Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mont St-Michel by Margot Justes

Along with Susan Miura, I'm working on A Taste of France, and one of the places we'll discuss is Mont St-Michel on the Normandy Coast, one of the wonders of the world. To say it is magnificent would be an understatement, the tiny rocky tidal island has been designated a World Heritage Site in 1979, and rightfully so.

I visited Mont St-Michel many years ago but the memory is still vivid, the effort to haul the huge rocks using pulleys and heavy rope to built the houses, church, and the imposing abbey must have been astounding. My imagination soared at the thought of the unbelievable accomplishments in such a harsh and isolated environment, the only way out during high tide was by boat.

A culture already existed by the time the Romans left in 460 AD, the history is rich, varied, and surprising, during the French Revolution the island was used as a prison.
If memory serves, the Scarlet Pimpernel was imprisoned there. If you're looking for a romantic historical adventurous read, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is perfect. My copy is yellowed with age, and I won't part with it.

From afar St-Michel looks like a hunk of rock, but as you get closer, you begin to see the exquisitely carved mystical work of art, man-made sheer stunning beauty, from the cloister, to the church and abbey along with the homes where people lived and everything in between. The crowning glory sits at the top, the Medieval Benedictine Abbey, whose spires are visible for miles.

The high tide that comes in fast and furious, and has been described by Victor Hugo as "a la vitesse d'un cheval au galop" roughly translated, "faster than a galloping horse". A must see treasure.

Working on The Taste of France, made me realize, it's time to re-visit.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris


Morgan Mandel said...

What some people have to go through and conquer for civilization is truly amazing!

Morgan Mandel

Deb Larson said...

Awesome - I love hearing about your travels.
DL Larson

Margot Justes said...

Yes it is, and look what we now have to treasure.

I promised myself one good trip a year. This year I booked a 12 day cruise form Rome to Egypt and Israel.


June said...

I have always found Mont St Michel interesting. Thanks for writing about it and I would love to see pictures if you have any!

Margot Justes said...

I'm still going through the old slides, and will post if I find more.