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Mont St. Michel, Normandy, France

Julius Fekete / Alamy

Mont St. Michel, Normandy, France

Though not as lavish as some landlocked cathedrals, this abbey is certainly the most dramatically situated, enjoying prime real estate just off the coast of Normandy. The first abbey was built in 709, with construction continuing for hundreds of years. Spurning the safety of the causeway (built in 1879 and currently being reconstructed), pilgrims still scamper across the sands at low tide to reach the Mont, and risk being overtaken by fast-moving waters.

Dining Tip: Try the agneau de pré-salé, a local specialty made from meat from the lambs that graze on the nearby salt meadows.

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