From Normandy, we headed to the Loire Valley. We made a little detour on the drive to visit Mont-Saint-Michael. I have seen so many photographs of the abbey that it was fun to finally see it in person. It is about a 50 minute walk from the parking lot to the entrance of the abbey. You can take a free shuttle if you prefer but it was perfect weather to walk to the abbey and we had some time. It is suggested to arrive early since it can get pretty crowded. Traveling in September has been great as there are a lot fewer groups (but there are still a lot of school groups).
The island actually has a population of 29 people. The abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage sight and around 3 million visitors visit each year. It was first a sanctuary built in 708 that became a major focus of pilgrimage in the 10th century. Over the centuries, the abbey continued to grow. It was used as prison in the 1800’s when it wasn’t tied to a religious order. One of the most interesting things in the abbey to me was a large wheel that was used to lift heavy things up the side of the hill. They would put six people in the wheel to make it it turn.