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Visiting Mont Saint Michel in France

The Mont Saint-Michel (Mount St Michael) is located at around one kilometre off the north-western French coast, in the region called Normandie (Normandy). 

The building of the monastic establishment started in the 8th century and is, therefore, a typical representation of the feudal system with on top of the island the abbey and monastery (God), below the great halls, then the stores and middle-class housing, and then, outside the walls, the fishermen and farmers houses.

The legend says that the Archangel Michael appeared in 708 on the island to the bishop of Avranches, and demanded him to build a church there. Yet, the bishop ignored the archangel, and this latter then burned a hole in the bishop’s skull. The kind of story that gives you thrills and brings even more mystery to this mythic island.

The status of island of the Mont Saint-Michel has changed several times over the centuries.

Until the 19th century, the Mont was a semi-island: when the rising tide, the path connecting the Mont to the mainland was covered by the sea. It was a great advantage for the island’s defense, making it an impenetrable fortress. In fact, the Mont Saint Michel remained unconquered until the Hundred Years of war opposing the Great-Britain to France. After that, the Mont has also been used as a jail under Louis XI, valuing the geographical benefits of the island.

However, in 1879, the water was drained and the coastal flats converted into pasture land. The Mont became silted up and in 2006, a project started with the objectives to remove the silt and to make the Mont an island again.

Today, the Mont Saint-Michel is therefore officially an island, connected to the continent by a light bridge!

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