Category Archives: baie de mont st michel

Wednesday 21st September 2022 – I KNOW THAT …

… this is rather late being posted, but better late than never and if a thing is good it’s worth waiting for. And so is this

mont st michel by night Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022In fact I’ve been out and about today and didn’t return home until after midnight, when I would let it all hang out.

So while you admire a couple of photos of Mont St Michel in the darkness, I shall tell you all about my busy day.

As usual, the alarm went off at 07:30 and after the medication etc I set about tidying up because I was going to have some visitors today. I seem to be in demand just now

And it’s a good job that I’d started early because they came early too and I wasn’t ready. I had a few things that I hadn’t done so I had to to finish off while I was chatting.

That’s rather an uncomfortable situation to be in but at least having visitors around means that I have to keep the place looking something like tidy.

mont st michel by night Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was such a lot of things to say so we had a coffee and spent quite a while chatting, but it was such a nice day yesterday that it was a shame to waste it.

When they had been here the other day i’d mentioned about the beautiful views along the coast so I reckoned that that would be quite a nice drive today, and so we hit the road, Jack, or Jacques seeing as we are where we are.

The obvious place to go to in this nice weather is the viewpoint up on the Pointe de Carolles where there is the Cabanon Vauban. We’ve been here several times before but my visitors haven’t so off we went. I couldn’t actually remember where the turning was so we almost drove past it

tombelaine mont st michel from pointe de carolles Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It was something of a long slow path across the fields once we’d parked the car, but the view from the end was worth it.

It’s one of the best views of Mont St Michel from up here, with the island of Tombelaine over to the left.

The tide is well out as you can see, and in certain conditions it’s possible to walk from the coast at Genets over to Tombelaine and Mont St Michel and it’s quite a popular thing to do. But you need a guide who knows the way because it’s not an easy trip and there’s no marked path.

There was plenty of marine traffic down there in the bay too, including a trawler that was having a go with its nets out to see what it could pull up.

fire on brittany coast Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But also over on the brittany side there was a fire in one of the small towns.

It’s not possible to say what it was at this distance – whether it was a bonfire or a house fire, but it looked as if it had been burning for a while.

We went for a walk along the clifftop but we couldn’t see very much else – I’m not up for clambering over the rocks these days – so in the end we headed for the car, once I remembered the correct trail. I seem to be forgetting everything.

And then we went back to the main road to carry on southwards.

tombelaine mont st michel viewed from champeaux Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There’s another viewpoint further along the road at Champeaux and I couldn’t remember where that was for a moment either.

The view from here is even better so when we eventually reached it we stopped here as well

Tombelaine was at one time the site of a monastic cell where in the 11th Century two monks from Mont St Michel came to live the life of hermit. The place was fortified in 1204 after the English had been expelled from Normandy and then by the English during the Hundred Years War.

There were various plans, such as to create a mini-Mont-St Michel here or, to turn it into a tourist destination but in the end it’s become a site for birdwatching (but not the kind of birds that I would be interested in watching) and is owned by the State and classed as a National Treasure.

st jean le thomas viewed from champeaux Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There’s also a good view from up here down onto the town of St Jean le Thomas.

The town was gifted by “William of the Long Sword” to the monks of Mont St Michel in 917AD but there was some conflict 200 years later between the monks and another “Lord of the Manor” about wood-cutting rights so it seems that the gift wasn’t as complete as it might otherwise have been.

There was a castle there at one time but Philippe-Augustus, King of France 1180-1223 ordered the castle to be surrendered to the monks and destroyed. At the turn of the 20th Century all of the remains of the castle had gone.

The narrow-gauge tacot railway line from Granville ran through here between 1908 and 1935. I’m not sure what there is that remains of the railway network in the town today. I suppose that one of these days I ought to go and have a look.

SAMU service d'aide medicale urgente helicopter airbus H145 T2 avranches Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022By now we were hungry so we headed into Avranches for a snack.

We parked up the car and headed into town on foot. And as we did so we were overflown by a helicopter.

It’s not the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that we usually see but one that belongs to the SAMU – the Service D’aide Medicale Urgente or “Emergency Medical Services” so I suppose that it’s the local air ambulance.

She’s an Airbus H145 T2 and we’ve seen a few of those flying around here. It’s the later version of the Air-Sea Rescue’s Eurocopter EC 145.

Once again we had to struggle to find something to eat but finally a little café came up trumps with some sandwiches.

castle avranches Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We could sit outside in the sun where there was a really good view of the castle at Avranches.

Shame as it is to say it, I’d forgotten all about this castle. Its origins date from the middle of the 10th Century and was one of the earlies recorded stone castles. However there is no trace of that construction remaining. What we see dates to the time of William the Conqueror.

It’s actually built by the Dukes of Normandy on a promontory overlooking the baie de Mont St Michel on a site that was known to have been occupied by the Celts and then by the Romans.

From its position it could obstruct the passage of Breton forces in the days before both Brittany and Normandy were part of the Kingdom of France.

The castle was surrendered to the French in 1203 and was fought over on many subsequent occasions, including in 1944 when considerable damage was caused to the fabric of the building.

Back to the car after a very long chat and we headed off for our final destination.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, parking at Mont St Michel costs an arm and a leg and we were only going to be here for a couple of hours.

However a friendly café owner, having served us a couple of coffees, informed us that as we were now customers of hers, we could leave the car on her car park. She told us how to unhitch the barrier later and we expressed our gratitude in monetary terms.

mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was a 15-minute walk to the shuttle terminus and a 15-minute wait for a bus to arrive, and then we were off.

My friends were quite impressed with the push-me-pull-you nature of the bus and, as they had never been here before, with the view that we had of the Mont as we approached it.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s all changed considerably since I first came here 40 or so years ago. The causeway was different and there was no official car park either. You drove down here and parked where you could.

In those days I’ve seen more than a few cars have to be winched out from the rapidly-approaching tide.

powered hang glider mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And as we alighted from the bus, we had one of our old friends come to visit us.

When we’ve been wandering around the clifftops back at home we’ve seen the powered hang-gliders dozens of times coming back from the head of the bay and I’ve often speculated that they have been for a look at what’s going on down here.

Sure enough, one of them, the red one, flew past overhead as we walked the rest of the way towards the walls so we all said “hello” and continued on our respective ways.

porte de l'avancée mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022bathed in the glorious early evening sunset is the entry, the Porte de L’Avancée.

Although there is, officially at any rate, only one way in, changes in technology over the past have meant that the original entrance, buit shortly after the Fall of Normandy when the inhabitants were massacred by Breton soldiers, was insufficient to defend the mount from invasion.

And this although the Porte de L’Avancée is the first part of the entrance that you encounter, it was actually almost the last part of the fortifications to be built, as far as I can tell, and dates from 1530.

tour gabriel mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Over to the left is the Tour Gabriel or “Gabriel’s Tower”.

This was perhaps the last part of the fortifications to be built and dates from 1534. It was built on the orders of Gabriel du Puy who was in charge of the mount at the time. Because it’s round, it has a really good field of fire that can defend the entrance from attack by sea in this direction.

There was a windmill built on the tower in 1627 and the tower even served as a lighthouse.

The building in front of it is more modern although I’ve not been able to find out the date on which it was built. But it’s outside the walls so it presumably dates from a period when the military funnction of the mount ceased.

ramparts tour du roy tour de la liberté mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Over on the right are the ramparts, the Tour du Roy, the “King’s Tower”, and theTour de la Liberté, “Liberty Tower”.

The Tour du Roy and the little Tour de l’Arcade that you can just about make out to its right date from the improvements of 1417 at the height of the Hundred Years War, presumably after Henry V of England landed in Normandy on 1st August and laid siege to Caen, which he captured on the 17th.

The Tour de la Liberté used to be known until 1789 as the Tour Beatrix and although I found the plans for it, I’ve not been able to find the date of its construction. It was certainly here in 1434 as it was reported as damaged by cannon fire in a siege by the English, and was repaired in 1441 and reconstructed in 1479.

There were important building works to strengthen the fortifications between 1389 and 1410 and it’s likely that it dates from that period.

mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022As for the abbey itself, this is what everyone comes to see, although I’m not going to see it as I’d never get up the hill.

The village itself is known to have existed in 709 but before that, as a result of several alleged miracles, it was a site of pilgrimage and the Abbots of the cathedral at Avranches promoted the site in various written tracts. Some kind of church was erected in the village and was gradually expanded.

Some monks came here to seek sanctuary but their church was sacked by the Vikings in 847.

It was re-established later but in 965 the construction of the Abbey began. In 1022 Richard Duke of Normandy gave to the monks the Ile de Chausey who then used rock from the islands to expand the Abbey.

However by the mid-18th Century the place was starting to fall into ruins and the French Revolution finished it off.

It was declared a “national Monument” as early as 1862 and restoration began shortly afterwards.

maison de l'artichaut mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This is the Maison De L’artichaut, so-called because its decorations on the spire are said to resemble artichokes.

It was actually created as part of the Hotellerie de la Licorne – the “Hostel of the Unicorn” which dates from the 15th Century.

It was declared a “Historic Monument” in 1918 and the upper part in 1936, however it’s not stated in the Formal Notice when it was actually built. One can only assume that it was built either at the same time or shortly after the Hotellerie de la Licorne.

On the right just here are the steps that lead up to the ramparts but I wasn’t going for a stroll up there.

porte du roy mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This here is the Porte du Roy – the “King’s Gate”.

This is another addition from the work of 1417. With no ditch here at the time, the mount was easy to attack and difficult to defend so a ditch was dug and the gate was built, with a drawbridge to protect the entrance.

There was also a metal portcullis here to defend the entrance.

Nevertheless all of this was still insufficient so another entrance was built in 1440, part of which you can see through the arch, because of the advances in artillery that rendered the gate obsolete.

The final entrance that we saw earlier in was added in 1530 following further advances in artillery and offensive techniques..

You can see all of the steps up to the ramparts again on the left of the photo.

grande rue mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This is the Grande Rue or “High Street”. I reckon that just about every building in here is a listed National Monument.

And it was here that I abandoned my friends for a while and let them carry on up the hill. It had defeated me so I wandered back outside to wait for them and to have a look around while they carried on trudging up the hill.

And while I was waiting outside I took many of the photos that you saw just now.

When they returned we had a very leisurely walk back to the bus stop, and then an even more leisurely wait for a bus to arrive. There are only two running right now so it was a very long wait.

sunset mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022At least, the wait meant that we had a good opportunity to see the sun setting. That was quite beautiful.

Back at the shuttle terminal we walked back to the café, rescued the car and I took the photos of Mont St Michel in the darkness as the lights came on.

We had a good drive back to Granville and I invited them to a restaurant where I treated them to a meal to thank them for a wonderful day out. And as a result it was after midnight when I returned home.

No time to write up my notes so I’ll do that tomorrow. which I did, hence the amended page.

And I also transcribed the dictaphone notes too. There was a trawler whose registration number was something like KVKLNO something or other. We’d been to a football match watching Morton. people were saying about how poor the side was these days. I was thinking that it’s not a case of how poor the side was, it’s a case of the money becoming tight everywhere and they are suffering. A subject came up that involved trawlers. One of the group said that thanks to someone else but I can’t remember who, they were saved from certain events that might have happened invloving this trawler because that particular person made them aware of things but I can’t remember what that was.

There was something going on last night with my beige Cortina. I was at home and talking to my sister. She was cleaning the house really deeply but we didn’t have all that long to wait before we had to go out so I couldn’t understand why she had suddenly started on this plan. One of the topics of conversation was the local councillor when we lived in Shavington. He was my age and had been on a student exchange with me. On one particular coach trip coming back from somewhere there had been a few shenanigans as you would expect with a bunch of teenagers. He’d been a part of all of this yet here he was 30 years later being all “Holier Than Thou”. Of course everyone remembered him and we made our best to make sure that everyone knew exactly what had been happening back in those days.

Wonders will never cease.

Monday 29th June 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I was even up before the second alarm this morning!

And how long is it since that has happened?

But it was just as well because there’s a lot to do this morning and there isn’t much time. I’m going to be on my travels again this morning and I’ll be away for at least 5 days. I’m not going far but I’m not sure what the internet arrangements so the updating of these pages during my absence might be somewhat sporadic – rather a case of pot luck I’m afraid.

I was in Wales last night and there was a group of us standing on the corner of a field. We heard this strange noise and it was a lorry that went past – an 8-wheeled seed tanker thing painted beige and green from somewhere in Church Stretton. It was making a really weird noise and the driver had his foot down, was driving through these lanes and turned back onto the main road and shot back off down this main road at an incredible rate of knots. Someone said “does he always drive like this? Fast?” and my father said “Oh God yes – this is nothing. Wait until they get on the open road”. A friend of my father’s who was with us he came out with something or other about it. Then we were all discussing our sleeping arrangements – who was going to sleep where, all this kind of thing. It was quite evident that a couple of use were going to have to share a bed because there were not enough beds to go round. As you can expect, there were a couple of ribald remarks made about that as well.

Having backed up everything on the computer I went for a shower and then finished off my packing. Knowing that food is going to be an issue I took some supplies out of the freezer, some vegan cheese an a couple of vegan burgers as well as a few things to nibble on.

Then loaded up with supplies, luggage, a guitar and Strawberry Moose I headed off into town. I reckon that I was somewhat over-ambitious with the amount of things that I’ve taken because it was a struggle, but luckily with the tide being out the harbour gates were closed so that I could take the short cut over the top of the gates.

Arriving at the harbour, I quickly located Spirit of Conrad and lugged my stuff aboard. She will be my home for the next few days. There’s a trip organised down the Brittany coast where I’ve wanted to go, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. Pierre the owner told me about it but it was fully booked, although someone wasn’t quite sure. As it happened she withdrew and he came to see me two weeks ago to say that the place was free.

Knowing full well about these cruises I chose one of the two cabins in the stern section. All the others can stay up front in the noisy bit.

When everyone had assembled we had a snack and when the harbour gates were opened, we set off, right into the teeth of a howling gale. We crossed the Baie de Mont St Michel at an angle of about 45 degrees, meeting Thora battling her way in.

It took ages to cross the bay but eventually we found ourselves in the lee of the Brittany coast. We sailed for a while up and down in the Cancale roads before finding a suitable place off the Port de Briac to drop anchor.

After a rest and a good chat we had tea and then everyone else went off to bed. Because of the tides and current we have an early start in the morning so I’m going to go and join them.

Not literally, of course. I’m off into my own little corner of the boat. All this sailing has made me tired.


Friday 17th August 2018 – IT’S BEEN …

… a quiet day today, after all of the exertions of the last week or so.

Much to my own surprise, I was out of bed after the first alarm. And that’s not happened for a while, has it?

And then after breakfast there was more work to be done, and then I started to have a good think about my plans after my next hospital visit. And that reminded me that I hadn’t booked my train to Brussels. That was something that needed my attention, and now it’s completed.

That also reminded me that I needed to go for my blood test. A brisk walk took me to the laboratory and they attended to matters. And much to everyone’s surprise that was all done and dusted and paid for within a matter of a couple of minutes. Not like the UK where you have to wait for a week or so.

And over the road I picked up my railway tickets from the station.

pont aven english channrl st malo granville manche normandy franceOn the way back I picked up a baguette for lunch, but I didn’t make it back home straight away.

My attention was drawn to some movement on the horizon over by the Brittany coast, so I quickly grabbed the zoom lens and went for a wander to see what it was.

Cropping and enlarging the image and then digitally enhancing it, I could see that it’s our old friend the Brittany Ferries ship Pont Aven off a-wandering again.

When I came back home I found that I had no hummus. I’d run out. And so I made another large batch. Chick peas, tahini, olive oil, chick pea water, olives, tomato, garlic and herbs. All whizzed up in the whizzer.

Some of it went into the freezer and some of it into the fridge. That’ll keep me out of mischief for a good while.

lizards eating pear droppings granville manche normandy franceLunch was taken outside on the wall with my butties, my book and my camera.

And while I was there, I was treated to the interesting sight of three lizards side-by-side eating from the same piece of pear.

It makes a change from fighting over it. They must be learning to trust each other after all of this time.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceBut that wasn’t the only excitement that was taking place.

There was a considerable amout of yachts and boats of all descriptions out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel, including our old friend La Granvillaise out there with a full load of passengers enjoying the sun.

Makes me wish that I was out there with them.

street musicians place cambernon granville manche normandy franceAnd it looks as if we might be having some entertainment in the Place Cambernon this evening too. A group of musicians were out there doing a sound check.

Seeing as it was nice weather I loitered for a while in the vicinity to see if they were going to do a warming up session too so that I could see what they might be about, but it was clear after a while that they weren’t going to oblige.

In the end I gave up the idea and left them to it.

This afternoon, apart from talking to another pile of neighbours, I attacked another piece of correspondence that had been hanging around here for a while. I’m going to have to keep myself up-to-date.

And I was on the phone to Rosemary for quite a while – so much so that I missed my tea and ended up with a packet of crisps.

No walk either this evening as I was watching football on the internet. Aberystwyth Town v Cardiff Metropolitan in the Welsh Premier League. Aber were really poor in the first half and were lucky to be only 3-0 down. They were much improved in the second half – although still some way off the pace – and the 4-1 final score was really rather flattering to them. Cardiff Met could have had half a dozen without too much effort.

So now it’s bed time. Shops tomorrow and I need to stock up as I’m having visitors. I hope that they’ve stocked up in NOZ – and that they have some staff to person the tills too.

boats baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france
boats baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france

beach hang gliders plat gousset granville manche normandy france
beach hang gliders plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Saturday 4th August 2018 – SO HAVING HAD …

… a miserable night’s sleep (which seems to be par for the course these days) tossing and turning for much of it on the sofa, I was up and about without too much effort.

It wasn’t the first time either, having had to leave my stinking pit once during the night.

But I prepared breakfast, and a little later, Alison came to join me and we had a nice cosy chat together.

Alison wanted to know what time we would be leaving, so I replied nonchalantly “about 45 minutes”.
“Gosh! I’d better get a move on!”

I’d forgotten about women, of course. For me, “getting ready” to go out involves putting my shoes on and that’s that. For women though, it’s a full military operation involving all kinds of things and can take anything up to a couple of hours.

While Alison was preparing herself I had a shower, prepared a flask of cold stuff and finally we made some sandwiches.

baie de mont st michel genets manche normandy franceIn the glorious, wonderful but very hazy early morning sunshine and heat, Caliburn took us along the coast road.

Through St Pair, Jullouville, Carolles and Genets, and all points south.

We stopped to take photographs along the way. After all, this is a part of the world that Alison has never visited before, and having left home rather smartish, we weren’t particularly stuck for time.

The motorway westwards was very busy and there were signs for “traffic jams ahead” – not surprising with it being the first Saturday in August, busiest day of the year on the roads.

But we weren’t long on the motorway turning off to head towards our destination for today, Mont St Michel.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAlison has never been here before, and it’s been almost 30 years since the last time that I was here.

And haven’t there been some changes in that time?

When I was here before, you used to just drive down to the water’s edge, park your car on the marshes making sure that you were above the tide line, and then walk across the causeway.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceBut not today, though.

There’s a huge parking complex (that costs an arm and a leg of course) a couple of miles away from the Mont, and a series of weird shuttle buses that operate a free service to the island.

There was quite a queue waiting for the buses and we had this horrible feeling that we were going to be there for hours, but these buses are really high-capacity.

The packers (you can’t really call them anything else) pack the buses like the Black Hole Of Calcutta and so within less than 10 minutes we had been whizzed on our way.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceWhile you admire the entrance to the complex, I can set the scene by telling you about the visit to the Gentleman’s rest room.

This will give you some idea about what to expect (if you haven’t already guessed from the parking) when I tell you that a visit to the Gentleman’s rest room costs you €0:80.

Yes, over here on the island they have got you by the shorthorns.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAnd if that hasn’t convinced you, then the fact that the first restaurant that we came across was offering a bowl of vegetable soup for €18:00 and an omelette at €28:00 should do the trick.

But then, that’s how I remember it, and as other people have said so too.

Not for nothing did we prepare butties and a flask of cold drink before we set off.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThe history of the place is quite interesting.

It’s always been a place of worship for as long as worship has known to be important.

There was quite some considerable evidence of megalithic tombs on the island where it is believed that the worship of some kind of pagan cult took place;

But Christianity arrived in 709 when a chapel in honour of the Archangel Saint Michael was erected here.

It subsequently became a centre for pilgrimages and it still continues in this role today. In fact, we encountered a group of pilgrims who had come on foot across the sands from Genets.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceIn 966 a Benedictine abbey was erected here, and the Dukes of Normandy became important benefactors. They gave a great deal of land to the abbey.

One of the reasons that the Ile de Chausey remains French today and didn’t become English as did the rest of the Channel Islands was that William the Conqueror gave the archipelago to the Abbey before he became King of England in 1066.

Mont St Michel has regularly changed hands between the Dukes of Normandy and the Dukes of Brittany. It’s currently in Normandy and was so during much of the 100 Years War.

porte bretonne baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceBut there’s an interesting little story about the island during that period.

This gateway here to the west overlooks the Breton coast. Normandy was to the south and east.

The English laid siege to the island during the Hundred Years War and hoped to starve it out. But as the tide went out, the island became accessible from the Breton side before the Normandy side.

Consequently the Bretons could nip over to the island with a load of victuals to resupply the island before the tide became low enough for the English army to cross the sands to stop them.

As a result, the island held out for so long that the English lost interest and eventually abandoned the siege.

medieval inclined plane baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThere are a variety of ways to reach the Abbey.

The first, and probably the most interesting, way would be to be winched up by the medieval inclined ramp.

You can see the sone trackway here and right at the top are the remains of the wooden sledge to which they would attach the goods.

It would then be winched up from above until it reached the opening in the Abbey walls.

Today, there’s an electric winch and steel basket for supplying the abbey, but that doesn’t look half as exciting as the old system.

The more popular way is to climb up the steep street and then all of the stairs, following all of the visitors who take that way to the top.

But we stopped for a breather inside the church that’s half-way up, and noticed a back door out.

So we went that way and found ourselves going up a nice spiral, circular route that wasn’t anything like as steep, and with plenty of shady places to rest.

But at the Abbey, the €10:00 admission charge put me off. I would have liked to have gone in and seen the interior, especially the tombs of the Dukes of Normandy, but not at that price.

It’s good value if you are healthy though, because the admission allows you to climb right to the top of the tower where the views are stunning (or, at least, they would be if there wasn’t so much haze).

avranches baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceNevertheless, the views weren’t all that bad from where we were standing.

There was certainly a good view of Avranches from where we were standing. And with a little bit of digital enhancement you can see the town quite clearly away in the distance.

Hard to think that it’s probably 10 or 12 miles away across the bay from where we are. Such are the benefits of having some decent equipment.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAlison didn’t feel like the climb either so instead we descended and went for a walk around the walls.

It’s a walled city and as far as I could tell the walls are 100% intact, as you might expect. It’s not possible to go out to the north of the island without passing through the Abbey.

The whole lot is in a remarkable state of preservation, which is hardly a surprise when you consider that this was one of the very first places to be listed when they started the Register of Historic Places in France

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThere’s another island a little farther out and I don’t remember seeing that from previous visits.

It looks quite inaccessible but when I blew up my photo (you can still do that kind of thing despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) I could see buildings – possibly World War II blockhouses – out there.

There were also people walking around out there, obviously taking advantage of the low tide.

high tide baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAnd low tide it certainly was.

The tidal coefficient – the gap of the water level between high tide and low tide – was just 59 today. This meant that we weren’t going to be cut off.

The tidal coefficient can be as high as 120 and then the island is isolated from the mainland for a couple of hours. But the next one of these isn’t going to happen for quite a while, unfortunately.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceWe stopped on the way round where Alison took out a second mortgage on her house in order that we could have a coffee in one of the cafés here;

And on continuing our walk around the walls some obliging Asiatic guy took a photo of us both.

And Alison’s camera lived to tell the tale, which surprised me more than anything.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceFrom there we climbed up again to a small rest area and when a place on the wall underneath the trees became free, we moved in and occupied the spot.

It was quite nice there, overlooking the causeway and the entry gates to the island, and we ate our butties in the shade as we watched the world go by.

By now it was early afternoon and the hordes were still arriving. We decided that we had seen all that we had intended to see and so we returned on the shuttle bus to Caliburn, where we were fleeced by the parking charges machine.

Since this new parking system and charges have been in operation, visitor numbers have plummeted. At one time, over 3.5 million people came here every year and there was even a railway connection to the site.

In 2013 there were just 2.2 million people and apparently numbers are continuing to fall. One of these “alternative” Tourist guides writes of “la mauvaise réputation du Mont-Saint-Michel qui fait payer cher des prestations médiocres”“the bad reputation of Mont St Michel where the mediocre things on offer will cost a fortune”..

Still, it’s one of those places that you have to visit once in your life – preferably out of season – but you wouldn’t ever go back.

We headed off down the motorway, noticing the queues of vehicles heading west on the opposite carriageway, all heading to the Brittany coast.

It was a good idea to go out early in the morning because we missed most of that. I’d hate to be stuck in there right now.

cabane vauban baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned a couple of times the “Cabane Vauban” – the stone hut on the headland of the Pointe de Carolles.

It’s another place that has been on my list to visit since I first noticed it. We’d seen a road sign for it on the way down, and so on the way back we went there.

Despite its very isolated location, there was quite a crowd of people there and they wouldn’t move out of the way when I wanted to photograph the building.

And so they are now immortalised for posterity.

cabane vauban baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThe cabin was built as a lookout point for the excise me to survey whatever cargo was being smuggled into Avranches and Mont St Michel from the Channel islands during the 17th Century;

Some say, presumably because of the name “Vauban” being associated with them, that they are defensive posts to guard the bay. But whatever kind of defence you could launch from this cabin against an 18-pounder cannon on board an English ship would surely not be very effective.

There’s a good view down as far as Mont St Michel – or, at least, there would be on any other day when there wouldn’t be a heat haze shrouding the coastline.

pusher biplane baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThere was also a lot of aerial activity.

I wasn’t quick enough to take a photo of the gyrocopter that flew over the cabane, but I was certainly quick enough to take a photo of the biplane that stuttered by overhead.

And much to my surprise, when I enlarged the photo I discovered that it was a “pusher”. That’s not the usual configuration these days. Most of the aircraft are “tractors”.

And it was making such a racket that I couldn’t help thinking “Goddam the Pusher“, although it probably wasn’t a biplane that Hoyt Axton had in mind when he wrote the song.

Back at Granville Alison wanted to go for a walk around the town and visited the shops. But it was far too warm for me so I dropped her off, gave her directions back here, and then drove back to my nice cool little hidey-hole on my rock.

When she came back we went for another walk, this time around the walls where we sat in the sun for quite a while and watched the people on the beach.

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy franceFor tea, I had organised some gluten-free burgers which went down very well, and then once it became dark, we went back out.

it was the Nuit des Souders, when all of the blacksmiths in the area set up little stands all over the town and the port to demonstrate their skills.

There was even one ‘neath the spreading chestnut tree, but I couldn’t tell if “the muscles of his brawny arms are strong as iron bands”.

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy franceThe music was unfortunately pretty poor, especially after last year’s exciting Russian rock group, even though they didn’t have the dancers from “Hellzapoppin'” with them on stage .

In the end, rather than listen to the music we went for a really long walk around the harbour and fell in with a couple of fishermen … “fisherPERSONS” – ed …fishing by the moonlight.

On the way back we called off at some of the galleries that were still open. But the only thing that caught my eye was, as usual, the most expensive thing on offer.

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy franceThere were also a few of the soudeurs dotted about here and there along the hill too, so we had a good look at some of them too.

But nothing at all really exciting.

It had been a really long day so I wasn’t disappointed to return to my apartment.

We were both pretty tired – after all, it had been a really long day – so we called it a night.

Sunday morning tomorrow, and so a lie in.

At least, I hope so.

And I have plenty more photos of Mont St Michel so I’ll probably put them all on a separate page one of these days.

pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france
pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france

fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy france
fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy france