A couple of weeks ago, I had a three-day weekend from work, due to France’s “Armistice Day” holiday (sort of similar to that of Veteran’s Day in the United States). That said, it would be a sin not to have gotten in some traveling then, even with my limited money in my bank account.
At first, I wanted to go to Paris for the long weekend. However, plans fell through when my friend who lives there said that he couldn’t host me for those nights, so I scrapped that idea. It appeared that I wasn’t going to go anywhere, and instead just be bored at home in my small town.
However, I got a chance to go to le Mont Saint-Michel on Friday with the German and British teaching assistants whom I lived with. The week before, I had been talking with the German teaching assistant and had asked about her plans for the upcoming long weekend. She had told me that her colleague was taking her and the British teaching assistant over to le Mont Saint-Michel as a day trip. Of course, I got excited for her, since I’d gone there back in February (for that post, read here). I then *sort of* asked her if there was, by any chance, that I could tag along as well, and to my surprise, she said that it shouldn’t be a problem! Turned out there was room in her colleague’s car (she would be driving us over there) and that I could go. Long, boring weekend no more! 😀
I, along with the German and British teaching assistants, headed out Friday morning to take the train first to Rouen, where the colleague lives and would be picking us up from. Also met the Portuguese teaching assistant and together, we made the two-and-a-half hour journey down to the place, located in Lower Normandy near the border with Brittany.
We arrived at le Mont Saint-Michel around 12h30 and hungry, got lunch at a restaurant several kilometers away from the site. Considering that it was a long weekend (and with surprisingly sunny weather), the restaurant was packed with tourists. It took us a while to get seats and order, but in any case, I enjoyed my buckwheat crepe with salmon, cream, and scallops- yum! 😛
After lunch, we drove over to le Mont Saint-Michel, parking the car in the lot (still a few kilometers away from the site) and making the walk over. As I had said, it was a really nice day, sunny and warm. A slight wind, but nothing compared to the chilly, windy temperatures back in February when I went with a friend. It was absolutely perfect. ❤
We arrived at the base of the “floating island” (not really an island, but during high tide, it appears that way) forty minutes later, then proceeded to climb it up to the abbey, located at the site’s summit. There were lots of tourists (of course) wandering the narrow streets of the old town center, so we had to weave our way through them as we took the stairs up. Made it to the top and got our tickets to enter the abbey. I actually didn’t have to pay this time, since I have an education pass from my school, which guarantees free entry into some monuments in France…including this one! So glad; it beats having to pay 9 euros! 🙂
We entered the abbey, first checking out the nave before passing through several small rooms that were once used by the monks and others who lived in there. The cloister was fantastic was always.
Also passed through the room with fat pillars before entering the room with a spoke-wheel and a lovely view of the sea.
Continued going from room to room before ending our tour of the abbey inside the Knight’s Hall, which is personally my favorite room: the lighting, both natural and artificial, gives off a warmth glow in that you can’t help but feel happy inside. Majestic and welcoming, it remains a classic for me. ❤
We ended our tour there, passing through the souvenir shop (I didn’t get anything) and heading outside to check out the gardens (or at least, what’s left of it as it’s nearing winter) and taking a moment to check out the views of the sea from up top. Afterwards, we descended back down to the old historical center, still crowded with tourists despite the setting sun. More souvenir shops and restaurants (expensive, of course) and after wandering the narrow streets, we exited the site to check out the beach (well, that during low tide) before making the walk back to the parking lot to go home. As we headed back, le Mont Saint-Michel lit up for the evening, which I hadn’t gotten to experience before last time I went. You can bet that I took lots of photos of the beautiful sight!
Made it back to the parking lot, and proceeded to make the long journey back home. Got stuck while exiting the parking lot, since everyone else was exiting at the same time and had to pay for the parking tickets and everything. But after that, it was smooth cruisin’ all the way back!
The colleague dropped us off in our small town close to 22h00, considering that we wouldn’t have made the last train back from Rouen. It was really nice of her to go out of her way to do so, and afterwards we pitched in to pay for gas and whatnot. Went back to the flat, and I crashed for the night.
Overall, I’m glad to have spent the day out, even if it was to revisit a place that I’d not-too-long-ago been to. It was actually very nice to see it second-time around, and especially to see it light up in the evening. Spending time with good company was a definite plus, too.
All right, more to come in my long weekend of travel. Made another day trip, so stay tuned for my adventures in Paris, France! Take care.
— The Finicky Cynic
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