Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mont Saint-Michel

At times I have shared pictures and my impressions of things or places from my travels that left quite an impression on me.  I'm adding another place to the list: Mont Saint-Michel.  (April 1983, I sponsored a student trip to England and France, and my Mom got to go along. :-)  )

The Mount is a huge block of granite and granulate that soars 170 meters high above the sandy surroundings of sea on the west coast of France.  It is isolated from the coast and looks like a fantasy island.  I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to build an abbey (and eventually a small city) on the steep slopes of this rock outcropping.

The pictures above were taken from the tour bus (hmmm...the originals are not so out-of-focus) as we approached this island.  According to historians, this rock has served as a refuge for robbers, as protection for local villagers from attacking pagan tribes, and as a place of solace for others.  At first a chapel was built there, and in the 10th century the Mount was dedicated to St. Michel. It was Richard I, Duke of Normandy, who ordered that the chapel be replaced by an abbey in the year 966. What a fortress it became!  However, political troubles between France and England, quarrels between nobles and princes, caused much trouble for those living at and protecting the abbey and its riches.  In the 13th and 14th centuries it was a place of pilgrimage.  In the 1800's (during the revolution) it became a prison.

The history is interesting.  The buildings are spectacular structures of Medieval architecture!

Walking through the area, you are in a maze of winding, narrow, steep streets and walkways.
This is not my photo, but an image from Google. It shows the location a bit better.
I'd love to see this place again.


  1. Very interesting. You should go back again!

  2. It looks like a fascinating place, and I'd love to explore the winding streets.