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Bayeux to Mont Saint-Michel

Hello travelers! This is short notice. Driving from Bayeux in late morning tomorrow. (3 days in Bayeux has been great!) Any recommendations on an interesting stop on the way to MSM? We have an extra couple of hours we could spend. Interested in history, culture, architecture and scenery. No interest in shopping. Thx for any ideas.
Best, Susan

Posted by
796 posts

Susan,
Perhaps the smallish town of Villedieu-la-Poelle. Lace-making, bell-making...chance of a tour re them?

Posted by
1161 posts

Going the other way I stopped in the town of Avranches. There are the ruins of an old Chateau (Château d'Avranches) on the hill overlooking the town. Also, although I didn't stop there, the Scriptorial supposedly holds many of the original manuscripts that were written by the monks at Mont Saint-Michel. If the weather and skies are just right, there are very distant views of MSM from Point de vue square Thomas Becket. I had a nice lunch in town as well at Tartines & Decouvertes.

Much closer to MSM is the Brittany American Cemetery in Saint James. Although technically still in Normandy, it is much quieter than the American Normandy Cemetery and holds about five thousand American remains form the fighting in that area.

Posted by
288 posts

I agree with Judy's suggestion, Villedieu-la-Poelle The tour is very interesting and we purchased a few copper items as gifts at the foundry. We found this town by reading a guide book while driving from Bayeaux to Mont Saint-Michel.

I would check the tide schedule at MSM as the low tide makes for awesome photos.

Posted by
796 posts

Susan,
How did your trip to Mont St Michel go? Where did you stop en route?

Posted by
283 posts

Although Susan's need has passed, I thought I'd note that the actual name of the town a few commenters have mentioned is Villedieu-les-Poêles.

It has two aspects to its history that led to its name. First, the rather swampy land on which the lower part of the town developed was granted to les Hôpitaliers de l'ordre de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem as a recognition of its work to provide care to visitors/conquerers/invaders to the Middle East. They named it Villa Dei, which was Frenchified into Villedieu (both mean town of god).

The poêles came in because, owing to its special dispensation, residents of the town were exempt from (at least some) taxation. That drew certain industries; most notably, metal working as it relates to making pots and pans. That led to the second part of the town's name: les poêles (the pans). However, in modern French, poêle also can refer to a wood stove.

So the town name Villedieu-les-Poêles literally means town of god the pans. Sounds better in the original French.

Posted by
796 posts

Bob, I stand corrected re the spelling. And thank you for the history of the town! I knew about the "poelles" part, but not the founding of the town. Fascinating!