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.