Le Mont Saint Michel – visit again, not sure

We first visited Le Mont Saint Michel (MSM) in March 2020, just days before COVID shut the world down. This is Tricia standing on the bridge as we approached the island. (You should read her blogs for more history and photos of MSM.)

We just revisited MSM his week, actually spending the night on the island. Tricia of course took photos. This one is the view from our hotel window as the tide was coming in, one of the fastest tides in the world I have learned.

Our friend Tim’s reaction to this photo was: “THESE are the views and perspectives that persuades me visit there.” I get that, yet here is another photo Tricia took this week and this is what persuades me to question if I would want to go back.

This was taken during a rare moment of sun, the rest of the time it was pouring rain and we got soaked. Yet it is not the weather but the crowds that I take issue with. Walking shoulder to shoulder in a crowd, winding your way through one tour group after another makes appreciating the beauty so hard.

It is sad to me that this pilgrimage destination for so many faithful folks over hundreds of years is now anything but peaceful or conducive to meditation and prayer. In the cloisters where monks once walked reciting their prayers we waited in a crowd to go down a flight of stairs to another chapel full of people where the devoted once attended services.

Folks who know me are not surprised at my tendency to avoid travel crowds, so I add Le Mont Saint Michele to the places that I have been to and loved, but now would be reluctant to revisit. Our first trip was amazing, this week’s just not as much.

Yet MSM is a marvelous place and so sketch worthy, here are a couple more I have done. The first is from my journal when we were here in 2020

Testing out my new markers just a few weeks ago.

This is one I did just this week, the stonework and views are so interesting, yet this time the crowds and weather made sketching on-site problematic so I did it in the hotel room from a photo.

So, would I encourage you to visit, probably, however get there early, go in the off-season, and take a lot of patience. Don’t expect great meals, but there are places with amazing views that compensate for the food.

Please be kind to the folks that work there, they try. We are so accustomed to great service in France, yet we felt the pain of the servers who greeted people with bonjour, only to be ignored, or to see them wish folks, “Merci, bonne journee” as they left only again to be ignored. So if you go say hello, in any language, and say thank you as you leave, it will brighten their day.

Le Mont Saint Michel is memorable, I am glad I have had the opportunity to experience it, will I go back? Most likely not on my own, but if friends need a tour guide I might be persuaded.

As always keep traveling and sketching.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely post and sketches. We were so lucky on our first visit when it was mostly empty; a rare occurrence I’m sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. But it was such a memorable time, that is the visit I will remember most fondly.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree, crowds don’t appeal to me … Le Mont Saint Michel looks like such a lovely place, what a shame! At least you have your lovely sketches to look at – love the one of Tricia with the red handbag!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And if you haven’t done so already check out Tricia’s blog, she has posted some in the past I think. Yes a beautiful place for sure, thanks so much.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. David Buehler says:

    And yet you attended numerous Husky games with me and those large crowds. But, that was different in that a visit to this site one expects to be more placid, quiet, and contemplative.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The difference is that at a football game you go knowing the crowd is part of the experience. The operative thought is “crowded tourist” places.


      1. David Buehler says:

        I thought you would feel that way. I would love to visit the Colosseum in Rome or the Eiffel tower but the crowds are immense and so I won’t.


      2. Our experience at Eiffel was even more horrible. The crowds were so tight and intense near the elevators that even though the three of us were gripping hands to not be separated the crowd still pushed us apart. I stayed with Alexis onto the elevator, Tricia had to catch a subsequent car. No view in the world is worth all of that.


      3. David Buehler says:

        No, I remember you describing that event to me in person and thought, “well I am crossing that off my bucket list”. Besides, I have seen the one in Las Vegas (and even took the elevator to the top for a great view) and the one in EPCOT. So, really, I have done it all. lol


  4. Shirley says:

    Really an enjoyable posting. Your sketches and photos actually captured our experience many years ago—crowds, heat, crowds….and more crowds. At least you had the hotel and that view. The thing is–once you look at Mont Saint Michel, either in a photograph or sketch, you forget all that and just appreciate the beauty of the village stretching around the ‘mont’ stopped by the steeple. Beautiful. I loved your reminder to tourists to not be unbearably rude when entering an establishment. Such courtesies should be observed all over the world—but sadly…..aren’t.
    Thanks for this post….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right about the courtesies. In France any place you enter expects and gives a greeting, and after the interaction, even at the supermarché “merci, au revoir, Bonne journée,” is exchanged by all. Courtesy yes but also cultural expectation, we like it.

      Liked by 1 person

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