Mont-Saint-Michel was our second excursion as the 2022 Fall/Winter CIEE group so some of the novelty had worn off but that’s not to say we weren’t excited. In the morning, we hopped into the van and set off on the hour and a half ride through the French countryside. I can’t speak for anyone else, but leaving the city always feels like releasing a deep breath I didn’t know I was holding. I looked forward to the journey almost as much as the destination itself
When we got off the van we hopped on a bus where we got our first glimpse of the island. It looked almost out of place with so many buildings crowded on the island contrasting the surrounding space which was nothing but a horizon. When we got off the bus we marched straight up, through the little town, taking photos as we tried not to run into people. By the time we reached the entrance to the monastery we had a beautiful view of the receded tide, if we could calm our heart rates long enough to notice it.
We received audio guides to listen to as we independently made our way through the tour for the next hour. We saw room after room of amazing architecture. I couldn’t help but get caught up in the experience. I imagined what a choir or an organ would sound like in each room and I pictured people moving through the place as they would have when it was new. The tour ended in a beautiful green courtyard where we stopped for a picnic lunch. After eating (and fighting off some very persistent seagulls) we had some free time to explore. I stopped in a few shops while I made my descent back to the bottom of the island to regroup.
Next, it was time to get muddy! We changed into shorts, took off our shoes, and went on a tour of the space the tide had revealed. The highlight was, without doubt, the quicksand. The guide took us to an unimpressive area and told us to stomp on the mud. Not entirely amused we did what he said. Not seconds later we were beside ourselves with laughter at the chaos that ensued. The solid mud gave way to the famed quicksand and several people sunk to above their knees. Fortunately, there were no quicksand casualties this time though a particular phone did its best, being dropped on three separate occasions. By the end of the tour everyone was in good humor however, feet were starting to hurt from all the walking. We washed off and made our way back to the van, and back to Rennes for some much-deserved rest.