Mont Saint Michel & Saint Malo, France

Walled City of Saint Malo Brittany France
Walled City of Saint Malo - Brittany, France
Mont Saint Michel Normandy France
Mont Saint Michel - Normandy, France
Streets of Mont Saint Michel France
Streets of Mont Saint Michel, France

Medieval Homes Streets of Mont Saint Michel France
Medieval Homes & Streets
of Mont Saint Michel - France
Beach Promenade Saint Malo France
Beach Promenade - Saint Malo, France
Mont Saint Michel & Saint Malo, France (6/24-25/2011) - Mont Saint Michel ranks among the wonders of the Western world!

We have enjoyed the sand castles built on the beach for contests of the ancient abbey and town of Mont Saint Michel. Actually visiting Mont Saint Michel and climbing its hundreds of steps through its iconic winding medieval streets goes way beyond any depiction made of sand.

Mont Saint Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage site located on a small rocky island rising from a flat seabed just off the coast of the northern French region of Normandy. 

Mont Saint Michel is best known for the spectacular and well-preserved Norman Benedictine Abbey of Saint Michel at its peak, surrounded by the winding streets and convoluted architecture of the medieval town that dates back over a 1,000 years (see photos).

Coming early in the season (June) is wise because 'only' about 4,000 people were here when we visited and the Mont Saint Michel's small winding streets were packed. It is hard to image what the 10,000 people/day in the summer would be like.

Saint Malo, an hour’s drive from Mont Saint Michel, is a small walled coastal town in Brittany, France. Once the feared base of pirates, heavily fortified against Norman (English) attack, today's Saint Malo is one of the top tourist draws in Brittany. It has a long sandy beach that is popular with visitors. Saint Malo's walled city (intramuros) was almost destroyed (80%) in WWII but now beautifully reconstructed (see photos).  

Mont Saint Michel Normandy France
Mont Saint Michel - Normandy, France
Some history… In addition to the unique setting and amazing medieval architecture, Mont Saint Michel holds a dear place in the hearts of the French people. During the Hundred Years' War, the English occupied most of France and made repeated assaults on Mont Saint Michel, but were unable to seize it. 

Mont Saint Michel Normandy France
Mont Saint Michel - Normandy, France
Even the Germans in WWII did not occupy Mont Saint Michel because of its exposed position. So, this small place has always remained French. In its past history, the wealth and influence of the abbey concerned people so Mont Saint Michel was closed and converted into a prison. Much of the beautifications were lost during this timeframe. The prison was finally closed in 1863.

Please see our other 10 travel posts on beautiful France:

Paris, France

Loire Valley, France

Strasbourg - Alsace, France 

Alsace Wine Villages, France

Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux Wine Country, Saint Emilion, Paulliac, & Cognac, France

Burgundy & Cote d'Or Wine Country, France 

Chablis, Dijon, & Vezelay, France

Champagne Route, France

Reims (Champagne Capital), France

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