So, remember how I mentioned we were staying in a chateau of our own on Day 9? Coincidentally, we were still there on Day 10. That’s what happens when you stay there for a night. 🙂 This place, chateau de Quengo, was delightful. It was an old family home kept by a sweet couple named Alfred & Ann, both of whom spoke terrific English. Ann gave us a tour of our rooms (we were staying in the Blue Room), and we were joined by Frou Frou, who has clearly done the whole “welcome the guests” thing before.
Ann made us tea and told us stories of the history of the house. It could have been burned by Germans when they occupied France, but it wasn’t, and so it’s stayed in the family. The next morning, despite being ill, Alfred served us a yummy breakfast and we talked music (he’s an amateur musician and often hosts informal artist residences at the chateau). If you are ever in the Upper Brittany area of France, I can’t recommend this place enough. The floors are tilted and creaky and it’s not a luxury hotel, but the history and character of the place are worth whatever quirks you might experience.
Our next stop was technically Mont St. Michel, but we first had to do some exploring in Becherel, the tiny little “book town” near our chateau. It was quiet and most of the stores weren’t open, but it was charming and I did manage to score a cool theater program from the 30’s. And we three amateur photographers had a blast with the buildings and signs outside the bookshops.
THEN, it was off to Mont St. Michel. Apparently the weather had finally decided to act French, so it was misty and gray, but that didn’t take away from the awesome view of the Mont from afar. We made like pilgrims and walked from the parking lot to the island, which wasn’t as exciting as i wanted it to be. See, I’d had this image in my head of walking over the sea to get there, but instead we walked over a construction site. They are in the process of “returning” the Mont to it’s “natural” state, surrounded by ocean on all sides, but they aren’t there yet. Still, it looks like this, which is nothing to sneeze at.
The base of the island isn’t much to get excited about – all tourist shops and mediocre restaurants. But the Abbey on top was something to behold. While I still can’t quite fathom why it would make sense to planners to decide to build a massive structure on an island in the middle of the ocean, I can appreciate the engineering and sheer massive manpower it must have involved. There were lots of beautiful places in the Abbey; here are two of my favorite pictures:
And finally, we headed a little further west to the little town of Bayeux, in the Normandy region, to begin our WWII pilgrimage. More on Bayeux in the next two entries, but we did enjoy a phenomenal dinner (thanks, Peter & Brenda!) at a great little restaurant called Le P’tit Resto. It was probably the most adventurous culinary experience we had on our trip, and the English translations of the menu were a little off, but it was incredible food. We also sampled Calvados, an apple brandy that became one of our favorite beverages in the latter half of the trip.
Another incredible day. But there’s more to come from Bayeux, Normandy and our last day in Paris. Stick with me for a couple days more, if you will!