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Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel, the “Merveille de l’Occident ” (Wonder of th West) owes to its original setting and its fine architecture its ranking as one of the major monuments for visitors in France. Around a kilometre in circumference, this rocky islet rises to a height of 80 metres and is linked to the Bay by an unfloodable causeway built in 1879. In the 21st century, Mont Saint-Michel has perpetuated its thousand year tradition of accommodating visitors. Twice a month, during the spring tides, the flood tide is a wonderful sight, registering the biggest tides in Europe.

History

Founded, according to tradition, following three dreams St Aubert, bishop of Avranches, had in the year 708, from the outset Mont Saint-Michel was a great pilgrimage centre. 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. (more)

The Abbey

11th to 16th century. You can explore the abbey either on your own or conducted by a guide or even a lecturer appointed by the Historical Monuments department. Surrounded by the rock, the abbey provides a better insight into religious life down through 1000 years of architecture Certain buildings are reserved for the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem who ensure that prayers are being said who ensure that prayers are being said.

The Street

At the entrance, through the Bavole Gate, built by Gabriel du Puy in 1590, then following the single street, “Cour de l’Avancée”. On the left, the Burghers’ Guardroom (early 16th century), currently the Tourist Information Office. On the right, the “Michelettes”, English bombards recovered in 1434. The Boulevard Gate (late 15th century). The boulevard or barbican with its embrasures and loopholes. The King’s Gate where the portcullis is visible. Above this gate, the King’s House, today the Town Hall. The arcade house on the right, a pretty timber-framed house. The artichoke house straddling the street. The Siren’s house. The parish church begun during the 11th century and completed in the 17th century with its baptismal fonts, its silver statue of St Michael and its chevet over the street. Lastly begins the Grand Degré stairs, offering a majestic prelude to the “Merveille”, with a view over the vast expanses of sands

Gastronomy

Mont Saint-Michel is also famous for its hotels and restaurants, with the traditional omelette, leg of lamb, and local specialities of fish and seafood from the Bay

Museums

The museums in the village of Mont Saint-Michel recall the history of the place, with historical re-enactments; old collections (weapons, paintings, sculptures, watches); a unique collection of 250 old model ships; explanation of the tidal phenomenon.