5/19/2008 冒險第九天: 聖米歇爾山 (Adventure 9th day: Mountain Saint Michel)

Today I went all the way from Le Havre to Le Mont Saint Michel~
This is where Le Mont Saint Michel locates:  (English: Mountain Saint Michel) (聖米歇爾山)
Mountain Saint Michel is a small piece of land connected to mainland France with a narrow natural land bridge, which is flooded during high tide and revealed during low tide.
Mountain Saint Michel was a stronghold for Romano-Breton, a specific group of Celtics, during 6th and 7th century. Celtic legend had it as a resting land for souls wandering on the sea. In year 708, Bishop Aubert was instructed 3 times in the dream by archangel, Michel, to build a monastery on Mountain Saint Michel–a.k.a the name, Mountain Saint Michel.
In year 966, Duke of Normandy, William I, established “The Benedictines” in the abbey. After several years of fortification and expansion, together with its natural advantages, it was unable to be seized under several assaults and survived Hundred Years War in 15th century. During the French Revolution, Mountain Saint Michel was attacked by the riot and the abbey was converted to a prison; until year 1874, Mountain Saint Michel was declared historical monument by the French government. 
If you see a satellite image, you’ll know that the land on the right of the picture is Normandy province, and the land on the left is Brittany. Originally, Mountain Saint Michel was connected to the mainland by a small land bridge, and Mountain Saint Michel became an islet during high tide. However, a “road” was built and elevated the land bridge so it would not be totally independent from the mainland anymore. 
(這樣去玩的人不用怕在漲潮時要划船出來了, 不過我聽說這條人工的路以後還是要拆掉, 回歸自然)
When I drove closer to the Mountain Saint Michel, I saw it stood mystically in the green meadow; is it a mirage, or is it real?

The road in the front has been elevated and served as parking areas.

The warning sign shows the times of high tide and indicates the partial parking area that can “disappear” during the high tide. There are 2 times of high tide in 24 hours.
Going into Mountain Saint Michel:

Narrow passage with shops, restaurants, and hotels on 2 sides.  
The abbey seen from below:
The layout of Moutain Saint Michel:

4 stages of building the monastery over time: 

In the court yard of the abbey:
The swampy areas surrounding Mont Saint Michel: 
Inside the cathedrale:
說實在修道院裡面的路看起來錯綜複雜又陰森森的, 沒跟著路標走一定迷路, 不知道以前的修道士怎麼過的~

I didn’t stay until dark to see Mountain Saint Michel in the dark (at about 10pm), because it turned quite cold and windy when the sun was setting. I left after I had dinner here. 五月的諾曼第晚上有夠冷!

By the way, Mountain Saint Michel is the blueprint for “Minas Tirith” in the movie–“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ” directed by Peter Jackson.

5/18/2008 冒險第八天: 到吉維尼看莫內花園, 艾特哈塔 (Adventure 8th day: Visit Monet’s garden in Giverny, Etretat)

Giverny is a village in Normandy province that’s about 80 km northwestern from Paris. The famous impressionist painter–Claude Monet(莫內) resided in Giverny and created some of the most representative works, such as the ones depicting the water lilies and the Japanese bridge in his garden. There are only replicas in his house now; the authentic paintings are exhibited in Orsay or other museums.
On the way to Monet’s house, I saw these 2 colorful parrots. The blue one seemed quite destructive as it kept picking on the pine tree 
And the red one was busy showing off its flamboyant feathers.
The layout of Monet’s house and garden:
Monet’s home–it’s still kept in the way as when he lived in here. It is a wide 2-story building.
Monet’s garden:

The pond with water lillies that Monet drew in his paintings.
The “Japanese Bridge” that was often drawn in Monet’s paintings:  
Wisterias hanging on one of the bridges:
Who knows what kind of flower it is? It’s so cute.  (It looks like a cat’s toy; bees love it too. )
May is a good season to come here as all the flowers are blooming:
Etretat is a small town near the seashore in Normandy province, about 28 km north from Le Havre.
I came here to see “L’Aiguille creuse.” (the hollow needle). The French writer, Maurice Leblanc, wrote this pointed chalkstone in one of his “Arsene Lupin” series, describing it as that Arsene Lupin found the treasures stored by various kings. (亞森羅蘋系列的 “奇巖城” 中提到的”空洞之針”) 從這裡看起來是有夠神秘的, 我是偶然在書上看到的, 一看之下實在太驚訝了, 真的有這個小城跟針岩!
Of course the rock that stands in the sea is not hollow like it is in Maurice Leblanc’s fiction, nor can it shelter any objects inside.
The official name of this part is called “La Falaise d’Aval et L’Aiguille,” meaning “the cliff of downstream and the needle.”
There are 3 natural arches in Etretat. One is “La Falaise d’Aval,” the other is “La Falaise d’Amont,” and the last one is called “La Manneporte.” 
This is another arch–“La Falaise d’Amont,” meaning “the cliff of upstream.”
There’s a church on top of the cliff, with some sheeps on that green field.
The church looks quite pretty from here. It’s a shame that I didn’t try to climb up; it was too windy and freezing that time and I did not bring enough clothes.
The church looks quite pretty from here. It’s a shame that I didn’t try to climb up; I also heard “Chambre des Demoiselles” (奇巖城中提到的”小姐的房間”) should be around on top of a cliff. However, it was so windy, and when the sun started to go down, the temperature dropped greatly.
我為了那幾張”空洞之針”的照片, 差點被風吹到海裡 , 後來連滾帶爬的去一家就在海邊的餐廳, 就叫”L’Aiguille creus.” 路上還遇到一個老兄要去衝浪. 晚上吃了尼斯沙拉 (La Salade nicoise), 就是那種生菜上有很多鮪魚肉還有沙丁魚那樣子的, 然後又吃了幸福的可麗餅(crepe). 可是當我想到要照相時, 我已經幾乎把他們啃光了.
This is a unique building in the town:
Le Clos Arsene Lupin: (亞森羅蘋小屋) It was actually Maurice Leblanc’s residence and where he created Arsene Lupin series. It was sold in 1952 and was bought back in 1998 by Leblanc’s relative to be a museum. It’s already closed when I arrived there.
On the way to Le Havre, about 28 km away from here. I would stay in Le Havre for the night. Some cows were chewing the grass in the farm–such a peaceful scenery. There a paragraph toward the end of “L’Aiguille creus”(奇巖城): Lupin heard the monotonous bell from the shepherd far away and looked at the endless farms while the sun was setting down…
I always thought that the landscape described by Maurice Leblanc in “L’Aiguille creus” must be a hyperbole; how could there be ocean on one side and green field on the other? When I arrived at Etretat that day, the sceneries proved themselves to be real…