On the Mont

A wintry fog shrouds the fields outside my window this morning, and so I have opted to stay inside and bake cookies. Also, I thought I would finally write a much-deserved entry on my visit to Mont St-Michel last week.

After our stay in Etretat, Ben and I traveled to Bayeux where we stopped for lunch and visited the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry. I have dreamed of coming here ever since I fell in love with medieval history in college. The 11th century tapestry is over 225 feet long and depicts the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings, in which William the Conqueror defeated the Anglo-Saxon King Harold in 1066. It is gory, intricate, and glorious to behold in person.

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The 58th and final panel of the Bayeux Tapestry
My favorite tapestry tidbit: In one panel, a comet (to be identified centuries later as the Halley’s Comet) is stitched into the sky. At the time, it was believed to be an ominous warning of God’s displeasure.

At the museum gift shop, I couldn’t help but purchase my own tapestry kit, which includes an exact pattern from one of the tapestry panels, as well as wool thread made right in Bayeux. Here’s hoping that this rainy day project is more easily conquered than those pesky Anglo-Saxons.

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After our stop in Bayeux, we continued on to Mont St-Michel, a medieval island wonder that incidentally makes a brief appearance in the Bayeux Tapestry. The abbey, which dates from the 8th century, looms above the rest of the fortified town. We opted to stay overnight on the Mont itself so we could continue to explore its ramparts and labyrinthine alleyways once the day crowds departed for the evening.

 

Mont St-Michel is wondrous by day, and magical by night. It is hard to describe exactly how perfect the light is at any given moment in this extraordinary place, so I’m afraid pictures must do.

 

 

 

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