Mont St Michel – avoiding the Hordes

Arrived here at 3 pm – which I recommend as the tourists all head back to Paris soon afterwards and you can savour the island’s peace and beauty.

The driver parked the bus in the overnight car park. We have locked most of our luggage in the coffre (boot) and we all plodded in through the entrance to wend our way up to our hotel.

Expect stairs and lots of  ’em.  

I took the top room at the top of one of the top hotels halfway up to the top of Mont St Michel.  I am sitting in my lofty eyrie on this stunning island listening to the seagulls and staring out the window at the pitched slate roofs, winding cobbled streets below, green shuttered hotels clutching the steep street, the enormous tidal bay, the little Romanesque church and the monumental cathedral perched above us all. It is 28 degrees, the sky is blue and I appear to have my own little castle here. 2 little attic rooms and a bathroom and bath with a view to die for. In heaven once again.

Just about killed off all my tour group getting to our hotel an hour ago with all the steps and stairs. I have checked on them to make sure no one has infarcted yet. They’re all flaked out resting. I am about to scamper out in an hour when all the Tourists have scarpered and climb the mount myself. I adore this place. It’s just a shame so many other people do too…..

Strange French Story…..

On our way here today I happened upon a small café stop in the middle of nowhere in Brittany as one of my group needed a pee. The woman owner had a moustache and got quite a fright when I knocked on her door and asked for several coffees at 10 am. But the funniest thing was her husband! Francois Michel collected old bric-a-brac from bygone eras and naturally I had to inquire from him what the hell the four different-sized long handled-cylinders were that he had in pride of place on his mantel. He told me they were for “cleaning beasts”.

I looked perplexed and so he showed me a sepia photo taken at the turn of the century of a donkey having the biggest of the four cylinders shoved up its back passage. There were about 10 people in the photo all dressed in their Sunday best for some reason…..

I didn’t think herbivore quadrupeds got constipated.

Much hilarity from the group and then he took us all out the back and I have never seen a collection like his. Most of it banned these days as too violent and cruel – those Bretons GOD! Long things to remove teeth from old cows, long iron things to remove testicles from anything, long things to burn and seal the blood afterwards. I had to translate all this from toothless French into polite English. Much hilarity. Our French bus driver was in stitches. Francois-Michel must have been 90 but a passionate collector of bygone animal torture devices.  His little shed was a rabbit warren of brocante (“collectibles”) covered in dust and jumbled up in piles.

Anyway  back to le Mont St Michel – most of the Hallo Kitty’s have now left the island to return to Paris and download their snapshots so I am off to mount the mount. This is such a beautiful place to visit but in my opinion only worth it if you stop overnight on the island. The Tourist hordes are enormous in the warmer months. You can wait in the car queue for a couple of hours in August just to park your car. 

The scriptorium in the Abbaye alone is remarkable. Be the first to get there at opening in the morning and you will have the experience to yourself.

Rather hot –wish I’d packed cooler clothing.

Stay warm. More later

Yours in Irritating Smugness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s