Rain Delay!


Mont Saint Michel is a small mountain of an island just barely off the coast of France near the line that divides Brittany and Normandy. Although I’ve been there a few times I have never climbed the stairs to the top of the island where there is a thousand-year-old monastery church. I’d really like to see the church, and given all the walking and hill and stair-climbing I’ve been doing on this journey, I think probably I can do it.  As you can see in the photo above, it’s really quite a climb!

But Ireland, England and Northern France have been experiencing a wind and rain storm for the past couple of days. Accuweather told me it would stop around noon today, about the time I would arrive.  But turns out that was Not-Accu-Weather because its now nearly 5:00 pm and its still blowing and raining here on the Breton coast.

Here’s a nice view of the very top of the church.


The forecast for tomorrow and the rest of the week is much better.  Maybe I’ll try again.

You may notice a small change in this webpage. I’ve introduced a “cloud” index to that you can find particular posts related to places I’ve written about on this blog.  The larger the word, the more posts there are about that place. Somebody asked me about my Paris posts recently. Now, just by clicking Paris in the “cloud” she’ll have access to all of them.  I hope you’ll find this useful.


Medieval Vitré, France


I spent this morning in the late middle ages. I’ve come to a small city in northwestern France that surely has one of the largest intact 15th and 16th century town centers. The town is called Vitré. Have you ever heard of it? I probably wouldn’t know of it if George and I hadn’t stumbled into it about ten years ago. We stayed for only a few hours on a Saturday morning. As we left we found a tiny street market where we bought a loaf of bread so good I still remember it.

Today I’m probably the only tourist in town on a cold Tuesday morning. The shops are all closed and the streets are virtually empty making me feel even more like I’ve taken a ride in a time machine.


My hotel is next to the enormous chateau (castle) that is the primary attraction for tourists who come here. Built in the 11th century and expanded in the 15th century, the chateau today is still entered via a bridge over its very deep moat. Walls enclose the castle grounds which include two smaller chateaux as well as the original and ancient one in the center. The chateau belongs to the city and the town hall is located inside the castle walls. Here’s a link to Wikipedia’s page about this chateau, with good pictures.


Poor picture of the chateau, taken in the rain. Click the link to find better ones.

The large, gothic church of Notre Dame, built in the 14th century, is just steps from the chateau. The south side of the church (that is, one of the long sides) has something rare: an outdoor pulpit built into the wall of the church. It is decorated with some interesting stone carving including one of a head with three faces.


The outside pulpit on an late gothic church. People and animals have been carved on it.


The head with three faces. What do you suppose it represents?

Opposite that wall of the church is a palatial building, once the home of the owner of estates around Vitré. Surrounding all these grand places are the two- and three-story 15th century homes and shops of merchants. Today these places are still homes. The ground floors generally are filled with shops and restaurants but people live in the upper stories. How would you like to live in a 500 year old house – with modern plumbing?


Click here for a bit more about Vitré. And here are some other scenes I caught earlier today to share with you:


I had lunch in the leaning room of this restaurant below the chateau — crepes, of course! They were good.


I liked this sign: a piper playing from his perch on the moon with a blue bird sitting on his flute.



This is the door of a many-hundreds year old building that has NOT been maintained. I can’t recall ever seeing one in this condition and I thought the door was quite interesting.


My favorite picture of the day, taken early this morning.