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July 21, 2003 9:56 PM   Subscribe

Mont St. Michel on the Normandy coast of France is a 12th century gothic abbey purched at the top of a tiny fortified village built around a small mountain; what's most unique about the location is that due to the very gentle incline of the coast, the mountain is located on salt marsh flats at low tide, but becomes an isolated island in the sea at high tide, accessible only by a raised road (added in the 1950s). It's also one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. While there are no shortage of photos of it online, this gallery had some of the most beautiful ones I'd ever seen. For those who can't make it to France, here's a quick guide to recreating the experience in miniature. warning - last link is from geocities, good for first six visitors only
posted by jonson (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
um, using Google cache for the geocities sites--wasn't that recommended only recently?
posted by y2karl at 10:25 PM on July 21, 2003


Yes, but then there's no incentive to hurry! Act now! Seriously, for those who care & miss it, the geocities site is just a silly personal page I ran across, the photo gallery is the main point of the post.
posted by jonson at 10:28 PM on July 21, 2003


Bugger, I must have been #7. The Google cache is not much help either - no photos :-(

That is certainly a beautiful place - like something out of a fairy tale.
posted by dg at 10:33 PM on July 21, 2003


Heh.. I feel silly derailing my own thread like this, but I was so impressed with the main gallery of photos of Mont St Michel that I went looking around at the photographer's other online galleries, and he's really very good. This appears to be a collection of his greatest hits.
posted by jonson at 10:43 PM on July 21, 2003


Jesus H. Christ! Someone gives you something beautiful and you snipe about a Geocities link? A few people got to see a little extra-- so what? That first link is stunning!

Thanks, Jonson! This is so great!
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:44 PM on July 21, 2003


mont st. michel / st. michael's mount.
posted by misteraitch at 11:33 PM on July 21, 2003


Damn, Mr H got there first! The English (sorry, Cornish) version is also beautiful but not quite on the same scale as the Breton one.
Nice pics, jonson.
posted by cbrody at 12:06 AM on July 22, 2003


Ahh, Mont St. Michel...childhood memories of the bestest, most garlicky mussels you'll ever have. Back when I ate mussels, that is.
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:16 AM on July 22, 2003


Thanks jonson. This is nice - a place I haven't been but would like to one day.

And misteraitch, thanks for the reminder of its Cornish twin ;).
posted by plep at 1:11 AM on July 22, 2003


I've been there (in the French one) - it's well worth it.


To boot: as adamgreenfield noted, you'll find excelent seafood restaurants in nearby towns and villages.
posted by magullo at 2:48 AM on July 22, 2003


The real life Minas Tirith (capital of Gondor in Lord of The Rings). I've been there - and it's absolutely amazing. If you have the chance to go and see it, don't pass on the opportunity!
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:05 AM on July 22, 2003


Wow, great link. gonna have to find this and check it out when I head to France this winter
posted by shadow45 at 4:47 AM on July 22, 2003


Top notch stuff. I love France, and am dismayed by the amount of good places there are to go, when I only have a limited amount of Holidays. I've only ever really been to Paris.
posted by doozer_ex_machina at 6:12 AM on July 22, 2003


Wow--that is truly one of the most beautiful man-made things I've ever seen.
posted by vraxoin at 6:22 AM on July 22, 2003


I'm hoping to go to France next year, so this will certainly be added to my itinerary. Thanks johnson, dg is right, its like something from a fairytale.
posted by Tarrama at 6:25 AM on July 22, 2003


Holy crap, I never even knew about that English variant - Thanks, misteraitch, that's VERY cool!
posted by jonson at 6:55 AM on July 22, 2003


I've always wanted to visit Mont St. Michel, particularly since seeing it in Powell and Pressburger's The Elusive Pimpernel where the location is used to good effect. Sadly, when I visited France a few years ago, I didn't make it there. Next time, dammit, next time!
posted by filmgoerjuan at 7:50 AM on July 22, 2003


Wasn't Mindwalk filmed there as well? I enjoyed that movie in a undergraduate/idealist geek sort of way, but mostly I thought the location was truly lovely.
posted by pomegranate at 8:17 AM on July 22, 2003


Simply beautiful.
posted by debralee at 8:26 AM on July 22, 2003


There's also Lindisfarne that goes from peninsula to island depending on the tide. Lindisfarne even has a side peninsula/island, St. Cuthbert's Isle that breaks off from it! Great pics though, thanks jonson!
posted by Pollomacho at 8:33 AM on July 22, 2003


yeah. mindwalk. mmmmm. wish local video stores carried that flick.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:29 AM on July 22, 2003


Everyone raves about Mindwalk, but I think it must be one of those movies you have to be smart to enjoy, cause I watched it and despite it being set in my favorite place on Earth (mont st. michel) I couldn't get into it. Would it have been so hard to include a mini-cooper car chase down the winding cobbled streets of the village, transitioning to a narrow escape on jetskis during high tide while the bad guys fire assault rifles at Liv Ullman?
posted by jonson at 9:38 AM on July 22, 2003


something not yet mentioned..the tides at that place are STRONG. that's a lot of ground to cover between low tide and high tide.

this place mentions:

The tides here are among the greatest in France, with a swing of up to 14m between the high and low water marks.The unwary pedestrian could easily be drowned by the sudden onslaught of high tide.

Furthermore, the force of those terrible tides shifts the sands about unpredictably, leading to unchartable quicksand fields


fun place! but back in the day, it was nigh impenetrable.
posted by taumeson at 10:20 AM on July 22, 2003


Something else not mentioned yet, there is a hotel & omlette house called Mere Poulard, on Mont St. Michel, which dates back to the late 1800s. They serve omlettes made in hand hammered gorgeous copper bowls and they are the fluffiest most ridiculously big and delicious omlettes I've ever had. I'm not kidding. Here's an article about the place
posted by jonson at 11:31 AM on July 22, 2003


Don't forget Henry Adams' classic Mont Saint Michel and Chartres ("probably the best expression of the spirit of the Middle Ages yet published in the English language"), to which William James attributed unusual frolic power.
posted by Zurishaddai at 10:16 PM on July 22, 2003


Oh, neat. I worked on that sand castle and took those photos that are up on Geocities. I've been meaning for years to put them up on my own site, so I'll do it now:
a Sand version of Mont St Michel. Someday I'll visit the real one.
posted by aigeek at 2:19 PM on July 23, 2003


the geocities site is just a silly personal page I ran across

Hey, you're talkin' about my first-ever website there. I can't believe I'm looking at a link to it on MeFi. And who's callin' my first ever website silly? That's high quality web design circa mid-1990s right there!!

OK, granted I haven't advanced much since then.
posted by girlhacker at 2:38 PM on July 23, 2003


Sometimes mefi amazes me. I choose a random result of a Google page that comes up on Geocities, and the author (and the photographer) of the page are not only members but read & comment in the thread. Amazing.
posted by jonson at 3:58 PM on July 23, 2003


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