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Talk me into/out of Mont St. Michel, and suggest a Normandy museum

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My husband and I are taking our three kids (14, 11, and 9) to Europe this summer, and have one full day, a Sunday, to spend touring Normandy. We'll have a rental car, and will be leaving from Bayeux. We'd like to see one of the smaller museums at the coast -- any recommendations? We'd like to drive to Mont St. Michel afterward, so I would prefer not to backtrack to Caen for the museum there.

So, Mont St. Michel. The stories of crowding have me frightened, and I'm thinking that it might be enough to just see it from afar. Any ideas for a nice lookout or view point? Is it ok to just go to the parking lot and see it from there, or is it too crowded with tourists and buses? Or, if we arrive later in the day, maybe around 5pm, will the place have cleared out enough that the crowds won't be an issue?

And, any recommendations for places to stop along the way, either for an important memorial, a nice view, or -- more importantly -- a nice family-friendly place for lunch or dinner, would be very much appreciated. Thank you in advance for your ideas and help!

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