Famous Mont Saint-Michel & Chartres Cathedral–Distant Yet Similar to Each Other

in France

Taking the advice of a friend and Rick Steves’ guidebook, we overnighted on Mont Saint-Michel.  Please read OUR BLOG about the semi-unpleasant experience with parking far away, our hotel, and dinner. But we enjoyed our visit to the actual Abbaye du Mont Saint-Michel—both night and day. This famous land is a peninsula except during very high tides when it becomes a tidal island, covering up the large mud-flats surrounding it. As of mid-2014 the new causeway is rarely under water, despite the almost

 

50-foot difference between lowest and highest tide. After dinner Rick and I walked/panted up the hill to see close-up the Abbaye glowing at night from its many lights and surrounded by the dark ocean. The next day we walked back up to the Abbaye entrance for the 1st tour. Fortified since ancient times, it has been a monastery since the feudal 8th century A.D. then an abbey as well. The views are as impressive as the buildings, looking over the mud-flats to the tourist village and through the thick fog, the Normandy Coast.

Our last visit in France was Chartres Cathedral.  The 1st much smaller Chartres Cathedral on this site was from the 4th Century, and after many iterations, burned down. Built in the late 1100s, the current cathedral has had multiple remodels and additions over the centuries. The 2 main towers are different, the architecture changes from 1 spot to another but it is a lovely cathedral for religious history buffs or if traveling from Loire to Paris.  I think it is actually my favorite on the trip.  See OUR TRAVELOGUE for more details.

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