2017 E5 walk, day 36: Mont-Saint-Michel to Avranches
At the foot of the causeway to Mont-Saint-Michel, the GR 34 and GR 22 met, the latter coming from Paris roughly along an historic pilgrimage route to the abbey. I said farewell to the GR 34 for the last time, and started heading “backwards” along the GR 22, which I would stay on until I reached Paris.
Like the start of the previous day, the trail ran along the shore and remained incredibly flat for most of the day.
At one point, in fact, the map appeared to show the trail crossing through the sea … but it was actually just wet ground that probably gets submerged at very high tides.
Continuing east, the bay became the mouth of a small river, easy to see across to the other side where the trail wrapped around it.
I crossed the river near its mouth in the town of Pontaubault, which has a small plaque at the bridge, describing how General Patton’s armored division poured across after the bridge survived days of artillery fire. I stopped for pastries at David Gonfroy’s boulangerie, and turned north to follow the trail up along the shore towards Avranches.
The trail here alternated between pavement (roads and parking lots for the shoreline) and fields (some populated with sheep), flat as a pond the whole way.
A little further along, there was an airfield in the reclaimed tidal flat, and I was treated to an autogyro practicing takeoffs and landings.
My destination for the evening was a campsite on the edge of the town of Avranches. The trail reached town by winding past and through a light-industrial zone, passing the train station, and finally climbing the bluff into town. I then wound my way past a high school and to the combination urban garden and campsite, PowerSalad.farm; it felt like it would fit in perfectly in Bellingham, or maybe Eugene. I had emailed ahead to confirm that it was open, but when I arrived, the owner wasn’t there. I tried calling, as did a friend of the owner who’d dropped by to visit; eventually we gave up, and I set up my tent in a promising-looking space and headed into town.1
After strolling around town, I settled down to dinner at Serhat Kebab, on a busy plaza in what might have been the heart of town several decades ago.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll notice this is a break in tradition: I ate relatively cheaply on the whole trip, but in Brittany, most of my meals were crêpes.2 Starting here in Avranches, a day after crossing into Normandy, crêperies all but vanished, and the ubiquitous cheap and quick meals were döner kebabs.
On the way back to PowerSalad.farm, I stopped for some groceries. The night was windy, but I settled down and slept well.