Victor Hugo said: Mont Saint-Michel is to France what Great Pyramid is to Egypt.
Mont Saint-Michel, a small rocky island and famous sanctuary, is located in Manche department in Normandy region of France, off coast of Normandy. It is 41 miles (66 km) north of Rennes and 32 miles (52 km) east of Saint Malo. Around its base are medieval walls and towers, above which rises a group of buildings of village, topped by an ancient monastery on a hill. Mont Saint-Michel is one of France's most popular tourist attractions and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Every year over three million people visit his abbey and roam beautiful medieval city.
Now Mount Saint-Michel is third most important shrine of Catholicism after Jerusalem and Vatican.
Mont Saint-Michel is almost circular (approximately 900 m in circumference) and rises sharply (up to 78 m by 256 ft) with granite outcrops. It is surrounded by wide sandbars most of time and only becomes an island at high tide. Before 3,000-foot-long causeway was built connecting island to mainland, getting here was especially difficult due to quicksand and very fast rising tides. However, dam became an obstacle to removal of material by tides, resulting in a higher sandbar between island and shore.
Originally, island was called Mont-Thombe, but in 8th century it became known as Mont-Saint-Michel. It quickly became a center of pilgrimage, and in 966 a Benedictine monastery was built here. In 1203, Philip II of France compensated monks by funding building of a monastery called La Merveille ("The Miracle").
The island was fortified in 1256. The abbey fell into disrepair in 18th century and when it was dissolved during French Revolution (1787-99) only seven monks lived there. It became a state prison under Napoleon I (r. 1804-14/15) and remained a prison until 1863. In 1874 it was recognized as a historical monument and restored.
The ornate abbey church overlooking island has a magnificent Romanesque nave from 11th and 12th centuries and an ornate Gothic choir (built 1450-1521). The tower and spire were added in 19th century and topped by a statue of Saint Michael. The church was built over three crypts, oldest of which probably dates from Carolingian era (8th-10th century).
The imposing Gothic façade of abbey from 1228 combines power of a military fortress with simplicity of a religious building. The most striking part is dining room with high and narrow windows and magnificent monastery with beautiful sculptures. A panoramic view of bay opens from medieval walls (13th-15th centuries) on southern and eastern sides of hill. The houses (now mostly hotels or tourist shops) that line narrow streets towards abbey date in some cases from 15th century.
Mont Saint-Michel and its bay, a magical island topped by a gravity-defying monastery, is one of France's most breathtaking sights. The sacred island has been one of Europe's leading pilgrimage sites for centuries and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as are its breathtaking coves.An unforgettable sight
Mont Saint-Michel is one of most memorable sights in Europe. Situated in a stunning bay shared by Normandy and Brittany, mountain draws attention from afar.
This stunningly beautiful place has long captured imagination of people. The story of how mountain became a great place of Christian pilgrimage dates back to early 8th century, when Bishop Auber of nearby hilltop town of Avranches claimed that Archangel Michael himself forced him to build a church on top of an island near island. seas.
Starting in 966, Duke of Normandy and later King of France supported construction of a major Benedictine abbey on Mont Saint-Michel. Magnificent monastic buildings were added throughout Middle Ages. The abbey of Mont Saint-Michel became a famous center attracting greatest thinkers and artists of Europe. Despite ongoing conflict across Channel, pilgrims still visit in large numbers; in fact walls at foot of island were built to protects from British invasion. The steep village streets are lined with other fine buildings that have been converted into museums, restaurants, hotels and shops for today's visitors.Restoring former glory of bay of Mont Saint-Michel
Over centuries, bay of Mont Saint-Michel has been silted up. Human activities, including farming and building dams to mountain, have exacerbated problem. However, a major conservation project in 2015 helped restore Mont Saint-Michel's island status. The main river, Couesnon, which flows into bay, can now flow more freely, washing sediment into sea, and bridge has replaced previous dam, allowing sea to once again completely encircle mountain during particularly high tides.How to get to Mont Saint-Michel (since it cannot be reached by private transport)
The visitor car park has been moved inland to maintain a unique view of Mont Saint-Michel. The parking lot is about 1.5 km up slope. After parking your car, head to Navet Square where specially designed shuttle buses called passeurs will take you up hill. The shuttle bus stops 800 meters (half a mile) from car park, while passenger stop is 450 meters from mountain itself. Passenger shuttles run daily from 7:30 am to midnight.
Alternatively, you can book a dedicated carriage ( maringote ) or walk all way up hill from car park, taking in stunning views of Mont Saint-Michel as you approach.
Mont Saint Michel Must-See: Enjoy a guided tour of Mont Saint Michel Abbey, marvel at greatest tidal range on European continent, and even take a stroll along bay - in and around this iconic landmark. lots to see and do!
Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. This hilltop Benedictine monastery has long been a favorite destination for pilgrims and tourists. It can be reached along steep, winding village streets lined with museums, restaurants, hotels and shops. The majestic architecture of monastery dates back to Middle Ages and still inspires awe, demonstrating military and religious power.
Once inside, soak up atmosphere of church, abbey, and abbey wing, nicknamed Miracle because it sits on a rock, defying gravity. In 1966, abbey celebrated its 1000th anniversary, and since then part of building has again been occupied by a small religious community.
High above monastery's imposing buttresses and Gothic spire, statue of Saint Michael rises, marking highest point of hill. Saint Michael, created by Emmanuel Frémiet in 19th century, recalls monument's long religious history.
On summer evenings, you can also visit monastery after dark, where music and light create a special atmosphere. Several times a year, classical music concerts are held in monastery.
You may not believe in fairy tales, but a holiday to Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy is just around corner. Exploring some of most beautiful medieval buildings in France is sure to be perfect weekend getaway!Discover Mont Saint-Michel
Founded in 700, Mont Saint-Michel has stood in middle of English Channel for centuries and has been welcoming Catholic pilgrims since Middle Ages. Today, this magical tidal island is one of France's most visited attractions,
As you approach it, silhouette of Mont Saint-Michel rises majestically in distance, floating like a mirage on horizon, with a gilded statue of Archangel Michael on spire of church.What to do on Mont Saint-Michel?
Throw back to Middle Ages: narrow cobbled streets, brightly painted half-timbered houses, hidden passageways and winding steps make up small village that surrounds island's monastery. Stroll busy streets and souvenir shops within old historic city walls, or walk around walls and enjoy stunning sea views surrounding Cuerón Estuary. Be aware that there is a steep climb up to 1300 year old monastery, so be prepared and wear comfortable walking shoes!
The island has less than a dozen permanent residents, mostly monks and nuns, leading a modest spiritual life in a monastery. In addition to souvenir shops and historic buildings, you will be amazed by restaurants serving local cuisine. Treat yourself to a legendary omelet or biscuit from La Mère Poulard, or sample delicious lamb from Mont Saint-Michel salt marshes, where salt comes from salt marshes surrounding Mont Saint-Michel bay.Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel
After reaching top, you will find yourself in front of magnificent entrance to abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. The panorama of bay at entrance to monastery is breathtaking! This 78-meter-high Benedictine monastery is a combination of Roman and Gothic architecture with its spacious rooms, an ancient refectory, a chapel and a three-story cloister that still houses a community of monks and nuns practicing prayer and monasticism. on the. The very grandeur of this architectural gem inspires awe and peace of mind.
If you want to follow in footsteps of pilgrims and soak up magic, you can attend daily prayers or Sunday mass where monks and nuns gather in choir.
The Abbey is an architectural gemTop tips for Mont Saint-Michel
The tides in Mont Saint-Michel bay are highest in continental Europe during spring tides, which can recede up to 25 kilometers from coast. After low tide, there is a local saying that water rushes back into bay "at speed of a galloping horse." The water comes in fast, so don't get caught in tide!Walk along bay of Mont Saint-Michel
At low tide, especially during spring tide, bay of Mont Saint-Michel reveals its secrets. As time passes and seasons change, visitors can witness stunning flora, fauna, streams and mudflats, as well as changing light and reflections of this unique landscape.
For an unforgettable experience, why not take a walk along bay of Mont Saint-Michel? Due to danger of tides and quicksands in bay, it is highly recommended to travel with an experienced guide.How to get to Mont Saint-Michel from other cities?
In summer, you can visit at end of day. Parking rates drop from 7:00 pm and abbey is open until midnight. From beginning of July to end of August, every evening, except Sunday, you can watch nightly performance of Mountain Records.
The restaurant is worth a visit