Статьи  >  Visit  >  The Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey: To see and fall in love

The Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey: To see and fall in love

Автор: 19.10.2021 | France
Imagine a magnificent picture: in the middle of boundless waves, out of nowhere, before your eyes rises up an ancient mysterious castle - the Benedictine Abbey towering at the top of a rocky islet just out to sea... All around the islet strongest rises and falls of tides are raging, so rapidly that often compared to the speed of galloping horse.

Even Victor Hugo could not help but delighted at such a landscape, called the Mont-Saint-Michel "a pyramid in the ocean".

The Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey counts among France’s most stunning sights along with the famous Eiffel Tower. This unforgettable sight draws the eye from great distances. And it all because it is nested at the top of a cliff at a height of 80 meters and its slender spire is soaring 155 meters above sea level. By the way, if you have the feeling as if you have already seen the Mont-Saint-Michel, chances are that you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy because this very abbey was a prototype of the Minas Tirith fortress.

The appearance on the map of the Mont-Saint-Michel is shrouded in a veil of myths and legends... According to the first version, two rocks, which later became the islands of Mont-Saint-Michel and Tombelaine, were dragged into the water by giants: parents of giant Gargantua. But they failed to bring them far since on the way the giants got so tired that dumped heavy lumps almost at the beach. The second version is that the root cause of the birth of the island was a storm that raged here in the early 8th century and changed coastline. Part of the coastal land forever disappeared under seawater, and then under quicksand, and two lonely rocky hills turned into islands.saint-michel-france-shutterstock_400627612.jpgPhoto

As for the Benedictine Abbey, the Duke of Normandy Richard I obtained permission from the Pope for its construction in the 10th century. The process of construction of the monastery lasted for five centuries, but in the 12th century, this place has become a centre of pilgrimage for the Western European region. Over the long history of its existence, the Mont-Saint-Michel has turned into an unassailable fortress, and during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, the Abbey played an important role of the last French stronghold in Normandy. Of course, the heavy hand of history did not spare the ancient monastic buildings. Only in the late 19th century, Napoleon III classified it to national monuments and ordered to begin its reconstruction, and in 1886 the majestic castle was returned to its former glory.cloitre-abbaye-msm-elenathewise-istock-463594997.jpgPhoto

So as a travel to the Abbey did not seem to you an endless wandering down the stairs and narrow alleys, it is advisable to get a map of the area. In the lower tier there is the King's Gate leading to the castle. From here originates the only street on the island named Grand Rue. This charming street is lined by tightly-packed stone houses of the 15th and 16th centuries, which now are occupied by souvenir shops, snack bars, cafés, restaurants, and hotels for today’s tourist. Once in the castle, you feel as if transported to another era. It seems that in this world there is nothing but this secluded island, surrounded by variable force of nature... Fuel to the flame of imagination is added by museums located here. The Historical Museum offers to admire medieval artifacts, among which there is the periscope with two centuries of history. Another place Tiphaine's House completely immerses visitors into the atmosphere of the 18th century, recreating the original environment of houses of that time. And the most interesting is for a dessert! Museum called Archéoscope offers visitors a unique show created with new media technologies. Flavoured with amazing special effects, it tells the story of the island and reveals its unique puzzles...5583.Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay - Photo by Albertine Slotboom.jpg

Special interest enjoys the upper tier of the castle - vertiginous section being nicknamed "La Merveille" ("The Marvel" in French). Admission to the upper tier, which holds religious relics, costs between 9 and 18 euros. "Miracle" is divided into two sections, each has three floors. There are plenty of facilities used for completely different purposes. On the ground floor on the east side there are premises where monks gave shelter to pilgrims. Now here is a shop with souvenirs. Above it there is a guest accommodation in which the Abbot met visitors. Here, one of the two fireplaces, they cooked food. On the second floor there is a former monastery refectory. It is worth mentioning the magnificent gothic architecture of the place: high columns, large windows, spacious rooms and round arches make the castle look light, as if filling it with fresh Norman breeze.5547.Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay - Photo by Albertine Slotboom.jpgPhoto

Tour around the Abbey also includes a visit to the Church, which now operates in the Mont-Saint-Michel, Gabriel Tower, guardroom, beautiful terraces... The main point in the tour is a visit to Crypt of Large Pilars and the most ancient part of the Abbey - the underground crypt of Notre Dame, built in the early 10th century.

Read also: Provence: from Marseille to Monaco

Unique features of the area are the strongest rises and falls of tides... Even Victor Hugo warned everyone wishing to visit the Mont-Saint-Michel about their danger and, at the same time, describing their insane beauty. Twice during the lunar day waters withdraw as far as 18km from the shore, and then, after 5-6 hours, the seawaters rush back in to the bay at speeds up to 40km per hour! mont-saint-michel-2481876_1280 kjjg.jpgPhoto

Once again, the waves are beating against the impenetrable wall of an ancient castle, as if trying to compete with it in power, till there is time to retreat... Legend has it that in ancient times this force of nature used to take away lives of lonely stray wanderers, and large carriages who inadvertently chose this path. Now, thanks to its unique natural features, the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel is considered as environmentally important area for farming famous Norman mussels. Those who decide to visit this charming place, have to study the schedule of high and low tides, to feel comfortable and safe. Particular attention to the schedule should be paid by tourists traveling in cars: the higher the water level, more flooded is the Abbey territory, in particular, when water is 12.5 meters high, driveway begins to sink.

Cover photo

Вам это будет интересно:
Holy beauty! What are the most famous abbeys in the world hiding?
What do you imagine when you hear the word "abbey"? I'm sure most people will first of all think of Westminster. But what if I said that in fact it is no longer an abbey? So what makes these medieval buildings so special? Let's look at the example of buildings from different European countries.
World most beautiful lighthouses
Lighthouse - this word evokes beautiful associations: sea adventures, storms, huge ships. And we do not want to dispel these thoughts, but rather to add fuel to the fire. There is a great amount of them in the world, they are striking by their beauty and inimitable. Today we are sharing with you the quintet of amazing lighthouses!
Between Heaven And... Water: World’s 5 smallest inhabited islands
Each of us wants to escape rush of a city from time to time and lie low somewhere far from everything and anything. And it better be a place where one can listen to whisper of waves, feel light breeze and forever make friends with inimitably loud silence that muffles every disturbing thought…
Le Grand Louvre
First exhibition of paintings in the world’s most visited museum the Louvre was opened on 1793. But its building was well-known far beyond France, though the edifice was not used with such lofty cultural purposes.
Snow-covered peaks. Best winter resorts
The cold season brings not only such important things as wrapping into a reindeer sweater, drinking hot chocolate and once again reviewing Christmas comedies. Thus, sport has not been canceled yet, so OUTLLOK compiled top five ski resort bucket list for you to cheer up and get out of your winter sleep.
Slippery fun: Best world open air ice rinks
They build ice hotels and carve ice fountains pouring white wine, make samovars and even kerosene lamps. Photographers went even far and got the hand to use dry ice to create the effect of smoke and fog in picture. In the spirit of holidays, OUTLOOK prepared for you a selection of the world most popular ice arenas.
We were there: Le Mans is the untouchable charm of old France
Anton Sak moved to France so as to get high education. He has been studying at Chemistry Faculty of Le Mans Université. Today he will tell us about Le Mans, the wonderful old French city with the special brightness. It is unknown for tourists; however, it is the interesting destination in the route of avid traveler.
Normandy through the eyes of Korney Gritciuk. Part 3
With this article OUTLOOK completes the cycle of travel writing about the French Normandy. After Deauville and Cherbourg-Octeville we invite you to the main place of the northern part of this great country - the city of Rouen.
Normandy through the eyes of Korney Gritciuk. Part 2
OUTLOOK continues to share impressions of the French Normandy. In our previous article Kornei Gritsyuk shared about his trip to Deauville. Now it is turn for Cherbourg or Cherbourg-Octeville. Double name of the city appeared in the early 2 000 when Cherbourg merged with Octeville...
Normandy through the eyes of Korney Gritciuk. Part 1
For many tourists France is mainly Paris with long queues to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, as well as neighbouring sights with royal chic, or Mediterranean resorts. But OUTLOOK author while travelling through the country decided to go to the north, to Normandy! Our readers are welcome to read series of travel essays about a journey to the Atlantic Ocean by Kornei Gritsyuk...
VIDEO: the mystery in the South of France - Chauvet cave
In 1994, a cave was discovered in the mountains in the south of France, inside which there were more than a thousand rock carvings dating back to the 34th century BC. According to experts, these are traces of the first civilization in Europe. The excellent quality of the preserved drawings of the cave is due to the fact that, as a result of the collapse of stones...
Provence: from Marseille to Monaco
Mon amour, mon ami… All most beautiful words and songs of love sound in French. Review every curve of France and find privacy in province of Provence that gently swings in the south-east of Brigitte Bardot and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Ancient cities from Marseille to Monaco are penetrated with lyric antiquity so ideas of staying at Côte d’Azur keep coming back to your head.
Not only a tower is a symbol. The best works of Gustav Eiffel
The word is, Guy de Maupassant hated Eiffel Tower. The famous writer believed that it was uglifying the face of Paris without benefiting the city. Nevertheless, he could be often seen in a cozy cafe on the top of the construction. In such cases the author of “Bel Ami” used to say that “it was the only way the damned tower dropped out of his sight…”
Stroll Around Dungeons of Europe: Paris, Berlin, Prague
Sauntering through picturesque nooks of Grand Dame Europe we look around without even suspecting how many interesting things there are beneath our feet. If you are annoyed with standard tours that include marathon race around museums and monuments, we suggest you have a look at good Old World from a different perspective. Or more specifically, look under its feet.
Pleasurable vacation of places to relax in peace and quiet
Summer is up to come very soon which means that it is time to plan a vacation, pack your bags and make up a list of must visit destinations. We understand that in a busy city it is hard to find a place where absolute silence reigns. It is natural for all humans to search for tranquillity sometimes. If you are one of these people, then breath out with relief.
The most stunning flower fields in the world
Flower fields and valleys are impressive and attract attention of the most discerning connoisseurs of beauty. Multi-coloured deposits of fragrant plants adorn vast valleys of almost every country, in the most distant parts of the world. We offer several options for such floral carpets for every taste.
Belleville: Paris Babylon
Probably, every person on Earth knows the myth about the famous Babylon Tower that different peoples were destined never to build. Surprisingly, what failed in fiction occurs before our eyes: tens of various peoples peacefully reside in Belleville, neighborhood in Paris, and erect Tolerance Tower, for everyone to see.
The travel to whale’s chaps
Even being adults, sometimes we are able to bring to life the children’s fantasies, see the stories from childish dreams, and embody what has seemed to be the fairytale. Have you ever dreamt of being in the whale’s chaps? Just imagine that you were swollen by the giant fish, and you were living there for a long time, looked at it inside, settled down there, swam and dived there?
Visa is useless: Where tourists are not allowed
Perhaps, everyone who is going to plunge into fun holiday has already planned spectacular routes and scenic spots. In order not to spoil your trip and not to see gates to the desired gateway closing right in front of your nose, we encourage you to read our selection of locations forbidden for visits.
Grab your sun umbrella and cocktail: The most amazing beaches of the world
With the onset of summer, many of us ever and again cast a glance at the calendar, waiting for annual leave. And since summer vacation to a greater extent is linked to the relaxation by the water, we usually associate it with beaches – desirable destinations that can be very different.
Outlook facebook page