Mont St. Michael is a picturesque Benedictine abbey located on a rocky islet near the French town of St. Malo at the junction of the Northern France provinces of Normandy and Brittany. The islet protrudes from a muddy flood plain that extends inland from the Gulf of St. Malo and is connected to the mainland by a causeway.
The abbey is an impressive sight, with its towering granite walls sitting some 240 feet above sea level atop a stratum of stone shops and small houses that angle upwards from the imposing stone wall at the base of the islet. It is a fine example of Gothic architecture, portions of which date from the thirteenth century. It was originally build as a medieval castle, and definitely retains the look and feel.
What's really great:
What’s really enjoyable is the walk from the entrance of Mont St. Michael up to the abbey. The stone walkways merge with the walls of the numerous houses and shops that line the route, with occasional overhead archways that help to convey the Medieval mood as you slowly spiral your way upwards. The view across the gulf from the upper balcony is worthy of at least a few snapshots, as was the young French girl who lead the guided tour through the abbey, whose eyes and cheek bones reminded me of the sultry Maria Schneider who played opposite Marlon Brando in the movie classic Last Tango In Paris; unfortunately, she never asked me “ooh” I was.
The are a variety of eateries on the walk up to the abbey. I particularly liked the fresh baguette sandwiches with ham, cheese and pate.
Omaha Beach, on the Normandy coast.
Take a drive along the Normandy coast and view the site of the D-Day invasion, perhaps the most important battle of WWII. You can walk out on the beach amid the shot-up, rusted and barnacle-covered amphibious landing crafts used to ferry in the thousands soldiers ashore, many of whom gave their lives to take and hold the beachhead.