Le Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint Michel Travel Blog› entry 11 of 12 › view all entries
Two days after our visit to the beaches of the invasion on D-Day we went the other way, to Le Mont Saint Michel, a wonder of the western world! We've been here for the third time but it's the first time that we made digital photo's so I could put them here on TB. Le Mont Saint Michel is very touristic but you must certainly have seen it ones in your life!
Situated in the middle of a bay, the Mont Saint-Michel welcomes nearly three and a half million people every year this includes visitors, pilgrims and tourists. At the entrance of this medieval town is the ancient Burghers Guardroom now the Tourist Office. After going through the Boulevard Gate and then the King´s Gate fortified with its portcullis, you will find the Grande Rue or main street wih its museums, shops and houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.
The Grande Staircase whose majesty is a prelude to the Marvel. After admiring the Abbey church, you can enjoy the beautiful and matchless view over the bay when going down the ramparts path.
The Mount consecrated to St Michel in 708 was one of the first place of cult for the Archangel Michel with the Gargan´s Mount. The abbey presents a big panorama of the medieval architecture from the XI to the XVI th century.
There are a couple of museums you can visit:
a show to discover the construction of this fabulous monument and its sacred history,
museum of history :
old collections ( weapons, paintings, sculptures, watches), prisons and dungeons, the 19th century periscope which reveals the bay,
maritime and ecology museum :
to discover the tides, the bay and the massive building site to restore the maritime character of the Mont Saint-Michel,
tiphaine´s house :
to discover the 14th century residence that Bertrand Duguesclin had built in 1365 for his wife Tiphaine (furnitures, paintings, tapestries).
The Wonder of the Western World forms a tower in the heart of an immense bay invaded by the highest tides in Europe.
It was at the request of the Archangel Michel chief of the celestial militia that Aubert, Bishop of Avranches built and consecrated a small church on the 16th October 709. In 966 a community of Benedictines settled on the rock at the request of the Duke of Normandy and the pre-Romanesque church was built before the year one thousand.
In the 11th century, the Romanesque abbey church was founded over a set of crypts where the rock comes to an apex, and the first monastery buildings were built up against its north wall.
In the 12th century, the Romanesque monastery buildings were extended to the west and south.
In the 13th century , a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus , in the wake of his conquest of Normandy, enabled a start to be made on the Gothic section of the "Merveille ": two three-storey buildings, crowned by the cloister and the refectory.
In the 14th century, the Hundred Years War made it necessary to protect the abbey behind a set of military constructions, enabling it to hold out against a siege lasting 30 years.
In the 15th century, the Romanesque chancel of the abbey church, broken down in 1421 was replaced by the Gothic Flamboyant chancel.
With Rome and Saint Jacques de Compostelle, this great spiritual and intellectual centre, was one of the most important places of pilgrimage for the Medieval occident.
The Abbey was turned into a prison during the days of the French Revolution and Empire, and needed to be restored before the end of the 19th century.
With the celebration of the monastic's 1000th anniversary,in the year 1966 a religious community moved back to what used to be the abbatial dwellings, perpuating prayer and welcome the original vocation of this place. Friars and sisters from "Les Fraternit´s Monastiques de Jerusalem" have been ensuring a spiritual presence since the year 2001.
At the same time as the abbey was developping a village grew up from the Middle Age. It flourished on the south-east side of the rock surrounded by walls dated for the most part from the Hundred Years war.
UNESCO has classed the Mont Saint-Michel as a world heritage in 1979 and this mecca of tourism welcomes more than three million visitors a year.
Visiting Le Mont Saint Michel is a nice and well spend visit although it's very touristic!!