Mont San Michel, Normandy, France

Located on the Normandy coast, a train ride from Paris, is the incredible spectacle of Mont San MIchel. The world heritage listed site is one of France’s most prominent landmarks. The island commune was the only French site to withstand English occupation during the 100 years war in the 1400s. It has been built in stages over many centuries, the initial inspiration (according to legend) was when the archangel Gabriel appeared to St Aubert in 708.

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The Mont is surrounded by water on regular occasion, due to the tides, when the causeway floods. There are days almost monthly when it is not accessible by foot.

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Today, the Mont is an incredible site, night and day, inside and out. Inside is quite a vibrant, self sustained city with a labyrinth of streets and alleys. The shops are now mainly devoted to tourism.

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The entire structure is dominated by the huge abbey which reaches to the sky. The architecture inside is large in scale to support the huge spire and ornate and very attractive. Room after room is full of large supporting structures, ordered and regular and very becoming.

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For me, Mont San MIchel is at its very best at night, viewed from the far side of the causeway, lit up in all its splendour. We were staying the small town of Ponterson about 10Km away at a simply delightful little B&B called Les Belles de Mai run by the even more delightful Beatrice. I dearly wanted to photograph the Mont after dark and asked Beatrice where we could hire a car or catch a taxi (the buses stopped running at the end of September, 2 days before). She wouldn’t hear of it and insisted on driving out to pick us up after I finished. When we left the next day, we got our first french kiss… what a wonderful person!

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I would dearly love to spend an extended time in area specifically to photograph Mont San Michel and its surrounds through all the differing seasons and lights. Of course, I would need to say with the charming Beatrice and enjoy just that little bit more of her company (and that of her three cats, Betsy, Timmy and Opium (apparently he rarely wakes up))

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