Church at Mont St-Michel, France George is a former nightclub bouncer, private detective, radio DJ, pub landlord and gravedigger. He is now an acclaimed travel writer who has been writing about France for more than thirty years. His latest book “French Impressions – Brittany” was published several months ago. I read and enjoyed the book and thought it would be a great idea (with George’s permission) to publish passages from the book here, in a series that we are going to call “On the trail of George East”. The excerpts are George’s opinions of places in Brittany that he has visited and we would like you, our readers, to add your comments, letting us know if you agree or disagree with George.

For the first excerpt I have chosen one of the most famous of French landmarks…

Not counting the Eiffel Tower, Mont St-Michel is the most popular tourist attraction in France. It is also not technically in Brittany. Standing on a tidal island in the bay of the same name, the Mont is still the cause of a degree of ill-will between Normans and Bretons with long memories. The Mont was technically Breton and an Armorican focus of Romano-Breton culture and power in the 6th century until it was annexed in 933 by William Long Sword, the first duke of Normandy. After the monks gave their support to the invasion of 1066, the monastery of St-Michel was awarded properties and lands in England, including a small island off cornwall where the mini-version was to be built. The influence of the Norman abbey waned with the onset of the Reformation, and it became a prison until being declared an historic monument in 1874.

When we arrived, we had to fight our way through the throngs of Japanese tourists and touts promoting the tacky wares of the shops lining the ascent. After a lung bursting, elbow jostling climb, we pitched up at the main building entrance to find it would cost a small fortune to go further, and our dog would not be allowed at any price. Unimpressed, we made the long descent and headed for the nearest chippie.

Let us know your views on the Mont St-Michel.

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