On our last day in Normandy we headed to Mont Saint-Michel around 10 a.m. We parked our car in the designated parking lot and took the bus to Mont Saint-Michel. Already at this time the buses were full and the good weather and Ascension Day weekend drew a lot of tourists. The island is visited by over three million tourists every year and it surely shows. The island is tiny, it basically has one street, a large monastery and some shops and restaurants. And it was crowded!
As I said, there is pretty much just one street and everyone’s walking it to the monastery and back. There are plenty of souvenir shops and cafes, but the amount of people everywhere is just staggering. We decided just to see the island and head somewhere else for lunch.
The monastery is huge and if you want to get more out of it, you should either pay for the audioguide or join the tour. We went with audioguides and it took us a bit more than an hour to see it. First of course we needed to stand in line for 30 min to get the tickets.
After seeing the monastery and walking back to the island entrance, we took the bus back to the parking lot. We had to pay for parking and the machine at the gate accepted like 5th credit card that we tried. Luckily between the three of us we had plenty of credit cards. The parking for a few hours cost 11,70€.
Our next destination was Rouen, where we were supposed to spend the night at another Airbnb location and head back to Brussels the next day. We got to Rouen without any issues. The only curiosity were the French road toll stations. They’re everywhere! 😀 Coming from Finland where road tolls are virtually unheard of, we needed to stop every once in a while and pay toll. During the three days we needed to pay tolls in total of 60€!
We arrived in Rouen and after finding our Airbnb and parking our car, we headed out to have dinner and see a bit of Rouen.
The Church of Saint Joan of Arc had this dragon-type of structure with scales on the roof. Unfortunately it was already closed, so we didn’t get to see what it looked like on the inside. Rouen is the city where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
We also got to see the Gros Horloge, which is installed in a Renaissance arch crossing the Rue du Gros-Horloge. The clock mechanism is one of the oldest in France, the movement was made in 1389. It was electrified in 1920s.
Once again we didn’t reserve a table for dinner and once again it was a huge mistake. Everywhere was full and we tried something like five different restaurants until we found a free table and even that was outside. Luckily it was a beautiful evening, so it wasn’t too cold outside. We ended up having crepes and galettes at La Mouton Noir. Nothing fancy, but the food was pretty good and we could toast our last day in France with some nice local cider.