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2000 Cycling Season, July 14 - 15

Mont Saint Michel

July 14,2000, Friday - Mont Saint Michel

This morning we packed up all our gear into our little cross between a station wagon and a mini-van and headed for Mont Saint Michel. However before jumping on the highways, we decided to go track down a little chapel that Brann the artist told us about. Almost all of his paintings include a depiction of what we first we thought was Sacre Couer in Paris, but Brann corrected us and said instead it was actually a little chapel Sacre Couer nestled in the forest not far from MoŽlen Sur Mer. After lots through pretty fern covered forests on roads only wide enough for two horses to pass for about two hours we miraculously found the centuries old domed towers sticking up above the trees. Although this little chapel doesn't compare with the Sacre Couer in Paris it's setting in the forest made it worth the effort to find. If just for the opportunity to try capture it in pictures.

Brittany Sacre Couer

Brittany Sacre Couer

Sacre Couer In The Woods

Sacre Couer In The Woods

From here we made our way through the holiday traffic jams to Mont Saint Michel. As we cleared the last ridge of hills about 20k (16 miles) before Mont Saint Michel we could barely make out a strange little mound that had a pointy top sitting at the edge of the sea. Even from this far out, the spectacular setting of Mont Saint Michel stood out. As followed the line of cars down the road to Mont Saint Michel it became clear why all the depictions of floating castles in the clouds look so similar, they are all modeled after depictions of Mont Saint Michel.

Mont Saint Michel From Afar

Mont Saint Michel From Afar

What an amazing place. This area is known for some of the highest tides in the world. At some times of the year difference between high tide and low tide can be as much as 45 feet - I think that's enough to cover all of Florida! Because of this you can actually sit and watch the tide move in filling up the empty sandy areas that surround the island during low tide. Of course when the bay is mostly full of water, all this movement leads to some very strange currents, some of which you can see from on top of the Abbey as areas of stirred up sand.

Dorothy Watching The Tide Come In

Dorothy Watching The Tide Come In

Our hotel for the night was actually on the island of Mont Saint Michel. Darlene did an excellent job of getting us into an historic hotel whose walls are covered with artifacts from celebrity visits over the last century. We even had a corner room with one window that looked west out over the salt marsh, and one that looked south back over the causeway that links Mont Saint Michel to the land during high tides.

That evening we wandered through a self guided tour of the abbey that sits on top of Mont Saint Michel. The abbey was originally created in 708 A.D. after a local bishop had a visitation by Saint Michael instructing him to build a chapel at the top of the mountain. This kicked off several centuries of construction at the site. The longest continuous period of construction lasted 1000 year from 966A.D until sometime in the 16th century. For those of you back at the office, imaging how a project manager would feel inheriting 700-year-old project, which was only half way complete - uhg!

The Abbey At Mont Saint Michel

The Abbey At Mont Saint Michel

July 15,2000, Saturday - Mont Saint Michel

This morning we awoke to Mont Saint Michel with only a few tourists, rather than bursting at the seams with tourists like we found it. We also had the first clear sunny morning we had seen at least a week. We took advantage of the situation by hurrying through breakfast and spending the morning exploring the rest of the island before departing for Bayeux to visit the World War II D Day landing beaches and the Bayeux tapestry.

Mont Saint Michel With The Blue Sky

Mont Saint Michel With The Blue Sky