In the latter part of April this year, a new parking arrangement was put into effect for those driving to Mont-St-Michel. Before then, vehicles could be left near the base of the island. Now you must park at the opposite end of the causeway, in designated areas past the hotels and shops (8.50€ all day). From there it’s a short stroll to the shuttle pickup for MSM (included in parking fee). I knew beforehand that dogs wouldn’t be allowed on the shuttles, but there was no way that I was going to pay to leave the Mads and Mr. B at the on-site kennels. Thankfully it did not rain on the day we made the almost 2-mile/30 minute walk from parking area to Le Mont, and going by foot was an option that many took, with or without Fido.
Everything I’d read online about MSM made me think that there would be a crush of people in the first week of June but the talked about crowds materialized only well after 10am. We drove up around 9:30am and the lots were next to empty. Upon our return 2 hours later they were packed solid. Regrettably, a night-time excursion during the full moon never materialized since it rained in the evenings but we did manage to visit nearby areas known for a panoramic view of the island. Le Bec d’Andaine on Route du Bec d’Antaine, Genets; Route de Falaises, 20, Champeaux; and from the windmill in Moidrey.
Second to Le Mont’s fame has got to be the legendary La Mère Poulard Hotel & Restaurant. Known for their assortment of buttery biscuits or cookies, and especially for their fu-fu omelettes, La Mère is the kind of place that generates opinions. Tripadvisor had 284 the last time I checked. The spirited owner of our chambre d’hote did not hesitate to speak his mind about Poulard’s omelettes when I casually threw out the name, but first you must imagine how he looks like. I immediately thought of Santa Claus, but the MotH was reminded of that great big character on Harry Potter – what’s his face? – Hagrid. Now picture Rubeus Hagrid a little less gigantic and much older with salt-and-pepper hair. The ends were clipped shorter but he still wore a full beard. He did not speak english. He wore denim overalls everyday and his very unfriendly wire fox terrier Bidule (I looked it up – Bidule translates to Gizmo) never liked us from the beginning. In the course of a conversation regarding dining at Le Mont, we had to concentrate really hard to understand him. MotH’s high school french took a beating! I mention La Mère Poulard with a question mark hanging on the end and suddenly it was as if the Monsieur had gotten a shot in the arm. I could only catch words.
Ahhh…la mère Poulard. Tout Cinema! [His big arms begin sweeping out and around in exaggerated circles.] Beaucoup de gens!
Deux oeufs! he continues, making the motion of beating eggs. Trente euro!! Beaucoup fric! It was at this point I realized that fric could mean only one thing – money – because he held his palm upwards and rubbed thumb and first 2 fingers together in a definitive gesture. Well, atleast he was being honest.
How I wish I had caught him on film.