Bonjour tout le monde! (Translation: my french sucks, but hey!)
I am here! And by here, I mean:
Le Mont St Michel; you can all see the appeal of it, right?
Because, yes, it is this beautiful peninsula that got Disney creatives all inspired for the design of Corona, the island kingdom from Tangled!
So last night I caught the ferry from Portsmouth, and arrived in Le Havre at about 9am this morning and dived straight into not just the adventure of getting here, but also driving on the wrong side of the road (silly British girl I am). Now bearing in mind, before today I have never driven for more than maybe 2 hours continuously, let alone on the other side of the road, I found myself fairly comfortable with the whole situation! My new satnav, the TomTom Start 25 got me through all the tricky navigating malarky, so all I had to really do was listen, and stay relatively calm (which I did!) and about 3 hours later I caught my first peak from the motorway.
I’m not gonna lie, I welled up a little. It was that sort of gasp moment when you set eyes on the castle in the Magic Kingdom for the first time. After a series of windy little country roads I came to the official car park for MSM – peninsula and all, you can’t drive straight to it – but there are free shuttle buses, or you can pay for a rustic horse-drawn carriage-shuttle. I’ll warn you now: free shuttle sounds great, but parking was €12.50. Personally, I’d been stuck in a ferry all night and car all morning, so I chose to walk in; the information centre says its a 50 minute walk but it definitely didn’t take me that long, and I got to stop along the path and take a million pictures of this beauty!
MSM itself was actually both bigger and smaller than I imagined it to be; stay with me here..
While when you get to it, the abbey is towering and enormous, the village at the base isn’t all the much; lots of gift shops, a few restaurants and a sprinkling of small hotels, pretty much all crammed into one main street (which I loved!) and then various pathways and passages, the majority of which lead to the abbey.
By this point, I hadn’t really eaten at all, so I made the rooky mistake of stopping to buy food at the first place I saw; of course it was going to be overpriced. That said, a ham and cheese baguette, vanilla macaron and can of Coke for €10 isn’t too outrageous, but I found places further up the street were selling the same things for a little less.
After exploring the street(s), I ducked into a smaller church building for a quiet moment, before heading up to the abbey itself. Whether you’re walking it yourself or having a guided tour, you have to pay entrance, which was only €9 and I chose to pay extra for an audioguide, which I would definitely recommend if you’re not going on a guided tour. The buildings are stunning, but there’s no information around the rooms as you might expect, so without an audioguide I wouldn’t have really known what I was looking at!
It really is enormous, and that’s without access to all the areas! There was another ‘historic’ tour available, which offered tours of the dungeons, prisons etc, but personally it didn’t appeal to me all that much, so after I was finished in the abbey I wondered the gardens and hidden paths, and the top of the wall that surrounds the village. When the tide is out, school groups can walk out from the beach for ages before water gets above knee level, and there were quite a few of them about today!
So I was actually done after a few hours, and made my way back along the path to the carpark before making my way to the hotel for the night; given that I slept fairly rubbish on the ferry, I want a fairly early night tonight – its not that I’m boring! Plus, I got Cinderella on DVD for an early birthday present so I’m gonna stick that on and watch the sunset over the abbey from my hotel window – its a great view!
Good night my lovelies!