I slept about 7 hours, up a little after 5am. I’d done nothing on the blog the night before except test the wifi here by uploading a few photos, so it took until about 7:30am to get the blog up. Ash was up about that time and we went downstairs for breakfast.

They don’t have a permit to actually cook here so everything for breakfast is cold, or at least room temperature. We were amused that they have the same brand of jam out that we buy at home – a French label, Bonne Maman.

But they had good coffee brewed on the right, with yogurt, cold meats and cheese kept cold on the left. All you need really.

We were the first ones down and sat to the left of the window.

After we took Paul for a walk in the woods, a different trail from yesterday.

We walked to the edge of the property. There’s nothing but farmland around us.

We took Paul back to the room and made our way to the one big thing for the day: Mont Saint-Michel. Ash had been here once in 2015 and loved it. He kept trying to figure out how to do this from Paris, but at 4.5 hours away it’s not a good day trip and there’s not much around to try to stay overnight. But as a day trip from the Loire Valley it’s much more doable. It was a 2.5 hour drive. It goes by fast to us. With Carplay on most rentals now, we just plug in my phone and we get easy navigation as well as our music. And in what was practically my car it wasn’t all that different from a road trip at home.

We got here a little after 1pm. It was a long walk from the parking lot. This was just after we got started. You can see Mont Saint-Michel in the distance just to the right of center of this photo. Just to give you some scale.

The obsession continues. In this case he didn’t actually touch it but if he could close is fingers down on that spire he would.

Mont Saint-Michel is an island about 1 kilometer off the northwestern coast of France, on the Atlantic side, not the English Channel. The first monastery was built here around the 8th century. According to legend, the Archangel Michael visited Aubert of Avranches, the bishop of Avranches, around 708, and told him to built a church here. Hence the name. It has a complicated history, including being a prison after the French Revolution until 1863. It’s been a UNESCO heritage site since 1979 and gets about 3 million visitors a year – the 2nd most visited place in France after Paris.

Closer and from a slightly different angle. I’m really glad we walked all the way to it because you really start to appreciate all of the details the closer you get and you get the sense of it being a full functioning town, which it is.

One of the the first things you see up on entering the town at the base of the mount is a restaurant known for making the best omelet on the planet, so much so that it’s Michelin rated. Hence the line. We passed.

But it was definitely lunch time so we found something a little ways down.

It was after 2pm by now so the lunch rush was over, and we got a nice table in the corner by the entrance.

Ash had an omelet here – it was definitely different but very good.

I continued my French comfort food spree and got the beef bourguignon, with carrots and potatoes of course. It was ridiculously hot but very tasty.

We made our way up to the abbey. Diagon Alley, anyone?

I don’t remember what Ash was pointing at, this was my attempt to show the height of the climb. We were more than halfway up at this point but still a ways to go.

I do love this view, despite the vertigo that instantly kicked in. See all those little people and that trail of them over the bridge? This is the way we came, all the way from the parking lots way in the distance at the top of the photo.

What I love most about this photo is Ash’s tongue. He of course doesn’t even realizes he does that when he’s really concentrating.

See what I mean? Not much around you.

A full photo of the abbey from the top deck since we were blocking it earlier. What the abbey is best known for is 800 years of scribing manuscripts. And it’s still a working abbey. Since 2001, a Benedictine community, the order of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem has been in residence here. Thet follow a rule based around 3 pillars: prayer, work, and community life.

Looking over to my left into the bay and the Atlantic past that.

I don’t know why I was so surprised at the size of this but I was.

Looking to my left.

And behind me after walking up the side.

One of the side altars.

It’s not an abbey without a courtyard, right?

Ash photobombing the symmetry of the pillars surrounding the courtyard.

The dining hall.

And, of course, a statue of St. Michael slaying a dragon. As soon as I turned a corner and saw the sword raised from a side angle I knew what it was.

Simple gardens.

Looking back up at the abbey from the gardens.

Outside of the window of the restaurant we ate at, a bird was sitting peacefully while all these people were gathered around it petting it. When we walked past it on our way out, the crowd was gone but the bird was still there. Or maybe it was a different bird, who knows. Still not something you see everyday.

We’d decided early on we would walk to it but take the (free) shuttle back to the parking lot. And that was the right call on so many levels. These were cool vehicles: no front or back, really, but could be driven from either angle, so they never needed to actually turn around.

We saw lots of white cows along the way, but this one was right on the side of the road looking right at us as we got close to home so couldn’t resist. We got back just before 7pm, took Paul out for a quick walk and then left again for dinner.

Angers is the nearest big town by us so we moved in that direction, population about 160,000, about 20 minutes away.

The Cathedral of St. Maurice originates from the 12th century. Much of this was built in the 1300-1400s.

Behind me is a beautiful grand staircase leading up from the Loire River.

This is a huge crucifix on the side of the church.

Huge. Notice there are chairs in the back, and about halfway up it changes to pews. Sort of. (Some of us are having an ongoing Facebook discussion about this…)

Small stained glass windows.

A closeup of this magnificent altar. I haven’t seen anything like this since St. Peters at the Vatican.

The cathedral, like most in Europe, is built in the shape of a cross. This is the top of it to the left of the altar.

Not exactly pews. More like benches. With kneelers!

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a pulpit this big.

Across the river you get a really beautiful few of the cathedral and an old fortress on the right.

This was part of our view at dinner, the point of coming down here. Notice the rest of the fortress there on the left.

There was a huge area where restaurants from across the street served their customers along the river.

We started out with fun drinks – Ash a virgin mojito, me something called a Red Vanilla that was mostly different fruit juices but delicious.

Ash had a salmon salad. (Shocking, right?)

I had the fish and chips. OMG. These were perhaps the best I’ve Ever Had. And I love this dish and get it often to see how it’s done. That white on top of the fish? Salt. Perfect tartar sauce. Everything was crispy, salty, and greasy – but only in all the best ways.

It was a very comfortable area and we enjoyed the evening a lot.

One last photo of the church as the sun was setting on it.

We were home about 10pm. Ash went straight to bed. I wanted to at least get the photos uploaded but turns out I’ve finished writing, too. I took this at 10:37pm just because those clouds looked so great. That had been my view earlier but now it’s course it’s completely dark. It’s after midnight and I’ll turn in as soon as I post this.

Tomorrow we move to a new place up the river, making our way back to Paris, and will work in another castle or two. The next stop was going to be Bordeaux, another 4 hour drive south of here, but over breakfast this morning we decided there was no point in going all that way when there was plenty to see here. We booked something less than an hour away and in the right direction and all of that feels so much better. We have some amazing castles lined up for the rest of the trip so it should be fun.


  1. Shelley May 22, 2022 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Amazing! Beautiful! Oh, and I want those fish and chips!

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