Dave: We had read much about the silt build-up
caused by poorly planned construction, and the periodic flooding of
the parking areas. However, there are plans in place to completely
redo the access road and parking for the island, so by the time you
read this story, the logistics and layout may be entirely different.
It would be nice to return to the historic situation of being
entirely separated by sea during high tides, the original
justification for the structure in the first place. (Click HERE
to read about this historic engineering project).
So we parked the car (for free) and walked across the small
drawbridge and into the imposing structure. The narrow passage
spirals counter-clockwise up the island toward the cathedral at the
very top. It is impossible to describe the delightful experience of
walking thru this ancient structure, with each turn holding a new
surprise. It was quickly obvious that we had neither the time nor
inclination to walk to the very top during this visit, and so
we sought out both souvenirs and dinner.
We had watched a Rick Steve's video about his visit to Mont St Michel
where he made a great fuss about the famous omelettes prepared here,
so that was a requirement for our dinner. The structures nearest the
entry included several souvenir stands that were due to close soon,
so we selected and purchased several items. We walked up the trail
less than one half rotation, and stopped when confronted by a large
staircase leading to a hidden turn. We passed a small chapel and were
surprised to see a young man in monk's attire (right down to the
sandals) step out of a door and wend his way up the curving staircase.
Since we had already passed several restaurants, we simply chose one
and headed back down the path toward dinner. Our host was loud,
unpleasantly exuberant, speaking "tourist English" for us
and directing us across the room to a selected table. But the menu
(English and French) and setting (windows and terrace overlooking the
walls to the outer tidal flats, made up for the unpleasant predictability.
We were offered overpriced wines and mineral waters, as well as
dinners, but it was for the experience. But the omelette, when it
arrived, was the worst. It was HUGE (per the video) but tasted awful.
It was bland, and filled with a tasteless froth. I had expected
pungent cheese, or sweet cream, or tempting spices to flavor it. But
no, it simply brought to mind supping on thin wallpaper paste. Oh well.
The rest of dinner was grand (what can be wrong with French
cuisine?), and our time together was delightful. When we finished our
marvelous entrees and delectable desserts, we wandered back down the
spiral path and emerged just as sun was setting and the walls were
spectacularly back-lit. What a wonderful way to spend our last day in Normandy.
Free Parking! My favorite words.
The narrow passageways circling the island structure
Our last dinner in Normandy, a famous omelette appetizer
to enlarge this picture of
Mont St Michel at Night