plan is that it will eventually once again become an island at high tide. To facilitate this, they are removing the sediment that has accumulated around Mont-Saint-Michel over many years. They are also improving the flow of the Couesnon river which enters the bay here by constructing hydraulic weirs which work with the tides. A new dam has already been created. Work began in 2005 and it due to be completed by 2015. It will be interesting to see it progress over the next few years.
We caught one of the new buses to the Mont. These had piqued our interest as they have a drivers cab at each end - I had been puzzling over how they would turn these around on the narrow causeway road, thinking that it would probably take me a 10 point turn. We watched, fascinated, as a bus drew up and the driver got out, walked to the other end of the bus and then hopped into the second driver's seat - genius!
If you want to find out more about this amazing project then take a look at their website: Projet Mont-Saint-Michel.
We arrived at the Mont around 10am on a Sunday morning and it was already busy. You enter the medieval town via the Boulevard Gate and then after passing through the King’s Gate, fortified with its portcullis, you will find the 'Grande Rue' which despite its name, is a narrow street that is lined with museums, shops and houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.
The small parish church of St-Pierre, the patron saint of fishermen, can be found on your left as you climb up towards the abbey which sits majestically at the top of the rocky outcrop.
The steep 'Grande Degre' or grand staircase leads you on up towards the entrance of the Abbey church. From here you can enjoy panoramic views over the bay and ramparts.
I exchanged a few words with another snap happy tourist from Canada. He hadn't been to the Mont for over 20 years - we agreed that the we were lucky to have such a lovely cornflower blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds to frame our shots.
Rejoining the massed throngs at the main gate we caught the packed shuttle bus back to the mainland, stopping at La Brioche Dorée at the entrance to the causeway to pick up our supplies for lunch, which surprisingly, if you have read my previous posts, included baguettes! The great thing about La Brioche Dorée is that they have viennoiseries so you can also indulge your sweet tooth (in this a case a tarte au citron et pain au chocolat) if you so desire!
After our Francophile feast, we went for a stroll over the beckoning salt marshes. Normandy is famous for its 'Agneau de Pré-salé' or Salt Marsh Lamb which graze on these seemingly endless salt marshes. The meat from the lamb has a unique flavour and tenderness (apparently, we haven't tried it yet - next time!). Except for the inquisitive and slightly nervous sheep, we had the place to ourselves as the no-one else ventured further than the picnic area, some not even leaving their cars to eat their lunch. This seemed slightly silly to us as their view was blocked by a hedge but hey, each to their own as they say...
We had a fantastic view of the Mont looming on the horizon accompanied only by our woolly companions. We felt so lucky as it's not everyday you get to see a sight like this, though we do hope to see it a few more times as we travel to and from Brittany in the coming years - hopefully some of you will get to see it too!