Located on the coast between Brittany and Normandy Mont Saint Michel was the first site in France to be registered by UNESCO, so I thought it worthy of a visit on our final tour de France. Signs for the real Tour de France were everywhere; the cyclists certainly put in a lot of kilometers in Brittany.
Our hotel was situated about a mile away from the site of Mont Saint-Michel. It was closed for the day but we decided to walk over and watch the sun set behind it.
As it sank, we were treated to another spectacle; the rising tide. Just like all of Brittany, this area has an exceptional rise in water level; the most in all of Europe.
Twice a day, the tide changes at Mont Saint-Michel, with a difference as much as 16 meters (50 feet)! The average world wide is two meters.
This makes for some strange sites around the boat docks and shorelines of Brittany. During low tide you’ll see folks out on the mud flats collecting oysters and mussels.
You’ll also see a lot of this:
Okay, back to the sunset. It was grand. Although I know it is a daily phenomenon, having a fortified city built on a rock jutting out of the sea while being backlite by continuous bands of ever changing colors – makes it worth a two mile hike.
This is something everyone in our family enjoys. You really can’t beat a beautiful sunset.
Heck, you don’t even need that pointy rock in the photo.
The next day, we followed the rest of the tourists into the maze of stores within it’s walls.
We climbed up several ancient stairways and checked out the view from the castle. It was a clear morning and you could see for quite a distance. The weather would soon turn on us, however.
We left Mont Saint Michel and traveled northeast toward Caen. Our destination was Etretat and it’s beautiful sandstone cliffs. We could see the cliffs from our hotel, and I realized the morning sun would hit them. I left our window blinds open so the light would wake me early. It didn’t. Not because I slept through it, but because it never came. Instead of a gorgeous sunrise, I got this:
It wasn’t raining but the sky was all clobbered up and the wind was howling. It looks like my plans to hike the cliffs were foiled by grey weather.
We headed up the coast, making frequent stops when magnificent views convinced us to brave the elements. Here’s a view of Etretat from the cliff above.
Notice the menacing cloud at the top of this photo:
We hugged the coast as much as the roads would let us all the way up to Dieppe. Sagan jumped out with me and braved the wind, taking photos with her own camera. Hers differ wonderfully from mine in that she focuses on plants and insects that interest her. I’ll have to get her a macro lens.
The day started to clear up just as we needed to head south toward our next hotel. The colors of everything intensified. The landscape changed dramatically with the light, and it begged to be captured at least by my camera – perhaps by my brush later. No wonder so many artists travel to the shores of Normandy!