Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mounting the Mont

It was a great ride through the country and our only concern was the limited kilometers (900) on the car rental. At Gare Lyon they handled it as a new rental, and would not agree to unlimited miles at the counter. I called the US National number, reminded them of the original problem and they changed it "in their computer" to unlimited miles. They scare me, but at least I got a name and confirmation number.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 Mont St. Michel, FR

Another clear blue-sky Normandy Day. Shortly after we left the cemetery yesterday the clouds departed and though cool, the air was moisture free. Just what we need to get good views of and from Mont St. Michel (MSM). Em really seems relaxed and definitely likes being in the country. The beauty of this beach belies it's past.

We stopped at Isigny-sur-Mer for a tour of the factory that makes the world famous Normandy caramels. We, and 47 other bio questionable people, stood next to the machine that rolled, cut and wrapped them. Perhaps the lack of what we would consider “sanitary” adds that special flavor. They are excellent and we did make a few purchases in the gift shop on the way out. Good find, Kat.

On the way to MSM and the excitement (mine) was building with each passing km. I'm blown away with the approach to the small mountain in the bay. The excitement however did not seem to be spreading to the other occupants of the car, but I attributed that to the fact that it was before noon.

MSM turned out to be packed with people, the most we’ve seen here. A lot of kids so it must be a French school holiday as well as the US. There was a group of kids arriving at the caramel factory as we were leaving (our timing was impeccable). Since they came on a bus we figured school was in session. Who knew.

Literally shoulder to shoulder walking the narrow streets we wondered how our Em was handling this. On previous visits we’ve just about had the rock to ourselves. The tide was not going to come in until 10:00 at night (it has the second fastest tide in the world and something to behold), so there was no way to really appreciate the place.

It was hot as we walked (and dragged Em) up the stairs toward the abbey where we hoped it would be less crowded. We considered taking the tour, but the line stretched down to the museum shop and no spot offered shade. With all the restaurants full, we kind of settled for omelets for us and pomme frites for Em (her favorite meal - she is going to look like a pomme frite) at the Hotel du Guesclin. The view is spectacular and we tried in vain to get a room for the evening. Sold out. In April. The parking lot is full to capacity.

So on a day when what you thought would be a highlight, turns out to be a disappointment it seems something magical has a way of happening.
(It reminds me of our trip with Adam and Kristin to Amelia in Italy where a routine autoroute hotel stop ended up with a great experience in a walled medieval town).

We found a room in a nearby town, Beauvoir. And it did indeed have a Beautiful View. The hotel turned out to be the real plus. Typical old French with the rooms extending laterally on the second floor over the lobby and restaurant below. One can imagine the pilgrims stopping at this little wayside inn. The houses give validity to the word charming.

Behind the hotel there is a small bridge (with a spectacular view of MSM) over the canal that drains into the baie. All along this canal is a landscaped park. Perfect picnic location.
The scene below reminds us of the poster we have hanging in our house, the picture of which is at the top of this page.

Always on the lookout for something sweet to eat, we walked to the Boulangerie down the street and struck up a conversation with the very nice female proprieter. What a contrast to the "pill" at Goncourt. A box of petit-fours and a couple of coconut cake sort of things with soda/water on the bench to a setting sun.

We read our books and tossed around the pink ball thing we got Emily for Easter until we were able to break it.

She's a great kid and still knows how to enjoy life like one.

Tomorrow we head back to Paris where our plan is to stay at the CDG Marriott using my hard earned reward points. We still have a full day of goofing off to do so a trip to Champagne seems to be in order. A little tour, a little bubbly, and we can hardly wait to see what else comes out of the mouth of this babe.

No comments: