Carol had always wanted to go to this castle, which USED to be accessible by boat only when the tide was in, and by foot if the tide was out.  Due to too many deaths and/or rescues of tourists not heeding the warnings, France built a pedestrian causeway from the coastline to the “island.”

    We rode a train from Paris to Rennes, then caught a bus to the coastline.  It drops off passengers in the BLUE ZONE (above left), which are the only 2 English words that the bus drivers know.  There’s a timetable posted with departure and arrival times.  The drivers do a lot of pointing to the sign.

OH, LOOK, our hotel....

    We didn’t know that our hotel was actually ON the island until I spotted the sign Les Terrasses Poulard.  We had printed confirmed reservations for all trains, planes, hotels, and tours for our entire trip, so I dug out our reservation email dated July 28, 2011.  The two receptionists eyed each other ominously before telling us that due to “a late confirmation from a large group,” they couldn’t house us for the night. Welllllllll, suffice it to say that Carol became the Ugly American.  We also found out that the other people in the lobby were in the same predicament that we were; actually there were EIGHT parties that the hotel bounced out.  I stayed at the hotel while they tried to find open rooms on the island, and Carol went to Tourist Services.  We spent easily 90 minutes trying to resolve the issue, to no avail, and finally agreed to spend the night at The Mercure on the mainland, at Les Terrasses Poulard’s expense of course.  We left our overnight backpacks with the Poulard’s manager, who also gave us free tickets to The Abbey, which we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.  And they wanted us to eat at their restaurant - on the house, of course - , which didn’t open until 7pm, and we were hungry and ready to leave at 5:00, so we found a place to eat, and then took the bill back to the hotel for reimbursement.  They were then dealing with more angry guests who had been closed out.  They also gave us passes so we could ride the shuttle bus free back to the mainland; it’s not for general tourist use. 

    When we went to check in at The Mercure, the receptionist told us that the confirmed reservation was only until 6pm (it was @ 6:30) and we practically exploded.  Poulard had never told us anything of that sort.  Luckily, The Mercure was not full; in fact, they told us that they frequently take the overbooked guests from the Poulard chain on the island.  I even had a chance to check my gmail, only to find a recent email from Poulard about “your upcoming confirmed reservation.”  I was really livid then; I have since written quite a scathing email to the manager and posted a warning on Trip Advisor. We did enjoy a leisurely evening and a great breakfast before catching the shuttle bus the next morning back over the causeway to the BLUE ZONE, only to drive past The Mercure’s BLUE ZONE on the way back to Rennes Train Station.  Oh well, we had no way of knowing that there was more than one BLUE ZONE.

    And hindsight is always 20-20; we left Mont St. Michel on June 6.  We should have planned more time on the coast and gone to Normandy while we were that close.  Next time....

   

Saint Michael

Gargoyles are really popular here.