Friday, April 15, 2011

Tourisme Francais

Je suis heureux de parler de la France aujourd'hui.
In other words...I'm happy to talk about France today.
Or something like that.
I love France...there is so much beauty there, a certain je ne sais quoi which I can't really explain because if I could then that phrase would not fit in this sentence. The countryside is gorgeous...the language is beautiful... and then of course there is all that fabulous food and champagne.

We spent five days in the Normandy region of France in the spring of 2004.
Any guesses as to what the subject might be for tomorrow's letter N post?
I'm getting ahead of myself...first comes letter M.
Incidentally, we are halfway thru the A-Z blog challenge.
M is lucky number 13-whoohoo!

M is for Mont St Michel

Image credit: Tom Curtis

Mont St. Michel is a rocky island situated about a half a mile off the coast of France. I didn't take this first photo but you need to see the island and the abbey from a distance to appreciate its size. It's a bit on the touristy side these days but amazing nonetheless. The 'town' used to be connected to the mainland through a land bridge that would appear and disappear over night courtesy of the tides but that problem has been solved. Tides are still an issue in the parking lot though and you are warned not to leave your car past a certain hour or it will be under water when you're ready to leave. Literally. Under water. As in covered in water.

I did take this picture-notice the sky?
It was tres froid the day we visited and consequently my girls are not going to enjoy seeing pictures of themselves in this post. We didn't have enough warm jackets with us so daughter1 was wearing a coat with a broken zipper that didn't belong to her and daughter2 was forced to layer up in a couple of fleeces belonging to the hubs. Throw in headsets so you can listen in English and learn all about what you are seeing and voila-

They are still adorable.
They will not think so.
Je suis sole mes filles.

I'm astounding you with my French today, aren't I?
There should be some accent marks in there somewhere.
My computer skills are almost as good as my French.

Mont St. Michel is best known as the site of the Norman Benedictine Abbey of St. Michel which sits at the peak of the island and is surrounded by winding streets and medieval architecture. The Abbey dates back to Roman times and was dedicated to the Archangel Michael in 708.

Yes 708 is an actual year.

The actual Abbey that is there today was started in 1023 and was built to help the church enforce its authority during the crusades. It can be seen in the Bayeux Tapestry which I'll talk about tomorrow but essentially that tapestry tells the story of the 1066 Norman conquest of England.

Here we have another not so great picture but I was attempting to hold my camera up high and capture the narrow feeling of the street-

That holding my camera up high trick never works for me.

Narrow little streets like this one wind around and around all the way up to the top of the 'mont' until you finally reach the entrance to the Abbey itself.

From the top of the mont you have beautiful views of the waterways surrounding Mont St Michel. The tides here are some of the most dangerous in the world. They come in at a quick pace and the change from low to high can be up to 60 feet.

We spent the day walking and climbing and listening and looking and shivering and laughing. And we made it back to our car before the tides carried her away.

One of the little things I remember from that day that still makes me smile was a postcard Daughter2 sent to a friend back in the states.
Here is what she said-

"Dear K,
We're in France. It is freezing. We saw monks.
Love, Daughter2

It is a wonderful thing to travel the world and see it through the eyes of the innocent.

If you'd like to read more from the blog challenge click the A-Z button on my sidebar.


  1. You know...I loved Mont. St. Michel...from a distance, simply breathtaking. BUT the place itself was so overrun with tourists (pushy ones) and shops it kind of made the actual experience less magical.

  2. Beautiful....I love traveling the world with you from my kitchen table. I feel like I've seen it all! Gorgeous pictures! I love the postcard home too funny!

  3. C'est drole. J'ai aime vos photos francais. Les fille ne parle pas avec beaucoup lettres que vous. Trois petit sur la postecarte!

    So concludes my lousy attempts at a language I know just enough of to be dangerous. Dangerously ignorant.

    Love the real-life sand castle!

  4. How on earth are your girls going to find excitement in life after the childhood they've had?

    I had no idea such an amazing place existed and they've seen it - and a lot of other things - already.

  5. Amazing! It is all so amazing! Love the underwater comment. I can image getting back to the parking lot see the car floting away!!! So how many languages do you speak? Enjoy the rain at your nd, it's coming here tomorrow night into Sunday but it will take our last bit of snow away.

  6. Very interesting. You really have seen the world. When are you coming to South America? :)
    Love the narrow streets of that one picture.

  7. So interesting. I was thinking that I definately need to learn some words in French!
    My husband booked our main flight. We will be in London for 4 days, me mostly by myself. Then Worcester or another town for about 5 days, mostly by myself. Then to Paris for about a week and then off to Italy. Then back to London to fly home. (21 days) How the heck do I pack for that????