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    In the morning we got up at about 8 o'clock. Wendy and I agreed that we would have breakfast at 8.30. We leave the salon by this time, breakfast is already on the table, everything is hot and fresh. Breakfast for 10 days did not differ in variety, but it was enough until the evening: fruit juices, hard-boiled or soft-boiled eggs, various cereals with milk, several types of ham and hard cheeses, yogurts, hot bread or rolls, butter, coffee, croissants.

  Before leaving, we performed a very important operation - we entered the farm's GPS coordinates into the Vovka-navigator database.

  In the first radial exit, we immediately headed to one of the main attractions of our current trip - Mont-Saint-Michel (Le Mont-St-Michel).

  Again, as for the Loire castles, I will not burden you with a detailed description.

  You can write and talk about Mont Saint-Michel endlessly. Millions of photos around the world, a bunch of adjectives like beautiful (beautiful, excellent), incredible (amazing), unbelievable (incredible). And inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Site was one of the first, in 1979, when the list, in fact, was formed.

  Mont Saint-Michel is especially impressive when viewed from a distance. In this regard, we were lucky, because we did not approach the place in a straight line from Pontorson (road D976), but from the east, along the coast (road D43). There are several points along this road, from where the granite block of Mont Saint-Michel, crowned with a golden spire, suddenly appears in the middle of the ocean. This is an amazing sight!


    An artificial dam leads to the island from the mainland. By the way, it should be demolished soon. The zealots of cultural heritage insisted that the state build a pedestrian bridge on the site of the dam, so that the mountain, washed by the waves, would again become an island. I read about this while preparing for the trip.

  The first phase of the project, worth more than 150 million euros, will be the construction of a dam on the Couesnon River, which will increase its strength, and it will wash sediments from the bottom of the Mont Saint-Michel bay, thereby increasing its depth. The existing dam from the highway between the island and the mainland will then be demolished and replaced with a new structure, the main part of which will be a 1 km long footbridge. It will also mean that cars will be banned on the island, including for 65 local residents, and the parking lot at the foot of the cliff will be destroyed. The bridge will not impede low tides that carry sand back to the sea, which will keep the strait between the island of Mont Saint-Michel and the coast of Normandy as long as possible.

  And today you can drive directly to the foot of the mountain by car. But we did not manage to get close, we had to park the car in a sandy parking lot along the dam and stomp 700 meters.

  And through the so-called protruding gates of the fortress wall, we get into this "fortress of faith." And like pilgrims in the old days, we climbed to the top of the mountain - the abbey of Saint-Michel, passing the royal gate (Porte du Roi) with a drawbridge, Grande Rue street, packed to capacity with shops, restaurants and an endless stream of tourists, the Grand staircase -Degre (Grand Degre), with its solemnity setting the visitor to the perception of a wonderful abbey. And already, unlike the pilgrims, they stood in a long line at the cash desk (8.5 euros). However, the queue moves very quickly.

  On the way and already on the territory of the abbey there are several observation platforms from where a magnificent view of the surroundings opens. Groups of people are clearly visible - excursions walking on quicksand, as well as strings of riders on horseback (there is such an excursion). Especially wonderful is the view from the western terrace, where the porch of the monastery church opens. In addition, from here you can see the neo-Gothic spire of the tower, on which the figure of the Archangel Michael is fixed. Collapsible, covered with a thin layer of gold, 2.70 m high, the bronze figure also serves as a lightning rod.

   The interior of the monastery is very interesting.

   I especially remember the closed courtyard - the so-called "True Miracle".

  The colonnades arranged in a checkerboard pattern amaze with beauty, grace and harmony.

    We spent about four hours in Mont-Saint-Michel, but they flew by like an instant.

    Leaving Mont Saint-Michel and returning to the mainland, we drove further west along the coast and soon found ourselves back in Brittany. And an hour later we parked the car on the embankment of the town of Cancale (Cancale) - the oyster capital of France.

  Along the entire embankment in the port area, in the former houses of fishermen, there are restaurants specializing mainly in seafood dishes. But we decided to just take a walk along the embankment, appreciate the color of the traditional Breton port of La Houle (Port La Houle) with a lighthouse on the pier and watch how the tides change the landscape of the shallow bay beyond recognition.

  When we arrived at the Cancale embankment, the tide was just beginning and the entire coastal area of the bay was littered with yachts, ships, boats of various sizes lying on the sand. With the tide, this whole armada began to surface. I filmed on a video camera the process of the ascent of one boat, which at first rested on its side at the border of the water and literally within a few minutes surfaced and found itself in the middle of the water element, which inevitably ran ashore.

   We also planned to walk along the famous "customs officer's trail" to Cape Gruen (Poite du Grouin), but postponed this walk until the next time and drove on to Saint-Malo (Saint-Malo).

  One of the guidebooks says that Saint-Malo is the Breton answer to the Norman monastery of Saint-Michel. Although, Saint-Malo was founded a hundred years earlier than Saint-Michel. In any case, in tourist prospectuses Saint-Malo signs with the same pomp as Saint-Michel.

  Of course, objectively, Saint-Malo is not such a masterpiece as Saint-Michel, but it is unique in its own way and, of course, interesting.

  We arrived in Saint-Malo in the evening, when tourists and other idle people go out for evening walks and entertainment. So there was a problem with parking. We wanted to park our car in one of the many parking lots on the narrow strip between the port bay and the city wall, but at the entrance of all the parking lots the “Complete” sign was on. We spun for more than half an hour between parking lots, until we figured out how to look for a free place. It turns out that everything is simple, the main thing is not to fuss. You drive up to one of the parking lots where there are no or few waiting cars, wait no more than 15 minutes (or less, as you are lucky) and be sure to get a free space.

  Finally, having successfully parked the car (right under the wall near the city gates), we entered the city.

  This time we walked for a short time along the city wall and narrow, surprisingly cozy streets. But on the other hand, we had a delicious dinner in one of the restaurants on the square near the city hall, including tasting a luxurious seafood platter.

    It was already dark when we returned home and we can only guess how we would have found our farm in the dark without Vovka's help.

    On the second radial exit, we headed to the north of Normandy - the Cotentin Peninsula. We drove the first part of the way on the A84 expressway, then turned north towards Saint-Lo. Then we passed this place several more times and each time we observed with interest a string of wind farms. It looks especially fantastic in the morning fog - giants grinding clouds!
  The town of Saint-Lo was completely destroyed in the summer of 1944 during the fighting. Therefore, modern buildings dominate, even trees were planted here centrally and they are all the same height.
   If we drove through Saint Lo without stopping, then in the next town of Saint-Mere-Eglise we stopped for a couple of hours. Here we began the military-historical theme associated with the opening of the so-called second front in Normandy - the largest landing operation in the European theater of operations during the Second World War.
  The town of St. Mere-Eglise became famous thanks to the battle fought here on June 6, 1944 by the 82nd American Parachute Division. He gained particular popularity after the release of the film "The Longest Day", based on the book of the same name by Cornelius Ryan.  
  So it's not at all surprising that Saint-Mer-Eglise lives on memories of long-standing events and makes excellent money on them.
  The center of the town is a vast market square, in the middle of which rises a Gothic temple built in the 14th century. On the bell tower of this church hangs a large doll depicting an American paratrooper caught on a stone cornice. It is reminiscent of the adventure that befell Private John Steele of the 505th. Upon landing, he fell to the top of the church, and when descending the roof, his parachute caught on the stone mascarons of the bell tower, and the American hung helplessly over the market square at a height of several tens of meters. Entangled in the lines of his own parachute, he witnessed the battle fought by his comrades with the German garrison. At that moment, when he wanted to cut the lines, the knife fell out of his hand and fell under the feet of the German standing below. He looked up, noticed Steele and fired an automatic burst at him, wounding the American in the leg. The German died a minute later, and the American paratrooper was forced to hang on the bell tower for at least another hour before his comrades could come to his aid.
  Steel subsequently visited the French town many times and even became its honorary citizen.


   Not far from the market is the museum of the 82nd and 101st parachute divisions (Musee Airborne, 6 euros). The museum has two buildings.
  The first is a one-story building with a roof resembling the dome of an open parachute. Everything related to the actions of American paratroopers at the first stage of the battle for Normandy is collected inside. Many models and real exhibits: weapons, equipment, ammunition. Particularly impressive is the life-size model of the glider.
  Douglas DC-47 type aircraft is exhibited in the second building. It was from such aircraft that the Allied paratroopers jumped. The specimen in the museum is Argonia. Until recently, this aircraft served in the French Navy as a training vehicle.

   Leaving Sainte-Mer-Eglise, we headed to Cherbourg, but on the way we passed two more interesting towns. First Valognes - traditional gray houses and 18th century mansions restored after WWII. According to the guidebook, there is a Cider and Calvados Museum here, but for some reason we ignored it.

  Then we went to Barfleur, a significant port in the past, as evidenced by the Gatteville-le-Phare lighthouse, the second highest in France.


   And here is Cherbourg - the actual capital of the Cotentin Peninsula, the second naval base of France (after Toulon). In general, a fairly ordinary, industrial and port city. But for us, as, probably, for many, this city is associated with the film "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and the melody of Michel Legrand from this film, which made the city one of the symbols of France.
  It is also worth remembering that it was from Cherbourg that the Titanic set off on its last journey. That same maritime station no longer exists. On this site stands the "City of the Sea" complex: an aquarium, a submarine and other typical tourist establishments. 

On the way back home, we also stopped at Granville, a sailing center and a transit point for tourists traveling to the monastery of Saint-Michel.

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