La Grande Rue, Mont Saint Michel
This is the name given to the main shopping and restaurant street at MSM.
Located inside the Boulveard Gate, La Grande Rue conects the entrance to the town with the abbey.
This is a delightful narrow street lined with all manner and means of shopping outlets, cafes, and snack type eateries etc. It is fairyland for someone like me who loves this kind shopping area which are usually found in Old Towns all over Europe. This one however, is particularly special.
The street is a sloping hill which ulimately turns into the steeper hill and steps leading to the top.
The Grand Rue is the only street on St. Mont Michel. It wasn't very wide, and was thick with people. There are lots of souvenir shops selling all types of things, even gargoyles!
If you want some where to eat, then there were plenty of nice looking Restaurant's, don't expect a cheap meal though!
What I liked through here, was looking upwards and seeing all the old style signs, they were great.
Houses along here date back to the15th and 16th centuries. You can even stay here if you want, as there are three Hotels inside the walls.
Need a Toilet, this is where you will find one. Make sure you have some small change though, it isn't free!
After parking the car, we walked the causeway towards the entrance. Located here were Ponies with saddles and one with a jinker. They weren't doing any business, but perhaps later?
There are two gates into the walled city, the Porte de l'Avancee, the main gate at the end of the causeway, leads straight to the Grande Rue, the lesser-used Porte Eschaugette, to the left of the main gate, is the quietest route up. All three routes converge at the Abbey on top of the island.
We went in the Main Gate, and came back through the Porte Eschaugette.
The Burgher’s Guardroom is now a tourist office which will help you with information.
At the entrance of this medieval town is the ancient Burgher’s Guardroom now the Tourist Office. After going through the Boulevard Gate and then the King’s Gate fortified with its portcullis, you will find the « Grande Rue » or main street with its museums, shops and houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Finally we get to the « Grande Degre » or Grande Staircase whose majesty is a prelude to the « Marvel ». After admiring the Abbey church, you can enjoy the beautiful and matchless view over the bay when going down the ramparts path.
At the entrance of this medieval town is the ancient Burgher’s Guardroom now the Tourist Office. After going through the Boulevard Gate and then the King’s Gate fortified with its portcullis, you will find the « Grande Rue » or main street wih its museums, shops and houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The parish church consecrated to St. Pierre, the patron saint of fishermen is a small edifice from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Finally we get to the « Grande Degre » or Grande Staircase whose majesty is a prelude to the « Marvel » (the Abbey)
Context: Spiritualilty, Religion and ... wars
(French side) In the 14th century, the Hundred Years War made it necessary to protect the abbey behind a set of military constructions, enabling it to hold out against a siege lasting 30 years.
The English occupied the whole of Normandy, the original French Norman knights who had been dispossed of their lands sought refuge at Mont Saint-Michel. The mount resisted against determined assaults of the English and became a powerful symbol of national resistance.
No one was more influenced by the story than the girl in Lorraine, Jeanne d'Arc.
Its religious significance was henceforth matched by a new strategic importance.
The Grand Rue is the Pilgrims' route followed since the 12th century, it climbs up to the Abbey gates.
This winding street is now crowded with tourists (it looks like the little girl sitting on her father's shoulders is getting the best view). I found the mass of moving tourists very confining and hot, so found a set of stairs on a side street for a little cool shade.
There are souvenir shops and snack shops along this route, but restaurants can be found on the side streets where it's much less crowded.