As the year 2017 is just around the corner, we decided to see how was the year 2016. Well, it was wonderful! We started the TravelersChild and we put our traveling to whole new level. We spent most of this year traveling and exploring not only different places, but different foods, different cultures, met a lot of new great people and just had one of the best years of our life. It’s hard to sum up everything and put it all into perspective, but we decided to do exactly that. And what’s a better way than just to look back and think which places we enjoyed the most. Though it’s a difficult task, as we enjoyed every single moment, this also is a very pleasant objective. We hope that you will enjoy this trip down our memory lane as much as we did!
So allow us to introduce you, Dear Reader, to our No. 9, which is:
Mont Saint-Michel (France)
This place has a population of only 44 people, but attracts more than 3 million tourists a year1! Le Mont Saint-Michel is definitely one of the most picturesque sights in France. It is a small, almost perfectly rounded island located on the border between Normandy and Brittany regions, just one kilometer away2 from country’s northwestern shore.
From the ancient days Mont Saint-Michel held a significant fortifications protecting the mouth of the Couesnon River and all the Saint-Michel bay. Early Medieval Ages marked a new – pilgrimage – era of this extraordinary island: in the 8th century Benedictine abbey named Saint-Michel was started to built. It made Mont Saint-Michel one of the major Europe’s pilgrim centers.
Nowadays, due to spectacular ancients-old abbey located on the top of the mountain, and plain landscape around the island, the view of Le Mont Saint-Michel is breathtaking from great distance. But that is nothing, compared with an amazing medieval spirit floating in the air of steep and narrow abbey-island’s streets. While walking there, seems that modern times still haven’t come!
We visited Saint-Michele this January on the way to Porto and it was one of the several places that totally took our breath away during that ~4500 kilometer road trip.
What L. has to say about Mont Saint-Michel
Place on L’s list: 8
Mont Saint-Michele is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen! For me it is one of those authentic and preserved spots where I felt like I went back to the past.
What does it make Saint-Michel so special? Well, firstly, it is the landscape. This small and perfectly round island is starting to emerge in the horizon from nearly 5 kilometers away. With every kilometer its impressiveness makes you more and more excited until your head is blown away. Well, at least this is what happened to me. High and rocky Mont Saint-Michel island looks simply astonishing in the totally plain landscape!
Secondly, it is the spirit. Everything is so medieval there that it seems like modern civilization haven’t reached this tiny island yet. Well, except for modern buses that takes tourist to the entrance, and number of souvenir shops inside the island. Those really look modern. But that’s it! Every steep, narrow street, every old, authentic and preserved house, every billboard, patio, majestic abbey building looks like untouched since 17th century.
At some points for me Saint-Michel associated with some kind of theme park created by the medieval motives3. While walking there we thought that it would be very awesome to spend a night in such an authentic place. Sadly, we needed to go further, but if you, Dear Reader, are ever planning to visit this island, consider to enjoy its unique atmosphere not only for a day.
And one more thing! We were there in the winter, when wind and rain were all over the place. We still loved it, but I think visiting it in the sunny spring-summer time would make Saint-Michel island perfect!
What P. has to say about Mont Saint-Michel
Place on P’s list: 9
The moment when you see Mont Saint-Michel from afar is something that I’ll have in my mind for a very long time..
It was a foggy February afternoon, we were driving around with our car and were a bit lost. Though we were trying to follow the road signs, we still weren’t pretty sure if we were in the right place. And then just outta nowhere in the fog, far away, we saw this silhouette of this castle. It was breath taking.
Though the pic quality is awful, I had to add it, just to give you a sense of how impressive this view in the middle of nowhere looks like.
And the rest is history! Though, getting in to this place was quite annoying and it was a bit too crowded even in the mid-February, Mont-Saint-Michel really really left me a good impression. I was just wandering around thinking about being some kind of an Assasin4, running through the roofs and all that boyish stuff.
Why it still remained No. 9 on my list? The fact that it’s a medieval town on an island is cool, but that’s probably it. Also, I REALLY hate, when there are tickets just to get in to the city, you have to wait for a bus to get there and then there are tickets inside of the city to get into the main building and, finally, you can’t even get to the main tower of the city. It’s just simply fucked up.
Basically, the best part is seeing Mont-Saint-Michel from afar. The inside is nice, but nothing pretty much special.
BUT it’s always better to see for yourself than to trust on others opinion!
Though we both saw Mont Saint-Michel from different perspectives5, but for both of us this island remains one of the most spectacular places we visited in 2016. And that means a lot, because considering how many awesome places we have visited, year 2016 was totally crazy!!
To sum up, Saint-Michel is a perfect destination for those who seek to find something unique, and something extraordinary. Island’s landscape, history, atmosphere, surroundings just can’t leave you, Dear Reader, apathetic!
Rest of the TOP 10
1. Praia da Ursa (Portugal)
2. San Sebastian (Spain)
3. Saxon Switzerland (Germany)
4. Porto (Portugal)
5. Amsterdam (Netherlands)
6. Gent (Belgium)
7. Gerberoy (France)
8. Durbuy (Belgium)
9. Mont Saint-Michel (France)
10. Colmar (France)
- Just for a fact: Our home country – Lithuania – has a smaller population than this
- 0.6 miles.
- For example, it reminded of Hogsmeade built in Wizarding World in Orlando.
- Assasins Creed fans probably know what I mean
- P. felt like an Assasin, L. like in the magical world.