As we pulled up to Mont Saint-Michel, “The William Tell Overture” was blaring on French radio. It had just rained and the island was wet and shimmering in the sunlight. Fields of grazing sheep framed the foreground.
Before the construction of the first monastic establishment at Mont Saint-Michel in the 8th century, the island was called Mont Tombe. According to legend, the archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches, in 708 and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet. Aubert repeatedly ignored the angel’s instruction, until Michael burned a hole in the bishop’s skull with his finger.
To commemorate the occasion, someone spelled “Holland!” in the tidal sands. It wasn’t me.