Honfleur in Normandy has been a vacation destination for over a century hosting artists, families and those looking for a seaside respite. While the town is inherently cute with its tall, plaster and beam medieval style houses, the community comes alive at the onset of Spring. Outdoor cafes spring up and street vendors pour onto the wide docks. But there is one feature that really signals the arrival of Spring – the antique carousel! When I visited in March it had just re-opened and was taking the first visitors of the year on a colorful (albeit chilly) ride.
Posts from the ‘Normandy’ Category
Last week I published an article on PlumDeluxe about the traditional food products of Normandy and local agritourism. Visiting these cheese factories and apple orchards was one of the highlights of my trip to Northern France! I wanted to give you a closer look at my amazing visit to “La Village Fromagerie” – the E. Graindorge cheese factory in Livarot, France.
It’s actually pretty hard to find the World War I battlefields in Northern France. Infamous for the bloody stalemate that lasted there for years, the land has now returned to tranquil fields. While contemplating this change driving through the Somme Valley, I happened across the American Cemetery. The front gate and chapel door were unclosed, but there was not a single person to be seen. I thought it fitting on Veterans Day (also known as Remembrance Day in the UK and Canada, and Armistice Day in France) which commemorates the November 11, 1918 end of World War I, that we visit this quiet cemetery in the French countryside and think about these forgotten battles that took the lives of these soldiers.
So after walking to and around Mont Saint Michel, you’re probably wondering what is inside this mystic fortress. While strategically important, the site was first settled as a religious community and so it contains an extensive and historic abbey. The Romanesque style Abbey Church, Cloisters and support rooms are incredible. After the French Revolution, the site was used as a prison but was reclaimed in the late 19th century as a historical landmark. The stone architecture underwent several waves of restoration to reveal the original medieval complex (with the exception of iconic steeple topped by a St. Michael statue).
Mont Saint-Michel has always seemed liked a mystic place. Totally isolated, the massive religious fortress seems to rise from the sea. Settled by a hermit saint in 8th century on a tidal rock, kings and commoners alike have sought out this place continually ever since. One of the most recognizable places in France and a UNESCO World Heritage site, you better believe I was going to spend some time exploring Mont Saint-Michel! So in the spirit of those medieval travelers who made the pilgrimage to the Romanesque Church of the Abbey crowning the mountain, here’s how I approached and climbed Mont Saint-Michel.