Mont St Michel

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 grins.

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.


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I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in France, La Famille (The Family), Le Passé (History), Le Tourisme (The Hot Spots), Les Français (The Frenchies), Tourism, Tout le Reste (Everything else)
18 comments on “Mont St Michel
  1. Barbara says:

    This is one of my favorite places in France! It is absolutely beautiful!

  2. Ado says:

    Oh I love Mont St. Michel! I love that photo of your son apres-blowout in diapers at a beautiful table. AND THAT OMELETTE!!! Mon dieu!

  3. Christi says:

    That is spectacular! I would love to visit here. Your son having a blow-out there is hopefully something you can look back on and laugh about. A couple weeks ago, my little one had a blow out on the summit of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. I blogged about it too. :-)

  4. Andi says:

    I loved Mt. Saint Michel when I went, luckily it was not that crowded.

  5. Kudos to you… I think I would have called the day done after the 1st blow out. That is quite an impressive little city… love the photo of it in the distance.

  6. Glamamom says:

    Do you know, I’ve never heard of this place before! It looks magical (tourists and all). Researching now…

    Looks like an awesome trip (minus the blowout)

  7. Jackie says:

    So magical. Except for the throngs of tourists. (How did you negotiate those sidewalks?)

    From a distance it looks like something right out of Harry Potter.

  8. At least your King of the Mountain didn’t pee in the birdbath..

    Small blessings.

    Like these pictures. Which are simply gorgeous.

    I love feeling like I’ve visited these places.
    (without the blow outs.)

    Double blessings.

  9. amanda says:

    It’s never a dull moment w/ children is it? These are gorgeous photos! I’ve never heard of Mont St Michel, but would love to see it one day.

  10. Julie says:

    I have been dreaming of going there for a couple of years now… someday I’m actually going back to Europe to see this as well as the Netherlands. :) (Yes, I live in Holland, Michigan USA and have never been to the “motherland”.) :)

  11. Carole says:

    I love that place, but haven’t been for decades. Actually forgot about all the steps and views! That last photo really puts it in perspective.

  12. cocomino says:

    Great place which I really want to go to this famous place.
    I was surprised that there was a Japanese word ” セントジェームス”

  13. That photo of your son running in the cloister is a prize winner! Now I’m confused about where to travel in France next summer. Because I will clearly need about a month to be satisfied!

  14. I have been enchanted by Mont St. Michel since I studied it in an architecture class in college. I hope I’ll get to see it in person some day.

    I love the way you created this post – a perfect mixture of great photos of a beautiful site and the all-too-familiar realities of life and travel with little ones.

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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