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Wednesday, 14 November 2007

We Will Always Have Paris: But Then There's Mont Saint-Michel - Page 3

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The telephone rang. “He proposed. We’re coming to Paris for our honeymoon. Wow, the most romantic place on earth! I’m counting on you to send me a list of all the wonderful places we can go see,” whispered my friend over the phone. Her betrothed must have been in the next room and she didn’t want him to hear what she was saying.
“Forget about
Paris,” I said. She asked what I meant: weren’t I feeling well? Did I not love Paris anymore? “Mount Saint Michel,” I said. “I’ll book you a hotel on Mount Saint Michel and you’ll thank me!”

Be warned, though, that there is only one public toilet on the mount (it is on Grande Rue and to the left as you come through the gate) and it is expensive (€2.50 - $3.5 or ₤1.7 - per person and a child needs his/her own entry ticket) to use. Therefore, before you leave the restaurant or creperie, do go to the bathroom.

At day’s end the coach will pick you up again and deposit you back at Rennes railroad station.

mont saint michelAt present and until 2010 construction work is being carried out in the Bay of Saint Michael, but this does not inconvenience visitors. The work is to prevent the mount from losing its island character: silting and the spread of marsh grassland that is prohibiting the natural flow of the ocean’s currents are making this a very real possibility. The project that also includes replacing the present road that leads from the mainland to the islet, with an electrified rail, will cost the French state approximately €96,000,000 ($133,000,000; ₤66,300,000).

If you wish to spend the night on the mount, you will not regret it. The very first time I spent a night there, I took a room in one of the inns. I walked up and down narrow, winding staircases and along corridors as narrow to reach my room. The room was small and had a slanting roof and only one small window. After a dinner of moules frites (mussels and French fries) in a miniscule restaurant where I was the only diner (I suspected I was the only guest in the hotel too: it was January after all and the Europeans were broke after their Christmas spending and feasting), I sat in front of my bedroom window looking out at a dark sea for a good part of the night. Occasionally, I saw lights on the horizon: a ship was passing.

mont saint michelImagine: a summer night. You have been married only a few days. You have just enjoyed a candle-lit dinner à deux and now you are sitting on a bench and down below the high-tide lashes the rocks. Or imagine - a winter’s night. You have been married only a few days. You have just enjoyed a candle-lit dinner à deux and now you are sitting in your hotel’s small bar-room. Heavy rain lashes the cobbled Grande Rue; it is warm inside though because coals sizzle in a fireplace; a lamp advertising Calvados stand on the zinc-topped bar and throws a slither of red light across a carpet that has seen better days; a young man in a blue sweater is playing some old hits on an upright piano, and you can still feel the wedding-band on your ring finger because it hasn’t been there all that long. I am sure that one day, one day when you are no longer aware of that ring on your finger even though it has become rather tight, you will still remember that night on Mont Saint-Michel.

So forget Paris as a honeymoon venue and go to Mont Saint-Michel.


©Marilyn Z. Tomlins

Whether you are travelling on your own, as a family, or you are on your honeymoon, or you are planning a seminar (seminar facilities are available at Mère Poulard Hotel) you can contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information or advice.


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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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