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Mt St Michel

I mentioned earlier that the Eiffel Tower was even more impressive in person than I’d imagined, and that it lived up to its reputation as an icon, and did not disappoint. I would have to say this of two other things I’ve seen so far on this trip: the paintings of VanGogh, and the island citadel of Mt St Michel. VanGogh’s paintings are far better in person, the colors much richer and brighter than their reproductions, and stumbling upon them in the Musee d’Orsay was a delight that brought tears to my eyes.
Then there’s Mt St Michel. I’d heard of it before, but knew nothing more of it than that it was an abbey/cathedral situated on a rock off the French coast. And that Michael Kenna had been given special access to the place and created incredible images there.

When we saw the spire of Mt St Michel from a distance of several miles, this dark, spiky lump on the horizon, it immediately was impressive. So unexpected was it that we all let out exclamations in the car. As we drove toward it, it slowly began to tower over the cow and sheep pastures and bay (and parking lot) that surrounded it.

The tour was well worth the time, as we were able to see the insides of the abbey, cathedral, the village, the columns and arches that undergird the abbey, etc. The light inside the buildings was fantastic, as well, making me wish I could orchestrate a portrait session of some sort there.

Like so many places we’ve visited, it only makes me want to read up more on my European history. We were told that, during the 100 Years’ War between England and France, Mt St Michel was the only part of northern France that did not fall into the hands of the English, in spite of a 30 year siege.

It is, somewhat like the Cimitierre Perre Lechez, a place right out of a fantasy novel or sci-fi flick. Its similarities to Edoras and Minis Tirith in The Lord of the Rings was unmistakable.

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