A daytrip to a special place!

Trip Start Feb 09, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of France  , Brittany,
Monday, April 1, 2013

Blue sky, but still pretty fresh outside (8degrees) We decided to go for a short drive to Le Mont-Saint-Michel. It really pays to see this place in sunshine! Wow, what a place. It is ever so dominating in a flat landscape, you can see it from miles away. It started out in 706 when Archangel Michel requested Bishop of Avranches to build a church. In 966 a group of Benedictines settled in at the request of the Duke of Normandy.  In the 11th century the Romanesque Abbey church was founded over a set of crypts. In the 14th century the 100 year war made it necessary to protect the Abbey. The tides too are a good protection. During spring tides the water apparently recedes 15Km but when the tide comes in it is extremely quick and very dangerous. Mont-Saint-Michel is a unique building: its plan is unlike that of any other monastery. Constrained by the pyramidal shape of the Mount, its medieval builders wrapped the buildings around the granite rock. The abbey church, situated at the top, stands on crypts that create a platform designed to take the weight of a church 80 metres long.To get to the Abbey there are a lot of stairs to be negotiated. All along the way up you see empty  prams that have been left behind for a while instead of being carried all the way. These days it is very busy with tourists. I would hate to see it in full tourist season. As a matter of fact Fran and I are 2 of 3 million people that visit a year. There is only one way in and out of the place. Other than the Abbey there are only Hotels, Restaurants and souvenir shops. Parts of the island were also built as a fortress and you can still walk on the ramparts.
02.04.
If we are talking about pretty historic towns Dinan has to be up there with them all. It has pretty clusters of narrow cobbled stone streets with old wood-framed shops and houses. Some of the houses lean against each other, like drunken sailors it seems just to stay upright. It could be the set for a movie. Its great strolling around the streets and seeing a decent selection of restaurants and bars. The old  town is surrounded by ramparts that are still in good condition. The township itself is quite hilly. One of the steep alleys leads down to the river Rance that is popular with sailors and people wanting to dine along the river enjoying the nice atmosphere (more suited to warmer weather). 
03.04.
The market is on in town today. Carrefour is missing out on providing our meal (except for the wine) as there are plenty of choices to pick from. We decided on Paella with chicken, mussels, prawns and chorizo in it. Yumm, and all that for 12 Euros for both of us. From there we ventured on to the cheese stall and bought some goats cheese and at the next stall we purchased a loaf of bread. Further on we found a butcher who was nice enough to give us a few samples so we could make up our mind on what to get. We ended up with a salami style sausage for lunch to go with the bread, cheese and wine.  
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04.04.
Went for a drive to Saint Malo. It's an old port city with big defense walls around it as it used to be a pirate town. The local governor had given them permission to plunder other ships and towns. Got mostly destroyed in the 2nd world war and was rebuilt.
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