0600 the alarm goes off. We are staying at Saint Malo which is 50 minute drive to Mont Saint-Michel. High tide is at 0833 and the advice is to get there 2 hours before high tide so that you can see the tide rushing in. I am so fascinated by the 15 metre tidal range. They say the water comes in at 30km per hour, as fast as a racehorse. We are at the end of the spring tides so we want to go today to see it as high as we can. So we choose the morning tide as, being winter, the afternoon highs are in the dark. We intend to get there about an hour before high tide and see what we can see.
Navigating with Google Maps again, we find our way out of Saint Malo, and get to St Michel about 0730. Oh woops……. Its still dark – like really dark! We came to a barrier arm which needed a code or credit card to go through, its pitch dark and we don’t really know what to do. We reverse back out and find there are many many car parks. Only 2 other cars, not many other silly buggers here in the dark! We didn’t realise that the whole of the town/village was actually out on the “Mount” we really thought there was a village on the mainland before the access to the mount. But NO, there is a hotel and a restaurant and this car park – this HUGE car park, numbered 1 – 14. Google says it is still 3.5 km to our destination of the tourist office. We start walking and can see the majestic Mount lit up in the distance, but we are actually heading the wrong way, we are just heading to the far end of the furthest car park! We re assess and follow some lights to the road and make our way. We do get to the causeway and by now it is getting light, we make it onto the bridge right on high tide, so we don’t get to see the racehorse rushing in. We never would have though as we mis-calculated the darkness.
She is a beautiful site! We have had rain this morning and it is overcast, hence so dark so late, but still……WOW!! The end of the causeway was closed yesterday so we really are seeing her at her highest. A construction worker shows us the way in up a ramp, as the entrance was blocked by water, this is so cool! Legend says that the archangel Michael appeared to Aubert of Avranches in 708 and instructed him to build a church here. 1300 years ago! Then she was seized by Vikings, then, in the 10th century, the Benedictine Monks settled here and expanded the church. The English tried to capture her during the 100 years war and the abbey was closed in the 17th century and used as a prison until 1863, she has seen so much! But now she can rest as she has been declared a Historic Monument, since 1874.
We stayed on the Mount for about 2 hours, wandered around all the streets, went up and down many stairs, took many many photos but I feel they do not do her justice! This is a spectacular place and we are so thankful we got here!
We may not have seen the tide racing in, but in the 2 hours we were there we saw the evidence of the tide receding, it is quite a site to see