Have you ever dreamed about something or somewhere and found out that it actually existed in the world? Years ago, I had a dream where I was at a shore looking out. Then, once the mist cleared out, I saw this castle raised up in the middle of the sea. I usually don’t remember my dreams after I wake up but that one, in particular, was very memorable. I thought it was just a dream and that place looked very fantasy-like that I might have seen it before from a video game.
When I got addicted to traveling and constantly searching for the most beautiful and incredible places on our planet Earth, I came across a photo in Google Image. I was shocked!!! That looked exactly like the one I seen in my dream, next thing rolling in my mind “is it actually real or a computer graphic?” I clicked on the photo and it linked to a website on places to visit in France. I read the article and found out it is a real place called Mont-Saint-Michel. I searched Mont-Saint-Michel and saw many more images of it, I just couldn’t believe my eyes, the dreamy fog covering it is exactly like in my dream!
I have been waiting to go to Mont-Saint-Michel ever since and finally on my birthday weekend this year, I took my family to France for a long weekend trip and my dream fulfilled!
Planning the trip was interesting, it all started when I saw cheap non-stop to Paris for $335; that’s cheaper than going to California! That included a flight with Norwegian nonstop from Boston to Paris. I flew with Norwegian before and quite like their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. From Paris back to Boston, it was the newly launched Primera Air. Also, we have our IHG free night certificates to use up before they expired and luckily, I found availability at one of the famous IHG hotels – Intercontinental Hotels Paris – Le Grand. It all worked out like it was meant to be for my birthday. However, just over one month prior to our trip ( while we were on our Labor’s Day week trip to Prague, Budapest, etc), Primera Air emailed me that the flight is cancelled and gave me three options of: 1. move the date to 2 days later for another Primera Air flight, 2. rebook to another of their partner airlines with connection, or 3. full refund. I don’t have vacation days to stay extra 2 days and the full refund wouldn’t be able to buy another return flight home at that point so my only option was #2. I waited for a week and they still haven’t reply with the new confirmation. I was very anxious and went to their website but there is no phone number to call them!!! I left a message via “Contact Us” and someone responded that they are still working on rebooking us. Finally, after another three days of wait, I finally get a new confirmation of the WOW Air flight they rebooked us with.
To double check, I went to the WOW Air’s website and pasted in the confirmation reference code to retrieve the booking. However, it kept giving me the error message that the booking reference code is invalid. I called WOW Air and found out that bookings booked by 3rd party won’t show up on their website….how inconvenient? I asked the agent to check if our booking is confirmed, she said it is valid. Phew!
It wasn’t the end of the story…..a week later, it was on the news and all travel hacking websites that Primera Air went out of business without advance notice, canceled all their flights immediately, and the only notice was on their website that they are out of business and shut down all the contact channel!!! I was so worried what if they cancel our rebooking or haven’t pay WOW Air yet? My only option was to call WOW Air again to confirm that our booking is still valid and fully paid. The agent refused to give me any info, she said that I have to contact the 3rd party directly. I explained to her that the 3rd party is out of business so I can’t contact them! She just kept insisting that she can’t tell us any info, OMG! I went to the WOW Air website and emailed them. I waited two days but no response from WOW Air yet. I went to Twitter and message WOW Air’s account, finally, someone answered and assured that our booking is confirmed and fully paid. PHEW
On my birthday, we flew from Boston to Paris and arrived the next day early in the morning. We picked up our rental car and drove straight to
Mont-Saint-Michel, thank you hubby for enduring the 4 hours drive! When we were approaching Mont-Saint-Michel, I saw the island right out the ocean and was super excited that we finally made it here. Our hotel, Hotel Mercure Mont Saint Michel, is located inside the restricted residential area that only resident and hotel guests are allowed to drive with a code. I have emailed the hotel before we left to obtain the code. Otherwise, you have to park at the parking lots and take a bus in.
The hotel was nothing to be thrilled about besides the location, the rooms looked very outdated and my mom’s room, according to her, has this very bad smell. Although it is supposed to be a 4* hotel, the room condition looked like a motel instead…..at a cost of $150 per night even in low season. Across from the hotel is the bus stop to the entrance of Mont-Saint-Michel. We stopped at the stop before and got off on the bridge instead so we could start taking photos. It was unbelievable that my dream finally came true!
We waited for the bus people who got off here as well to leave and then took those photos. There were still a lot of tourists in October (mostly Japanese) but I would imagine nothing like the summer time. I love the angle from the bridge with the leading lines to the island.
After taking turn taking photos, we made our walk into the little village on the island. Unlike the other cute charming villages in Europe, this little village is very commercialized, Jason and I agreed. The souvenirs looked mass produced and very expensive.
We climbed those stairs up to the abbey for the views even though it was closed when we got there.
The views were nothing spectacular like from the ground looking up at the island.
We walked the whole loop down and the island is much smaller than it looked. We got down to the beach as it was completely dry and perhaps low-tide as well. It was getting chilly as we waited for the sunset and the abbey slowly turning to be more golden.
Finally, the sunset and we waited patiently for the blue hour but there wasn’t much light turned on yet.
The bus run pretty late at night but less frequent. Right after the blue house, we folded the tripod and the bus was there. I found out that the bus is designed to be able to drive from the front or the back without the need to make a turn. Mont-Saint-Michel at night looked magical.
After the night photo, we took the bus back to our hotel and then walked to dinner – The Ferme Saint-Michel. It is the highest rated restaurant, very busy, big place with two seating areas, but only 2 waiters and 1 waitress run this whole place! They definitely don’t have enough staff so after we were seated, it was another 15 minutes before we got the menu. After we placed the order, it was even a longer wait for the appetizer. I warned my family ahead that having a dinner in France will take a long time…it was much longer than I anticipated.
We were super starving at the point and finally the appetizer came out. Jason ordered oysters which he thought very fresh and good.
I ordered the foie gras, that’s my must when visiting France. However, it wasn’t as creamy as the ones I had before, it has this taste of alcohol for some reason.
My brother ordered a soup with foie gras and it tasted very weird.
After the appetizer, I swear that it took over an hour for our main entree to arrive. It was like 9 pm then and we were getting sleepy LOL. I ordered a duck breast and it tasted pretty good.
And then after the dinner, another half an hour wait for our dessert……Jason ordered a sampler. The food was okay but totally don’t worth the wait. By the time we were done, the whole meal took 3.5 hours, what a record in a bad way! Most of the time was waiting…….the dinner for 5 people cost $194.05.
Mont-Saint-Michel, just like my dream, it looked very fantasy-like that it was hard to believe it until you are standing right in front of it. It would’ve been perfect if there are some water for the reflection photos, instead, it was completely dry. I recommend for a side trip to Mont-Saint-Michel when you are in Paris area and best to stay overnight so you can see it at night as well as day light. Dream finally came true, one of my best birthday gifts 🙂