There is nothing I love more than being in a place I've never been, and I pretty much just want to go everywhere...
I can't get enough of travelling and sightseeing, so this blog is dedicated to the cool little places I would someday like to go.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"La Merveille de L'Occident" : Mont Saint-Michel

Has anyone seen the movie The Woman in Black? If not you should, it's pretty good. But anyways, in the movie, Daniel Radcliffe is a lawyer and he gets stuck overnight on this creepy island you can only reach when the tide goes out. Pretty scary. But what's cool is that there's basically a real life version of this island, and it's open for business.

Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky island in Normandy, off the coast of North-Western France. The Mont has held a fortress since early medieval times and also served as a monastery. Today, 44 people live on the island. 

Mont Saint-Michel at twilight

Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island, which means it can only be reached at low tide. Originally, the road that led to the island was covered during high tide, and the island was completely isolated.  Nowadays there is a raised causeway, so the Mont is always accessible, but it is still very dangerous to go out into the bay alone, because the tide changes very quickly.

I actually wish there was no causeway, because call me crazy, but the idea of being stuck on the island between tides sounds totally thrilling to me. Kind of creepy, but really cool. What I love about the island is the haunting architecture, and the idea that people have been coming to this island and staying in this building for centuries, doing the same things that people are doing here today.

Mont Saint-Michel consists of a Gothic style abbey and the village that was built around it, both of which date back to 700 AD. The abbey is an artistic and architectural feat, and its rugged walls and delicate towers almost seem like a natural part of the island.

What to do? There are several hotels around the entrance to the causeway, as well as within the walls of the Mont. The village’s main street, the “Cour de l’Avancé,” has original historical buildings and shops which sell food, jewellery and other souvenirs in the tradition of medieval shopkeepers. You can visit the Abbey and the Parish Church, which was built in the 1400’s. Classical concerts are frequently hosted in the Abbey. There are four museums on the island, covering the history, culture, archaeology and ecology of the island. Rates are reduced for non-European young adults (score).

What to eat? Salt meadows surround Saint-Michel, and are used for grazing sheep. Apparently, the salty diet of these sheep gives their meat a unique flavour. “Agneau de pré-salé” (salt meadow lamb) is a local dish that can be found in the island’s restaurants. I’ll have to pass, since I’m not a huge fan of lamb, but other specialties include omelettes and seafood from the bay, which can be enjoyed at numerous restaurants within the walls.

According to Wikepedia, Mont Saint-Michel was the inspiration for the city of Minis Tirith in the Lord of the Rings. I thought that was pretty neat. (Apologies if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)


  1. You wouldn't mind being stuck on an island?! Are you crazy?! I think I would have a panic attack after two minutes! But I guess that is just me. With an island that pretty, I guess getting stuck wouldn't be too bad though! I will definitely have to check out that movie you mentioned.

    1. Well if I was with someone that would be fine, but If I was alone...different story. But yeah I think for an overnighter or something that would be sick! And yeah you should, it's a good scary movie but not too crazy scary which is good for chickens like me...

  2. Uh... I'm pretty sure this is Hogwarts, but okay... I'm wondering if the architects knew abut this feature when they built it. What do you think?

  3. This is probably the creepiest place I've ever seen in real life, haha. The fact that only 44 people live on the island, too... I don't know, it gives me the willies.
    That being said, I could imagine filming some wicked scenes at this place. Also I just had an idea, Renee I have a proposition for you!
    Would you spend a good degree of time here, do you think? The last post was a day trip--would you spend a night here?!
    Also it looks a lot like Minis Tirith. I'm buying that rumour.

  4. Mitchell I didn't even think of that but I actually think it looks way more like Hogwarts!
    I would spend a night there, but I wouldn't want to spend more than a few days so isolated...better make sure you like those 44 people.

  5. That's pretty interesting. I saw the movie, but I never thought that people actually lived there. I thought it was one of those abandoned buildings. It seems like a really creepy and horrifying place in the movie, but seeing all the lights on, like in the first picture, it seems kind of homey. It looks more like a fairytale castle. Anyway, I would love to go there just to see the architecture alone. Medieval buildings have such intricate handiwork. All the masonry is done by hand and with no help from machines. It's amazing.

    1. Yeah I absolutely love architecture, especially medieval, it's so beatufil.