Today’s highlight was a nocturnal visit to Mont Saint Michel in Brittany. This mountain rises out of a bay that opens up onto the English Channel. The medieval abbey at the top is one of the architectural wonders of the world. Although I have been to Mont Saint Michel several times over the past thirty years, I have always wanted to see this beautiful place at sunset.
We arrived at 9:45 p.m. just as the tide was coming in and the sun was beginning its descent into the sea.
The village of Mont Saint Michel was closing up for the day. Gone were the crowds of tourists. Tucked away were the trinkets and postcards. The tranquility of Mont Saint Michel is discovered after sunset.
The visit of the abbey at night takes on a spiritual quality not felt during the day. The abbey is dark inside with only niches and columns lit here and there. A harpsichord is being played in one large hall and futher on a viola. Then a narrow corridor and ancient stone steps before we arrive at an altar where a soloist is playing the flute. The visitors walk in hush tones through the abbey. Sounds of a heartbeat, a ticking clock, birds in the cloister are heard in various rooms. The passing of time, the beauty of stillness. Finally, a harpist is playing in the chapel where the monks used to gather for mass, and we leave this place pensively, solemnly, a visit to treasure within.
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