Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mont St Michel & Falaise.

Al is climbing to the top of the cathedral on Mont St Michel because that's what he does. I've decided to forgo having a heart attack in the place of my French dreaming.

Has just got a bit noisy. Another massive tour group just passed through where I'm sitting. No cars on this little island but thick with tourists from all over the world. Bumper to bumper. You have to keep moving. And heaps of school kids on excursions, charging around like they own the place.

First heard about MSM in a high school French class. Something in a text book? I also remember the entertaining stories in my French class at Melbourne State College. Monsieur John Johnson told us stories of tourists parking at the base of the Mont. While they were sweating up the lanes and steps their cars were covered by the swiftly rising tide.

Despite the hundreds - thousands? - of tourists here today, most bused across the causeway, and despite the rampant tourism - every shop sells tourist tat, food and so on - this is the most incredible place I've seen over here. And that's saying something.

Al & I first came here in 1985. Neither of us recalls anything specifically touristique back then, just a line of campervans, like our combi, stretching towards MSM as far into the distance as we could see. We dropped a u-ey. Couldn't be bothered waiting.

Now all is for the tourist. Our van is parked perhaps 3 or 4 k away. We had to walk. Got a bum steer from the carpark attendant who told us we couldn't take our bikes. Could have saved my legs & avoided a hypo had we just taken them. Al is such a goody two shoes. He has to ask.

Tourism clearly rules. Brand new hotels & restaurants line the road up to the causeway. Monstrous carparks have been built; trees planted. Suppose it is 27 years since we were last here. Glad I saw it back then. Like I'm glad I snorkeled on the outer Great Barrier Reef off Port Douglas, Far North Queensland before the developers got there.

Anyway it's 7pm now, hence tense change. Back in France. It was a beautiful walk across the causeway watching MSM getting larger & more detailed as we approached.

Left MSM at 3pm and have been driving since. It's now 7 & we're back for our third visit in Falaise, Normandy. Right now I'm sitting on my fold out chair gazing up at the castle of William the Conqueror. Yes. That old. Can't believe we're here. Big relief to head to a place where we know we'll find a great camping. It's situated right at the base of the castle which looms atop a rocky outcrop. It's an astonishing vision. Like MSM & so much in France & Europe it makes me aware of my tiny part on the continuum. Need to drink some wine - a delicious Sauvignon from Le Touraine - to stop me getting all philosophical. Or sickly. One of those.

The camping at Falaise is quiet apart from birds twittering, and not much changed since 1985. Not a popular destination. Weird. Suits us.


  1. Sounds like you are having a wonderfull time, although I do giggle when you say camping as to me, camping is when one sleeps in a tent, in a swag of some sort, not in a combi van. <3 Jules

  2. In France we drive a 'camping car' - pronounced 'comping car'. We'd call it a campervan. The Brits say 'motorhome'. We stay in 'le comping'. Have just got used to saying 'camping' rather than anything else.

    Cheers for commenting!! Love it.

  3. I've always wanted to go here. Always.