We chose to visit Mont Saint-Michel for two reasons: firstly, Rob has been desperate to see this in real life for some time; secondly, looking at a map of France, this was one of the few areas in sunshine yesterday and today. Having spent a couple of nights in rainy Rouen we needed some sun on our bones!
Mont Saint-Michel is a bucket list destination for many. We spoke to a group who were staying on the island overnight because that had always been their dream, but for us the sight of the tower on the hill out along the causeway was the draw. Therefore our hotel was a brilliant match for us – check out the view from the room!
The room at Relais Saint Michel Hotel was excellent; a suite with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a large sitting area. The boys got a brilliant sleep in their double bed in a blacked out room. As did we, in ours!
We arrived on Sunday with enough time to wander along the causeway to the island. Buses run every ten minutes in the daytime and every twenty at night. Buses are free, however we wanted to stretch our legs. Don’t take the pushchair – there’s only so far up the street you can go.
In the walls of the town the main street is lined with shops and restaurants. Our hotel had given us a discount card to use in most of the snack vendors or restaurants. However, our main focus was to explore!
We had a really good look around. James absolutely loved running everywhere! He was so excited and asked a million questions about everything he could see. Anything we ‘wondered’ too, James confidently told us all about it, whether it was some iron gates, the drain holes in paths, or a lift!
Then we went and ate the worst evening meal of our lives. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but it was certainly no stretch to say we have enjoyed much better food on aeroplanes. The menus and prices are almost identical in most of the restaurants – you just need to find a setting you like. Alas, the chefs are not the same, or maybe they are. Maybe all the meals are terrible!
We left just in time to see the sun set, then back to bed.
There are a lot of cows in the town at the moment. We spent some time trying to get a photo of the boys with them, alas, no good shots of them together! We also almost played on a bouncy castle but just as James had psyched himself up to step inside it was switched off! It is a good idea to have one in the cafe outdoor area.
During our second visit to Mont Saint-Michel we explored the Abbey. It’s absolutely enormous inside. You can really appreciate the scale of the construction when you look at models of how it’s changed over the years. How they got the stones over to the island must be an interesting story in itself. Monks and their quest for solitude, eh?
Inside the Abbey is quiet apart from tour guides. Tour guides seem the absolute exception to the rule of silence in churches. Children may not speak, and if they do are loudly shushed (even by tour parties) but guides get away with a normal speaking voice. We’ve found this to be true in a few places now, not just Mont Saint-Michel. I don’t think it would bother me if it wasn’t Noah’s simple baby babble they were shushing!
Lunch time in Mont Saint-Michel was a thousand times better than our meal the night before, and a fifth of the price. Pizza, croque monsieur, beer and ice cream – fresh, tasty, and served in a tiny room with high stools and slim bars.
Souvenirs purchased we caught the bus back to our car and off to our next destination – Amboise in the Loire Valley!
We thoroughly enjoyed Mont Saint-Michel, especially as the sun was shining! However I think visiting with children needs some extra planning; you can’t take a pushchair and see much, so take a baby carrier. There isn’t anywhere to leave buggies or prams. Inside the Abbey the children need to be quiet, and age of the child isn’t taken into consideration, so the whole excursion needs to be given thought as to nap times and meal times.