Mecca of tourists
We entered France through Normandy. There we made a couple of stops. From all those places we visited, three will forever stay in our memory. We write this blog in order to explain why and share the experience with you. Since one article is too little space for describing all three places, we have decided to make an article series. In this article we will make a stop at Mont-Saint-Michel.
For some strange reason Mont-Saint-Michel attracts tourists so strongly that millions of them visit this place every year. Well, that reason might not be that strange. Actually, it is quite natural that so many visitors arrive daily. Mont-Saint-Michel indeed is a very interesting in terms of history, very beautiful in terms of architecture and absolutely unique in terms of landscape and natural conditions.
When you walk through its narrow streets and on its city walls you naturally try to imagine how the life inside this microworld looked like through centuries. How did function this compact and incarnated middle age society sample? What motivated people to colonize this mini-island and build an unconquerable fortress on it? That the monks settled down here is no big surprise. They generally tend to avoid the earthly life. But why all the others joined them?
Picture of Mont-Saint-Michel on our FB site evocated immediate reactions. Positive ones. Some wish to visit this place, some already have and it was an unforgettable experience for them. Each of them would come back here at any time. Some dream of having their wedding in the abbey. We did not have any high expectations of Mont-Saint-Michel. Fortunately. Otherwise we would have been deeply disappointed.
Mont-Saint-Michel isn’t stretchable
May the organization of the tourist fluctuation be any great, Mont-Saint-Michel simply isn’t stretchable and has only limited capacity. You do not necessarily have to suffer of phobia of crowds to feel all the symptoms here. You simply have not many options where to move on this place. Crowds are everywhere.
Basically, you have only two options. Either you give up your free will and follow the crowd. Or you go your own way and experience personally that in fact there is no big difference between a crowd and a herd.
We hoped to share a tip with you on the time when this place isn’t overcrowded and when it is possible to really enjoy it. We are afraid though that nothing like that exists. There is no other possibility then to be patient and get prepared for anything. And so having your expectations set correctly you can expect only nice surprises.
Be aware of tourist traps and shifting sands
This whole blog is about the fact that there is a constant flow of tourists heading to Mont-Saint-Michel. It is hard to imagine that you could come here and enjoy the genius loci avoiding the classical tourist schemes. If you arrive by car – as we did – the only option is to leave it on the paid parking place on the mainland. There are only two tariffs – up to 2,5 hours and a whole day tariff. It is a good idea to check the prices online before you arrive.
There is a bus connection between the parking and Mont-Saint-Michel. Or you can walk. The island is accessible on a bridge for pedestrians, buses and horse carriages. The island is in a walking distance via the bridge.
The reason why we would like to come back to Mont-Saint-Michel is a walk in the bay at low tide.
Although we visited Mont-Saint-Michel at the low tide we did not risk it without an experienced guide. And we recommend you not to risk it neither. The bay is full of shifting sands and the high-tide isn’t to be underestimated. It moves unbelievably quickly and it can surprise an unexperienced visitor.