Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mont St Michel


If you know me well, you'll know my heart doesn't do a lot of skipping and leaping but it sure as hell did a leap, might even have skipped a beat, too, when I first spotted Mont St Michel in the distance.  It's a mesmerising sight even from afar.  Little wonder it is one of France's most recognizable landmarks and attracts more than 3 million visitors each year.  


The staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination.  It's been an important pilgrimage center since A.D. 708, when (according to legend) the Archangel Michael told the local bishop to "build here and build high." With uncanny foresight he reassured the bishop, "If you build it…they will come."  Believe that if you will!


I started taking photos from the car park which is over 2 km from the island.  From there we made like sardines in the modern electric shuttle bus across the causeway to join the throng of tourists winding our way through the narrow village street bordered by museums, restaurants and shops.


The walk in the abbey is a one-way route through fine — but barren — Gothic rooms. A rented audioguide explains where you are as you explore the impressive church, delicate cloisters, and refectory (where the monks ate in austere silence).  A highlight is the giant tread-wheel, which six workers once powered hamster-style to haul two-ton loads of stones and supplies from the landing below. This was used until the 19th century.

  

We were constantly climbing steps towards the abbey at the top.  The crowds thin out the higher you go and the beauty of the place becomes more awe inspiring and, in my case, literally breath taking.  But I made it to the top.  Or as close to the top as tourists are permitted to venture.  There are plenty of places from which you can survey the bay stretching from Normandy to Brittany. 


There's no way I can convey the beauty of the place.  It is simply magnificent.

I'll share here, also, my favourite photo of the day:



8 comments:

  1. Pualine, folk were as gullible as they are now. The nes we have now could never build this. Just educated dumb clucks with no foresight.

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  2. PS.
    I would never have believed yo had the last image in any camera you held. It's perfect.

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  3. Wow, mine would too! My daughter brought back a lovely painting from there, which I had for a while, but now it's in her own house!

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  4. Impressively beautiful! It looks like a place you could not get tired of seeing.

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  5. It's truly magnificent but I don't think I'd find it particularly moving 'spiritually'. The last photo is a real gem too.

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  6. Pauline your photos are excellent. I loved this place - and tell Graham that inside the simple chapel at the top, was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had. I love viewing grand cathedrals for their art and architecture, but this church had centuries of silent prayer and meditation absorbed in its walls. i am not a chills type person, but the hair on my arms and neck stood up in that chapel.
    and the construction was over several centuries. it was attached, bombed, nearly destroyed and rebuilt. incredible place.

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  7. Thank you for that information GingerV. I've found spirituality in some surprising places (Rheims Cathedral was one of the most unlikely) so I'm pleased to read your comment.

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  8. I had to come back and look again, then went to "Flowers" to review my posts. And thought that we, amazingly have very simular photos. I hope youndon't mind that I add a link to your link. http://gingersflowers.blogspot.com.br/search/label/Mont%20Saint%20Michel

    ReplyDelete

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