July 6, 2018


Some 2 kms. off the Normandy coast of France lies this 100-hectare island that is both a fortress and a monastery with a cathedral at the top. It has been a strategic location since ancient times because it was easy to defend, helped by the high tide that could isolate it or drown invaders trying to scale the high walls. The topography exemplifies the feudal social structure of that time with God and the Church at the top with the clergy’s living quarters below and the houses for the small population of fishermen and farmers at the base. It used to be isolated from the mainland during high tide but a new causeway bridge built a couple of years ago permanently makes access easy for visitors who can walk across it or take the shuttle bus that goes back and forth from the mainland every 15 mins. or so. It was low tide when I came for a visit so there was no sea around it which made the pictures I took less dramatic. The whole island with its medieval structures and cobblestone streets is impressive nevertheless.

The island shot early in the morning while waiting for the tide that didn’t come.
Approaching the entrance to the fortress.
This shuttle bus goes back and forth from the mainland ferrying visitors.
This was past midnight when the lights were still on.
The moment you come inside, you get transported back to medieval times.
Sheep graze in the surrounding countryside with the Mont in the far background.
Most of what you see is still the original fortification.
Most of the dwellings are located in the lower part of the rocky hill.
Part of the cobblestone walkway leading up to the abbey.
A lookout point manning the battlements of the fort.
A long arcaded cloister surrounds the garden.
Inside the church where all the original wooden pews still remain.
The view from the balcony of my hotel.
Overlooking one of the many well-tended gardens around the abbey.
A double row of columns surround the cloister.
Some of the delicacies sold in the shop which line the main thoroughfare.
A huge wooden wheel used to haul supplies up to the store next to the church.
The shops that line up street have old signs in keeping with the medieval ambiance.
One of the narrow passageways leading to some restaurants.
Beautiful cloister leading to the church entrance.
This is one of the large halls inside the abbey.
Another hall with a ribbed ceiling.
From this corner you can see the whole bridge leading to the mainland 1-1/2 kms. away.
The path hugging the medieval walls leads down to the houses and shops.
An old cemetery. There are presently 44 inhabitants in the island.

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