After my week in Paris, I took the bus another three hours north to end my spring break in Normandy. Hannah, another student from ETSU (we had a couple semesters of French together last year), is studying at Université de Caen, so I stayed with her during my visit here.
On Friday, we spent the evening exploring the city, which is full of history. Caen was a hub during the Middle Ages, and it has the castles and cathédrales to prove it. The city lost a lot of its structures during WWII, where it played a crucial role for Normandy and France. The city is still in the process of reconstruction.
Visiting Caen has reiterated how truly different all of the regions of France are. Where Aix is bright and Mediterranean, Caen is grey and very England-esque. It’s so interesting to see the differences among the regions in this beautiful country.
On Saturday, we took a day trip to Mont Saint Michel, a place that I’ve wanted to go to since I first saw photos of it in my French class in high school. The bus ride to the Abbey was about two hours from Caen- we caught our first glimpses of le mont over the bay as we were about twenty minutes out. From our bus stop, we took a shuttle over the bridge to the island.
It was low tide, but the wet sand still managed to reflect the light despite of gloomy skies. The village beneath the Abbey was precious, evoking images of medivale Europe with its architecture and signs.
As the day progressed, the sun started to come out from behind the clouds. We climbed & climbed & climbed the stairs up to the Abbey: old stone and history in the walls. The interior of the Abbey was amazing- massive fireplaces and towering stained glass windows fell in place within the ancient walls. But the view out over the bay stole the show: Mont Saint Michel must truly be a place of God. Looking out over the sands, I was so amazed yet so content at the same time.
This week has been full of so many beautiful sights, but I am very excited to be taking the train back to Aix this evening. I miss the warmth of the city, and I am so ready to be there for the beginning of spring.