Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel, one of the main tourist attractions in Normandy and UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1979) as well and is also part of the French Jacob's Way.
The hill in the sea, situated very close to the coast line and close to the border between Normandy and Brittany.
Le Mont Saint-Michel dates back to to ancient times hand been the seat of a monastery since about 800 AD. More on the history of the hill will be in the next part of this special blog.
That hill in the sea is a complete tourist magnet. You cannot imagine how many people go there, unless you have been there yourself.
It is simply unbelievable. We are talking thousands a day. The tourist board published the annual number of visitors as being around 3,5 million people.
They used to have a dam there linking the mainland with the island. At the end of the dam / causeway they had had a visitor car park that lead visitors directly to the main gate. That was all discarded in 2009, when construction work began on a new dam and a bridge that connected the mainland with the island. The new bridge was opened to the public by its architect Dietmar Feichtinger on 22 July 2014. You can see part of the bridge in the above image.
They operate a free bus line between the hotels and the Le Mont. The bus goes every 15 minutes. You can also walk the distance from the hotels to the hill, which takes about 35 minutes, if you are not too slow.
Going to that place is a must.
Map location and route planner
It must be said that having not been there would have been a complete loss to myself, if not a personal desaster. In other words, going there is a complete MUST. When you just think about it, don't mess around, pack your bags, your camera, your video and off you go. This is a tremendously superb site with plenty to see. The following pictures were taken on Tuesday the 19 Dec 2017.
Inside the ramparts of Mont Sain-Michel
This image was taken at about 1000h in the morning, while standing below the ramparts of the monastery. The images shows the mainland in the early morning sun and looking over the roofs of the old village.
Although Mont Saint-Michel is basically a monastery used to be a fortress in medieval times there is also a small village inside the ramparts of the fortress. Mont Saint-Michel has a variety of hotels and guest houses that offer accommodation to the traveller. There are also pubs a baker and souvenir shops selling knick-knacks to the visitors.
That apart, Mont Saint-Michel also has a cemetery and several chapels which lie below the monastery.
Several flights of stairs lead the visitor up to the monastery which is fortified and guarded by solid walls. For the photographer: shooting in the village is alright. However, in the monastery there is the rule no tripod. Flash is allowed.
Le Mont Saint-Michel 24/7
Mont Saint-Michel is open to visitors all year and access is possible more or less 24/7. It is possible to do long-exposure photography if necessary.
During the night the place is illuminated and is wonderful to look at.
The image on the left is one of the first shots I actually took from the site after arriving there late in the afternoon at the hotel area of Beauvoir which is closely situated to Le Mont Saint-Michel. From this compound you either can walk over a dam and later over the bridge to the island or you take the free public transport, which is available from 0800h to 2400, going every 15 minutes or so.
Going to that place is a must.
Le Mont Saint-Michel is, even at night, most probably the most impressive landmark you can think of, and for the photographer doing long-exposure photography, it is a must, to simply have to train your lenses on the monastery.
Below are more images of what Mont Saint-Michel looks like at night. You can see the cobblestone street and the illuminations of the shops and hotels.
The Ramparts of Le Mont Saint-Michel
The fortifications of Mont Saint Michel are still intact and the visitor can circumvent the site by walking on the ramparts. See for yourself: