In Normandy there is a place called Mont St Michel – the mountain of Saint Michael.
In the vast plains around it, lambs eat the salty grass that grows from the sea water and people eat their salty meat.
Mont St Michel is an island, except for the road that was built to access it.
Sometimes the tide comes in to surround the island at the speed of galloping horses.
The signs tell you when you need to remove your car from the parking lot if you want it to still be there when you get back (and not swept away by the tide).
Mont St Michel is a tourist attraction now,
but it wasn’t always. It was once a small abbey and nothing more,
and then a little city started building itself around it.
But the abbey is still the most important part of it.
Don’t bother bringing your strollers, let me tell you.
It’s one set of stairs after another.
But the view – oh the view!
It’s breathtaking (and windy)
and high up.
Inside the abbey the children are quite at home, and play King of the Mountain.
This is a birdbath, according to Young Lady. “Look maman – there’s water!”
Um yes honey, something like that.
Many of the restaurants have panoramic views
and they serve the specialty omlettes of the region (eggs that foam?).
Not quite what you want to order when your son is teething and has a blowout,
(and your husband has to run back to the parking lot to get a change of clothes while you pick your way through the delicately prepared dishes in your undershirt because you got hit too).
Good thing this restaurant is also a hotel so there is an area to stand him in the sink to wash him and dry him with clean towels.
Phew, clean and changed in time to finish his ice cream and …
have a second blowout! Aye aye aye – to be sure. Double duty this time with Sir holding him naked on the little table while I scurry around trying to tackle the debris all around.
Then he pees all over Sir’s shirt.
And says, “Je t’aime Papa.”
(Who’s King of the Mountain now?)
Not much else to do in the abbey after that excitement except run through the cloisters
and learn the letters.
And feel small in the face of such history.