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Travel

Throwback Thursday: Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

I thought I would start a new series here on Love in a Suitcase – Throwback Thursday. I have so many trips and experiences from our years of traveling that I have never shared. The photos are just sitting on my hard drive, and the memories are sitting in the back of my mind – probably destined to slip away if I don’t commit them to writing. So for the foreseeable future, I’ll be sharing these memories with you. Bear with me, some of these trips were a really long time ago, and some of the photos are old. It’s amazing how far my photography has come (I feel like I didn’t even know how to use my camera back then).

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

For our first big day trip while living in France, we decided to visit one of its most famous sites, Le Mont Saint-Michel. It’s an very small island in the Normandy region of France. It was about a 3 hour drive from Angers, and we did that and visited Saint-Malo before driving back. It was a long day, but well worth the bleary-eyed drive home.

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

The entire island is centered around an abbey. From afar, it looks like a beautiful sandcastle, and depending on the tides, it can be completely surrounded by water. The abbey was originally built in 700 A.D., but the current buildings were constructed much later – after the original was destroyed. It’s protected by ramparts and other structures, but of course, they’re no longer relevant.

When you enter the walled city, you come across endless souvenir shops, hotels and restaurants – the natural result of years of tourism – but if you can look beyond that, you’ll see beautiful winding paths that lead toward the island’s main attraction.

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

Be warned. There are a lot of stairs here. Not the most I’ve ever climbed, but it was definitely enough to wear me out. But, the stairs lead somewhere after all, and the view is unbelievable.

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

See what I mean about the water surrounding the island when the tide is in? Sometimes people walk out there, and they could very well get trapped by the tides. After taking in the view, you can wander around the monastery and abbey. Some of the rooms are enormous and empty, and others seem cramped with tourists, depending on the flow of the visitors.

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

When you’re finished with the inside, take your time and walk around the ramparts. Just follow the endless paths of stairs and walkways that surround the area. There’s all sorts of things within the walls – a museum, hotels, a park, etc. We found the best part of visiting Mont Saint-Michel was just walking around. Before returning to sea level, stop at a cafe for a glass of wine, or if you’re hungry, order my favorite – les moules frites (mussels and fries).

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France | Love in a Suitcase

After this, we drove about an hour or so to Saint-Malo – a small, walled city in Brittany – where we wandered around for a about an hour or two before heading back to Angers. I don’t know that I would suggest doing all of this in one day though, we were so beat by the time we made it back, and the drive was through a ton of really small towns and winding roads. If you want to see both places – and I suggest that you do if you have the time – book a room for the night so you can relax and enjoy the scenery.

More Throwback Thursday fun:

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  • Reply
    Kendall
    July 27, 2014 at 3:07 am

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  • Reply
    April
    April 9, 2015 at 10:50 am

    We are trying to decide if we can do the beaches of Normandy, Mont St. Michele and St. Malo in 2 days, with an overnight stay in the area. We also wanted to see the cliffs of Etretat, but there just isn’t time. How much time would you dedicate to each of these places? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      April 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      You definitely can do these in two days! I would suggest going to Normandy beaches one day and Mont St. Michele/St. Malo the other day. You could either stay somewhere in between or stay in St. Malo. Either way, I think you’ll be able to see everything within those two days. Are you driving from Paris?

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