Cancale and Mont St-Michel

Our third stop in Normandy (actually a little over the line into Brittany) was the Château Richeux, a 1920s villa with eleven guest rooms outside of Cancale. The chateau is very nice but the real reason for staying here was to eat at its Michelin-stared restaurant, le Coquillage. Here are some photos of the Château and grounds.

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That little balcony was part of our room

That little balcony was part of our room

A room with a balcony with a view of the sea

A room with a balcony with a view of the sea

The grounds

More view

Some folks enjoying an afternoon horseback ride

Some folks enjoying an afternoon horseback ride

Not too late for some fall blooms

Not too late for some fall blooms

And even a swing for kids

And even a swing for kids

The sock pays tribute to the town of Cancale in the distance

The sock pays tribute to the town of Cancale across the bay

And, using the camera's zoom feature, Mont St-Michel floats in the distance

And, using the camera’s zoom feature, Mont St-Michel floats in the distance

The sun is setting. Must be time to get ready for dinner!

The sun is setting. Must be time to get ready for dinner!

I made reservations for dinner our first night at the same time I made our room reservations months before. This was probably the fanciest meal we had during the entire trip, including Paris. I understand to be awarded a Michelin star, everything has to click: the food, the wine, the service, and the overall ambiance of the place. In the case of Restaurant le Coquillage, it all came together perfectly. The photos really don’t do the meal justice but it’s fun seeing them again.

Cancale is called the oyster capital of Brittany so what better way to start a meal?

Cancale is called the oyster capital of Brittany so what better way to start a meal?

And, of course, shrimp

And, of course, shrimp

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Lots of courses with small portions

Lots of courses with small portions

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Note the seafood theme here?

Note the seafood theme here?

I can't even remember what this was

I can’t even remember what this was

Mussels

Mussels

And finally, a sampling of some local cheeses

And finally, a sampling of some local cheeses

Another local specialty, Calvados, in the library after dinner. Pretty damn civilized!

Another local specialty, Calvados, in the library after dinner. Pretty damn civilized!

We could see Mont St-Michel across the bay from our window so the next day we set out to become two of the millions of other tourists who visit the site annually. Legend has it that the Archangel Michael appeared in 709 to Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, inspiring him to build an oratory on what was then called Mont Tombe. The original church was completed in 1144 but construction continued over the next seven centuries.

Approaching Mont St-Michel on the new bridge

Approaching Mont St-Michel on the new bridge

Once on the island, there is only one main street which has all the hotels, restaurants, trinket shops, and tourists.

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But one can always find some quiet spots.

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We took a detour through one of the ‘museums’ that provided a glimpse into the life of people that lived here centuries ago.

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This is where Tiphaine, a famous astrologer hung out.

This is where Tiphaine, a famous astrologer hung out.

Evidently, Tiphaine's husband was worried that she was engaged in more than astrology

Evidently, Tiphaine’s husband was worried that she was engaged in more than astrology

The buildings and history of the place combine to provide some great photo opportunities. Here are some random shots as we wandered about.

A cottage with a view

A cottage with a view

The mudflats at low tide. Tides here can rise 50 feet, the largest in Europe.

The mudflats at low tide. Tides here can rise 50 feet, the largest in Europe.

Perch with a view

Perch with a view

As we keep climbing, a view back toward the village

As we keep climbing, a view back toward the village

The new bridge will replace the 100 year old causeway and will restore natural habitat in the bay

The new bridge will replace the 100 year old causeway which will be removed, restoring tidal flows and natural habitat in the bay

There's our chateau way over there in the mist!

There’s our chateau way over there in the mist!

The Abby Garden

The Abby Garden

The view when the monks weren't gardening

The view when the monks weren’t gardening

The Abbey Church built from 1020-1135

The Abbey Church built from 1020-1135

Inside, a little renovation work going on

Inside, a little renovation work going on

These huge columns were required to support the weight of all that stone on top

These huge columns were required to support the weight of all that stone on top

If you were wondering how all that stone and other supplies were moved uphill during the middle ages, here’s the answer.

A long ramp down to the bottom

A long ramp down to the bottom with a sled…

Turned by a giant wheel in which as many as 10 men ran like gerbils

…turned by a giant wheel in which men ran like gerbils

And a couple of parting interior photos…

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Notice how thick the walls are

Notice how thick the walls are

 

The Knights' Hall was originally a scriptorium for copying manuscripts. It was the only heated room on the Mont

The Knights’ Hall was originally a scriptorium for copying manuscripts. It was the only heated room on the Mont

This look means ‘we have toured enough and it is time to go’.

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To me, one of the nice things about traveling is discovering spots that aren’t tourist destinations. Mont St-Michel is certainly a can’t-miss stop but after spending the morning with the crowds, we decided to just drive around the countryside. Here are some photos from our route that took us on a little district road that followed the coast around the Cancale peninsula.

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My fantasy is to live in this house... or at least be invited to spend a week.

My fantasy is to live in this house… or at least be invited to spend a week.

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And so ends our last day in Normandy and Brittany before leaving tomorrow for Paris.

Sunset from the bathroom window

Sunset from the bathroom window

 

 

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