For Spring Break this year, I accompanied three other teachers and 26 high school students on a trip to France. This was my second trip to France but the first time to get out of Paris.
We spent a long morning in the bus traveling from Tours toward Normandy. The countryside gradually changed as well as the style of the homes that we passed. Before noon, in the distance appeared a strange sight that resolved out of the mist as we grew nearer. We could see an ancient church high on a spur of rock. As we grew even closer we began to see the tidal flats that surround Mont. St. Michel. This ancient abbey evolved over many years. At high tide, this spur of rock became an island, although there is now a permanent causeway that connects it to the mainland. There are no cars in this tiny town that evolved around the base of this great rock. The abbey that crowns it is a complex mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The monumental scale of this structure is incredibly awe inspiring.
After a lovely mid day spent wandering the winding streets of Mont St. Michel and then eating at a marvelous creperie we climbed back on the bus that carried us to the ancient walled city of St. Malo. There is a more modern port located there, but inside the high walls and ramparts is a maze of cunning little streets filled with lots of little shops and restaurants. I feel certain that this area does largely cater to tourists, but we really enjoyed walking the ancient streets and seeing the ancient cathedral and lovely gardens that we found there. The people there were VERY friendly and most pleasant to deal with. Sadly our tour had not arranged for us to stay there that evening, but we were not disappointed with the Hotel des Ormes, just a short drive away. The hotel was quite modern with large spacious rooms and amenities more familiar to Americans than the tiny rooms found in Paris. The Hotel is built on the grounds of an old chateau, where a golf course and water park has been constructed. This was definitely the best lodging and hotel food we encountered on our trip and I'd love to go back and spend a few days in this lovely part of the country.
I am well pleased with our experience in Normandy and Brittany, and I look forward to the opportunity to spend more time there.