This was our first view of the abbey from the parking lot.
From Wikipedia, "According to legend, the Archangel Michael appeared in 708 to St. Aubert, the bishop of Avranches, and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet. Aubert repeatedly ignored the angel's instruction until Michael burned a hole in the bishop's skull with his finger."
Then Aubert got to work. The abbey originally housed Benedictine monks with the town growing up below. It all sits on a rock in the the English channel. At high tide it almost becomes an island and at low tide pilgrims (and now tourists) like to atempt the muddy walk from the mainland. (You have to go with a guide as the tides can come in quickly and be very dangerous and there is apparently quicksand in places as well.) We stuck to the shuttle and bridge route. Amelie is more interested in the doggies.
It really is awesome looking though. I took a lot of pictures.
Charlotte and Toby wanted to take a picture that looked like they were holding up the abbey.
Then we began the walk up to the abbey.... through the gamut of tourist shops. Only 50 people currently live in Mont St, Michel.
The fitbit said we climbed 34 flights of stairs.
Rob carried Ami in the backpack the whole way up!
(I carried her on the way down.)
Morning sun over the abbey with St. Michael atop the tower, sword in hand, ready to vanquish Satan.
Inside the chapel.
This little garden is a nice spot of nature in all that stone work.
Originally this giant hamster wheel was used by the monks to pull supplies up through a window. During the French Revolution, the monks were evicted and the Abbey used as a prison. Prisoners then had the privilege of powering the human hamster wheel. In the 1860s the prison was finally closed and the site became more of a tourist destination. (Though the Benedictine monks did return and still reside in the Abbey.)
We loved Mont St. Michel... but it is so very covered in tourist shops. Afterwards we drove over to St. Malo and enjoyed an ice cream cone and a visit to the playground. St. Malo is a walled island city that was notorious in the middle ages for piracy. St. Malo was almost completely destroyed in World War II but has been rebuilt.
It took us 30 minutes to find a parking spot outside the walls and the restaurants were packed with tourists. But we enjoyed the park and some conversation with the locals.
Au revoir St. Malo!