Friday, May 9, 2014

Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel is a small fortified island that has been connected to the French mainland by a causeway, which is in the process of being replaced by a bridge.  The island is dominated by an abbey that forms its highest part.  Being the westernmost place we visited, it's not far from Normandy's border with Brittany.  At times in its history, Mont Saint Michel was connected to the mainland during low tide and then disconnected during high tide.  Just off the coast of County Cornwall, England is a similar place named St. Michael's Mount, which I visited in 2002.

Here's one view of Mont Saint Michel, as we walked from the shuttle bus stop on the causeway to the island itself.

Here's another view, closer and from a different angle.

Visitors walk up to the entrance of the abbey.

One of the many interior rooms of the abbey that we walked through.

Here's the cloister.

One room included this double fireplace.  The truncated pyramid shape reminded me of the American colonial-era furnaces that I have seen in Maryland.  One tourist looks up one of the chimneys while another gets ready to take her picture.

This garden provided a nice contrast to all the stonework we have been seeing.

At one time, supplies were brought up to the abbey using this wheel.  It's like a wheel in a hamster or gerbil cage, but scaled up for a human.

This is the Chapel of St. Stephen, with an altar and the arm of a tourist.

Finally, a section of the outer wall of the abbey.

After touring the abbey, we made our way down to the pedestrian part of the causeway, some of us taking in a snack at one of the small cafés along the way.  Eventually, we caught a shuttle bus back to the mainland and our tour bus in the parking lot.

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