~ A guide to Mont St-Michel in Normandy, northern France ~

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Mont St-Michel

Mont St-Michel

The church stands high on the summit of this granite rock, and on its west front is the platform, to which the tourist ought first to climb. From the edge of this platform, the eye plunges down, two hundred and thirty-five feet, to the wide sands or the wider ocean, as the tides recede or advance, under an infinite sky, over a restless sea, which even we tourists can understand and feel without books or guides; but when we turn from the western view, and look at the church door, thirty or forty yards from the parapet where we stand, one needs to be eight centuries old to know what this mass of encrusted architecture meant to its builders, and even then one must still learn to feel it. The man who wanders into the twelfth century is lost, unless he can grow prematurely young.
Henry Adams - Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

No matter how many times you have seen it in pictures, upon first casting your eyes on Mont St-Michel it is difficult not to be awe-struck. The original structure, a simple oratory, was built here in the eighth century by the Bishop of Avranches, and was subsequently expanded and enhanced over the centuries with the addition of Romanesque and Gothic buildings and fortifications. The abbey's increasing fame brought pilgrims and visitors and by Medieval times a ville basse had developed, sporting souvenir shops, eating places and guest houses.

Make your visit to Mont St Michel truly memorable by staying at the luxurious
hotel Chateau de Canisy in Normandy as guests of the Count and Countess de Kergorlay.

The church is situated at the highest point of the island, supported by crypts. The peaceful cloister and refectory are well worth a visit, before examining the church foundations, dating from 708 A.D. Next to the church lies La Merveille, the graceful 13th century cloister which houses the monastery. Further down the ramparts are the abbey gardens, from which superb views of Normandy and Brittany can be obtained. At high tide, a spectacle not to be missed is the sight of the sea rushing in at speeds of up to 15mph, covering the beaches on either side of the causeway to the island. Make sure you have parked your car at a safe distance !

Photo Gallery
Click on images for full-size pictures.
Photo of Mont St Michel by night
~ Mont St Michel by Night ~
Photo of Mont St Michel Cloister
~ The Cloister ~
Photo of Mont St Michel street
~ A Street in Mont St Michel ~
Photo of Mont St Michel by night
~ Abbey Interior ~
Photo of Mont St Michel Cloister
~ Abbey Spire ~
Photo of Mont St Michel street
~ Statue of St Michel ~

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