Monday, September 11, 2017, Mont St Michel, St Malo, France
First day in the Brittany Region of France. The weather is a little cloudy and cool, and the sun tries to break through the clouds every once in a while.
After a good night rest, some of us go out for a short walk. We walk down a small street of Cancale to the water edge, then up the hiking trail that takes us to various vantage points from which we can clearly see the city below and the oyster farms. Cancale is famous for its raised oysters and is a major exporter of oysters. The oysters here are extremely tasty and inexpensive.
Early morning walk. An oyster farm in Cancale
Oanh and Nhan in Cancale
On way to Mont St Michel. Cancale is behind us L-R: Oanh, Ha, Van, Lee, and Thu Ba
Horse-drawn carriage on causeway
Vinh, Van, Ha, and Hoa
Lots of steps in Mont St Michel
Charming buildings in Mont St Michel
Awesome background for pictures
Back to the home, we shower then sit down for a sumptuous breakfast of French bread, cheeses, jams, fruits, juices, and coffee, and talk about our plans for the day.
Then we begin the 60-minute drive to Mont St Michel, an island off the coast of France where a monastery was built on top of a mountain and is surround by a quaint village.
Near Mont St Michel, we are directed to a huge parking lot from which tourists are taken to the island by trams or horse-drawn carriages on a long causeway between the mainland and the island since no cars are allowed on the island.
The monks built the impressive Mont St Michel monastery in the 6th century on this island because of its remoteness and complete isolation during high tides, and a village was built around the monastery. Villagers built homes, stores, hotels, and restaurants along a winding stone stairway all the way up to the top. In 2014, the French government opened the new causeway to ensure the island is accessible at all times and that has brought more tourists to Mont St Michel. There are 50 permanent residents on the island which is visited by 3 million tourists every year.
We're in Mont St Michel
A warm and sunny day in Mont St Michel
Walking on top of the wall in St Malo
The crowded tram drops us off on the causeway about 200 yards from the base of Mont St Michel, a perfect location for picture taking. We wait until the crowd dissipates then begin to take pictures before we walk to Mont St Michel entrance.
Walking on the stone steps, we see colorful souvenir shops, somber museums, beautiful churches, busy hotels, and restaurants that look out to the sea. Taking our time, we follow the path up to the top of Mont St Michel stopping frequently to take pictures of the magnificent views. A couple of hours later, we reach the last steps which is also the entrance to Mont St Michel Abby but since we don't have time to go, we hang around admiring the views and taking more pictures.
Then we slowly begin our descent back to the parking lot to have a picnic lunch in our car. The visit to Mont St Michel is well worth the time.
Having dinner at Cafe du L'Ouest in St Malo
Mont St Michel is a stunning village
Everything is amazing here
Going back towards Cancale, we take a fork in the road and veer towards the coastal town of St Malo, a beautiful town known for its fortress, active sea, narrow streets with high-end stores and great restaurants.
Finding a place for Hoa's big van to park takes time but we finally find one inside the fortress. We lock the car, then walk along the wall until we find one of the staircases that takes us up to the top of the wall. The path on top of the wall is high above the ground, wide enough for two-way pedestrian traffic, and protected on both sides by short stone walls. Walking on top of the wall, we can see the sea and the boats on one side, and rooftops and the vibrant town below.
Beautiful street in St Malo
Beach of St Malo at low tide
Beautiful town, beautiful ladies
Vinh and Van with the waitress
Back down on the street level, we walk on the narrow coble stone streets, take pictures of the beautiful stores and restaurants, and shop for local delicacies.
Getting hungry because of all the walking, we decide to have dinner before heading back to our home in Cancale. We pick a restaurant near the wall called Café de L’Ouest because it looks busy. The restaurant is packed with early diners but they give us a table right away. We order our foods, a long list of soup, salad, streaks, and seafood and although the service is great, the foods are very average.