France 2015
Day 3

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This is the story of our trip to France in May of 2015.  It was part of a round the world trip that also included London
 and the USA (New York, Niagara Falls, Canyon Country and the Tall Trees)

 Day 2 of our tour - Caen to St Malo, Mont Saint Michel and Angers (overnight) Around 430 km

Tour description:

A
fter a buffet breakfast, depart Caen and head onward toward Brittany, a coastal region in the north west of France. Alight at St Malo an ancient, walled city and take a tour of the age-old ramparts and cathedral with your guide.   Stop for lunch (own expense) and enjoy a little free time to yourself in St Malo before heading onward to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont Saint-Michel, an island fortress sitting off the Normandy coast. Widely considered among France’s most famous landmarks, Mont Saint-Michel has a rich history stretching back to the 8th century. Tour the ancient abbey with your guide then enjoy free time to explore Mont Saint-Michel’s cobbled streets and alleyways at your leisure.

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Day - 3 Tour Day - 2           Day - 3  Tour Day 2
8-May-2015
 

Today was going to be a long day with a fair amount of travelling to be done, but we were visiting one of the most famous landmarks in France,  Mont Saint Michel.  We left at a reasonable hour and after a couple of hours (170km) driving we arrived at St Malo.  We were taken on a guided tour of the ramparts near the main gate and onto the main tourist area, all the while hearing of the history of the fort.  Then we were set free for our own sight seeing and lunch.  We headed for the local cathedral nearby and then did a circuit of the walls before finding a sandwich for lunch.  Amazingly we were a bit early for the bus, so we wandered onto the beach to look at the fort, which was impressive as was the breadth of the city as it curved around the bay area.
Back on the bus and on to Mont Saint Michel.  The bus parked in an area some 2km from the main car park and just across from the free bus service that took you to the bridge near the base of Mont Saint Michel.  It is an impressive site!  The sheer height of the buildings standing tall above you and the location on an island is amazing.  It is quite a walk to the top, with many photo opportunities along the way.  Our guide as usual showed us the way all the while telling us the history and legends.  The view from the top is quite spectacular.  It is a operating Monastery but I understand that only 3 monks live there.  The church on top is quite large.  The stories of the pilgrims and the problems associated with building the church were fascinating.  We slowly headed down from the top through the various halls till we reached the main road up and were quickly swamped by the throng of tourists.  The main road was awash with people and lined with food and souvenir shops.  The food was enticing and the souvenirs were interesting but not for us.  Back to the bus and interestingly we took the scenic way to Angers; most rewarding.

Map: Day 3
As a bonus we saw the French coutryside today as our trip from Mont Saint Michel to Angers was done on secondary roads and not a freeway/major road.
Shown is a possible route.
 

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Travelling along the road to St Malo.    
  François-René Chateaubriand was born at St Malo.
French writer, politician, diplomat and historian. He is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature.
ST Malo - Entrance ahead.
    The fort almost destroyed during WW2 was rebuilt to it's former glory by 1960.
     
  Ferry to England  
    Tourist train.
Cathedral of St Malo, dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa    
     
  The front entrance of the Cathedral of St Malo Town square with chess board
     
  Old sailing ship in the harbour. Logs to defend against the waves
     
Mont Saint Michel Tourists checking out the mud flats. Back entrance - the quick way up and fewer steps.
  View from halfway up showing the new bridge. A long way to go.
    The Church at the top.
The old Causeway was causing the inlet to silt up - so a bridge has been built and the dredges are taking away the silt.   Long ago this area was used to house prisoners.  There were 3 wooden floors costructed to hold them.
  Ring the Bell  
    Roof design
The Pilgrims dining hall   Original tiles from long ago
  The human powered crane  
     
     
The main road up Full of tourist shops Some of the souveniers
The main gate.    
     
The two ended bus - no turning round at each end of the road.    
Weir on the river - Le Couesnon    
    Trams like home - Angers.

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