Posts tagged “dinard

Mont Saint Michel


We started off early today by driving to Mont Saint Michel.  It was a short drive from our hotel in Dinard and only took about 45 minutes.  As I suspected, there were hundreds of people from all over Europe attempting to get in.  It’s fascinating…. you park the car in a large parking lot, you walk a fair distance to where the shuttle bus stops, and then you have to walk a large distance to get from the shuttle bus to the abbey – it’s a ton of walking.  That just gets you to the entrance.  From there it’s a series of very steep steps to get to the top platform where you then tour the abbey itself.  At first, I honestly thought that it was a huge tourist trap with all sorts of souvenir shops and such and would be a total bore.  On the contrary, we had a great tour guide when we entered the abbey itself and were enthralled throughout the one hour tour of the abbey.  He was French, of course, but had lived in England for many years and had a lot of funny things to say about the French.  At the same time, he had a wealth of knowledge around Medieval life in the abbey and had stories that were both fascinating and humorous.  It was a great time.  Here are the initial pictures I took of the abbey…. it is so impressive, particularly on a day like today with fluffy clouds and blue sky.


Approaching Mont Saint Michel from the parking lot


The abbey viewed from the shuttle stop


A closer look at the abbey


Rich posing with one of the knights


Here’s a view of one of the many series of steps


The panorama from the top platform of the abbey


Looking up


Inside the abbey


A beautiful fresco in the abbey


The rock upon which the abbey sits – it’s supposed to be good fortune to touch it – of course, I did


St. Michael himself


When we returned to Dinard, we dropped off the car and walked over to a beachside cafe where we had a couple of beers.  We took our umbrellas because the skies were beginning to look quite ominous.  All of a sudden there was thunder and lightning and the skies literally opened a torrent of rain that lasted about a half hour.  It was so torrential that we actually saw a couple of sea rescues of a few people in a sailboat and another couple actually walking along the sand.  I captured a series of pictures which chronicle the before and after effects of the rain.


Before the storm


Beginning of the storm


After the storm


It was a wild half hour or so with everyone taking lots of pictures of the rain.  Through it all, we quietly sat under the cafe awnings drinking our beers:



It’s a Belgian beer so we must be getting ready for Belgium.
That’s all for tonight.  We’re off to Omaha Beach tomorrow and then to Honfleur.  We’re hoping for a nice day without too much rain.


Saint Emilion to Dinard

Here’s a map showing the distance we drove today from Saint Emilion to Dinard – it’s a distance of 320 miles.  We didn’t encounter any problems along the way but Marie (that’s what we named our Navigation voice) wasn’t cooperating too well.  I wasn’t sure what settings were in place but they definitely didn’t include the most direct route.  She sent us through tiny villages when we left Saint Emilion and it was raining on top of it all.  After about an hour or so, I told Marie that we were taking matters into our own hands.  We finally ended up on the autoroute and then were able to move fairly quickly.  The toll was about $32 for the entire length – a lot of money, but well worth it. We got to Dinard about 2:30pm.  Here are the pictures from our balcony:


Here’s the bay at low tide


Again at low tide


Side view from the hotel

Low tide


We couldn’t understand why all of the boats were sunk in mud when we arrived around mid afternoon.  I checked into the tides at Dinard and discovered that we were at the lowest point for the day and that high tide would arrive about 9:30pm and rise an incredible 36 feet!  It is really very hard to believe but take a look at the pictures of the same views later in the day:


View from our balcony at high tide


Notice that there’s very little ground now showing


Even less now


It’s unbelievable how quickly and how enormous the tides change.  Apparently this occurs twice or maybe even three times a day.  The last picture was taken somewhere around 10pm and it was still light.


This last picture is for Anette.  Anette, you asked for a watercolor and I had already determined that the watercolor would need to come from the northern part of France.  We were in luck today because we saw a young artist while at a seaside brasserie who was painting with water colors.  We asked him to paint a special picture just for you:


Watercolor scene


Isn’t  that a great scene?  Now we’re not done yet.  We asked him to superimpose both Rich’s and my faces down below somewhere.  And see that island with the castle in the background?  We asked him to paint a tiny Eiffel Tower on that island just for you.  Parfait, n’est-ce pas?


That’s it for tonight.  It’s been a long day and we’ll have more stories to tell tomorrow.