Tuesday 4 February 2014

Mont Saint-Michel Part Two

It felt like déjà vu waking up early to catch the 7AM TGV to Rennes where my sisters, the gorgeous H and stylish P and I would board the bus for the hour and a half ride to the famous rock at the coast of Normandy, Le Mont Saint-Michel. 

It was way back in 2010 when the Big K and I first saw this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can read about how our trip went in my earlier blog post here.

This photo was taken in 2010 before construction began for the Mont's restoration.

Getting to Mont Saint-Michel from Paris

Rennes train station, our jump off point for Mont Saint-Michel. The TGV ride from Paris' Montparnasse station to Rennes took approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes.  
Leaving the train station be sure to take the North exit to get to the bus station (Gare Routière).
The plaza in front of the train station. If you don't see this place coming out of the station you might have taken a different exit.
With the train station behind you, the Gare Routière is immediately to the right. Be sure to buy your bus tickets at the counter before boarding the bus (they don't sell tickets on board the bus when starting your journey in Rennes). Buy round trip tickets (billet aller-retour) if you'll be going back to Paris via Rennes.

The New Terminal and Car Park at Mont Saint-Michel

Unlike our 2010 visit where the bus drove all the way up to the walls of the Mont, this time we were dropped off at the new terminal and car park located at the mainland, a few meters at the start of the causeway. 

Starting in June 2013, access to the Mont through the causeway can only be by foot (30-45 minutes), free shuttles (les navettes) or horse-drawn shuttles (la Maringote).  

The Tourist Information Center at the new terminal/car park. 
The plan to allow the tides back that will make the Mont an island again, Project Mont Saint-Michel
La Maringote at EUR5.00 per person.
My sisters and I took the free shuttle.
Even with all the on-going construction seeing the Mont again still takes my breath away. Just imagine my sisters awe-struck expressions upon seeing it for the first time. Then out comes the cameras! 
View of the Mont's restoration project as seen from the abbey walls. Too bad we didn't get to see the tides on this visit.

Inside Mont Saint-Michel

Grand Rue or main street. The only street inside the Mont that leads to the abbey can be overwhelmed with modern-day pilgrims aka day trippers. We were lucky it wasn't so busy during our visit.
La Vieille Auberge where my sisters and I stayed. The inn has rooms at their main building along the Grand Rue (above) and at their annex farther up the street. We got a room at the annex (below) with a great view of the abbey's spires. 
And a lovely view of the bay from our room's terrace.
We also got a view of Mont Saint-Michel's cemetery and the on-going construction at the bay.

The Abbey

The archangel Saint Michel at the top of the spire. 
Crypte des gros piliers (Great Pillared Crypt)
Is that a huge fireplace or a really tiny tourist? It's both actually (but it's still a huge fireplace).
My lovely sisters, the gorgeous H and the stylish P. at the salle des Chevaliers.
The south wall of the abbey's church.

As the story goes, the Archangel Saint Michael appeared in a vision before Saint Aubert, the Bishop of Avranches and asked him to build a church on top of the rocky island to which the Bishop continuously ignored. Exasperated by the constant disregard to his request,  Saint Michael drove his finger into the Bishop's skull and ordered him to complete the task. Voila! It is finished! Talk about getting the job done.

An eerie quiet fills the Grand Rue after all the day trippers leave.
The abbey all lit up for the night.
It was a short but wonderful visit with my sisters at the Mont. I hope I get another chance to go back with the Big K after the restoration when Le Mont Saint-Michel becomes an island once again.

Helpful links:

Official website of Le Mont Saint-Michel

Access to Le Mont Saint-Michel

SNCF website

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