31st March 2015 (Holy Tuesday): Driving through Medieval Towns and Salt Marshes {France, Easter 2015}

In the morning we set off towards the north of France through the provinces of Brittany and Normandy. There were not that many cars on the road so that was good, because the car was a scale up from what we wanted, and I had to get used to driving a bigger car than I am used to. And I’m bloody short so using a higher car was… a challenge. After a couple of hours we had to take a break because my leg was cramping.

Eventually we got to Gérande, which is a Medieval fortified town dating from the Wars of Succession. We walked around for a while and had breakfast, and saw a lot of speciality shops, among them lots selling salt. Here’s the La porte Saint-Michel, the main gate.

But, why salt in the shops, you may ask? Because Gérande has been famous for its salt marshes since the 19th century. And of course we made a stop to visit the Salt Marshes of Gérande. Did I mention “of course”?

Our destination for the day was Le Mont-Saint-Michel, the mount of Saint Michael (Unesco World Heritage Site). It is a tidal island in the area of Normandy in France, at the mouth of the Coueson river. It features a medieval town and a Christian Abbey and a monastery. The main buildings tend to be Romanesque and Gothic, and the atmosphere is really cool – you might have noticed that I’m a bit of Gothic-style fan by now.

It was chilly and windy, and to be honest I found Mont-Saint-Michel to be slightly disappointing. The construction and exploitation of the tourism side, with building a parking lot and so on blew up the tidal system a couple of decades ago and the island is no longer such. They’re working now to try to restore everything back to how it was, but at the same time they are keeping a bridge, although that one should work for allowing the tides to move through. It was overcrowded, but we managed to have a good stroll.

After visiting Mont-Saint-Michel, we headed off to find our B&B at a small village about an hour away. I took a long, long, hot, hot shower and we ate some snacks for dinner.