Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Where's Bear? Mont Saint Michel

You guessed right. Bear and I escaped on Sunday to Mont Saint Michel for an overnight break.
We've been wanting to go all winter. After reading David Lebovitz' omelette experience that was it. We booked ASAP and took the train from gare Montparnasse to Dol-de-Bretagne, a tiny town 30 minutes bus ride away. The driver kept pointing out MSM as soon as it appeared on the horizon. Everyone was shooting and craining their necks for a look. We were in the front row so natch we had ringside views.
This is low season so the throngs were managable and we got a reasonably price at La Terrasse de la Mere Poulard.
La Mere Poulard is the first thing you see coming through the archway on Grande Rue.
I was starving and headed to lunch immediately. A big kitchen is open for all to come and gawp. You don't have to eat there but I was glad I did.
These guys are beating eggs up a storm, rat-a-tat-tat. They keep a distinct rhythm going while staying completely straight-faced.
Egg pans heat up in the fire. Gobs of butter are thrown in and poured from one pan to the next.
Et voila! If this is a 3-egg omelette then they are using ostrich eggs in my opinion. I've never tasted anything like it except maybe a fluffy soufflé. The plain 'traditional' omelette and mine with smoked salmon and roasted potatoes on the side are the same price - 34€
Post-lunch I was in no shape to climb up all those stone steps to the Abbey. I made it as far as the small church and then turned back.
No matter where you go views are spectacular on the island of Mont Saint Michel.
Its a small climb up to the ramparts surrounding the town and worth it.
Just look up and gasp.
Plenty of Normandy snacks to buy like caramels
And those divine butter cookies. la Mere Poulard has a nice shop in Paris at 19, boulevard d'Opera. I checked it out before going looking for I don't know exactly what, but I noticed prices were lower than in their MSM shop! More selection too. Qui sait?
Bear was getting hungry around evening so we stopped in a simple brasserie called Les Terrasses(?) along the ramparts. The mussels, called Bouchot, are the same you get in Paris from the bay around the Abbey. I thought they tasted much better onsite. 13€ for this filling marmite.
MSM is like Venice. Part of the fun is experiencing the medieval town once day-trippers go home.
I tried to capture a night shot but my iPad wasn't up to it. Simply spectacular to see.
Back in my room time to paint watercolors.
Mont Saint Michel is so iconic, you get carried away and feel you can paint it any color you like and I did, even dreamy purples. If you enjoyed this post and want to support it, buy Paris letters, maps and Mont Saint Michel watercolors (there are 8 watercolors up on Etsy) or forward to a friend. Cheers!

35 comments:

  1. WOWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!
    So prolific!
    Looks like you had FUNNN!

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    1. I did! i did! I thought I was going to run out of paint.
      Very inspiring Mont St. Michel is.

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  2. Carolyn I1:54 PM

    I went 2 times to MSM and would go back today.
    love all the varying approaches to capturing it! I am sure it looks so different from time of day to different weather conditions.

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  3. You're so lucky! I saw that David Lebovitz post (he is wonderful BTW) and it was mouth-watering. I wonder whether those guys get carpal tunnel syndrome from beating eggs? I find it a lot of work. Worth it, but all day?
    Great photos. Would love to know the story of the building at a 45 degree angle.

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    1. You have a practical turn of mind T aste of Fr!! They did take turns and were very skinny...a new French regime ? ;))

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  4. Anonymous4:41 PM

    Dear Carol, I fell in love with MSM when I saw the movie, "Mindwalk" which was filmed on the island. See it if you can. A Facebook friend posted something about MSM on the same day that David's story about the omelet arrived. I turned him on to it and I think that Chef Lebovitz has a new fan. Cheers, Stephan

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    1. I saw MINDWALK mentioned somewhere..I'll look for it Stephan

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    2. Anonymous8:32 PM

      :)

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  5. I loved visiting MSM & was there during the highest tide of the year - really spectacular. Had the omelette at Mere Poulard & loved it also - I don't have the energy to beat my eggs that hard. Your water colors are spectacular as always.

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  6. Never have I've seen just the view from afar and fell in love with the pics of the actual city itself...is it my imagination or is the chef on the right (whipping eggs) a dead ringer for Van Gogh's Potato Eaters? and of course your fantastic watercolor of Mon San Michel...eloquent!

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  7. Allie2:32 AM

    Another great blog. !!! But that omelet----not for me.
    The watercolors are fresh a.nd fantastic I think they jump off the easel

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  8. must have been a beautiful trip. i never made it to mt st michel but 1 day i mite.

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  9. Bonnie L8:22 AM

    That omelette looks YUMMY! Agree, the best time on the island is at night with so few people. After 3 days my knees were screaming from so many steps but, made it up to the church. Very good Crêperie la Sirène (upstairs! over a gift shop) on Grand rue. You & bear need to go across the bay (great views of MSM) to Cancale (if you haven't already!). Buy oysters on the quai, eat them sitting on the sea wall with a demi bouteille of Muscadet bought around the corner. Isn't France grand?! You have a fabulous life, Carol...

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  10. Waht a nice getaway..looks so peaceful..and calm..and different.Beautiful glazings:)
    What are your fave colors Carol?

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  11. I find this place magical. I combined it with a self driving auto tour of the Normandy coast following the landing beaches and I was just captivated. I went off season as well and judging by your pictures, I had the same type of weather. The cloister was so peaceful and I totally agree with your observation about the evenings when the tourists leave, almost mystical. Thank you for the photos and the memory.

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  12. MSM great!
    lovely watercolors!

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  13. Betsy E10:26 AM

    That's a fantastic watercolor Carol! It would be great to have an article about you & your work in The Art of Watercolour magazine. Love that watercolor palette too & the colors in it!

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    1. Thank for making my day!
      Wouldn't that be loverly...

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  14. GwenEllen10:33 AM

    Thank you so much for these wonderful photos and bringing back memories of being stranded on MSM before the causeway. We'd take students there for the day and have to wait until we could drive back later in the evening.

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    1. I cant begin to image...I saw a group of French school kids parading around barefoot!?
      Who knows what that was about...

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  15. Kathleen10:37 AM

    Spectacular capturing of such a wonderful place!!!
    Greetings from California!

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  16. Kathryn10:47 AM

    your watercolor of MSM, the last one, in purple, is breathtaking. Tony and I visited MSM several years ago, and of course, we loved it, and now you have brought us back.

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  17. Oh Carol! I love these -- and I love every photo and memory you shared here, partly because they remind me of my own. It's an amazing place, so enormous. When we were there it was pretty nippy and rainy for part of it. Those steps are killers! But just fabulous! Thanks for sharing this and bringing back my own sweet times!

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  18. Chef Ann12:27 PM

    Where did you stay?

    Delightful post.

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    1. I think I mentioned Les Terrasses mere poulard.
      Nothing special IMHO and around the corner.
      Overpriced inseason for sure.

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  19. My favorite place in the world. Beautiful photos. Scrumptious watercolors.
    Also fun seeing you on Instagram.

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  20. Lynne C1:34 PM

    Your artwork is fabulous..t

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  21. This is so strange as I was just looking at how to get to MSM from Paris just yesterday! I've always wanted to visit since I was a little girl and now I just HAVE to go. Hoping it's this year, but at latest next! LOVE your watercolors of MSM, too! So glad you enjoyed it! (That is one expensive omelette!) ;)

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    1. Well I'd heard the omelette was 40€ so it seemed like a break ;)
      A once in a lifetime experience like visiting MSM.

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  22. MSM great!
    lovely watercolors!

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  23. Deb K2:53 PM

    Love that place. Going back in May

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  24. Cindy S11:30 PM

    MSM is better than the pyramids or the Taj because you can stay there! I loved the quite of the morning best. And the view from our room was fab. Lugging our small suitcases up 4 flights of circular stairs was a challenge though.

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    1. Good point Cindy.
      I've been to the Taj and it would be nice to stay there and see it in different times of the day...

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  25. Wow! I need to visit MSM and eat one of those omelettes! One day......love the watercolours, impressed you had the energy for painting in the evening.

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