Mont-St-Michel, Normandy

Mont-St-Michel, Normandy

Soo …  it’s back to France – I must finish my ‘France journal’  before we go on the next Trafalgar tour next year  !!!!!  🙂   We are thinking ‘best of Italy’ would be a good choice 🙂

Mont-St-Michel is an amazing place!!  Driving through the countryside towards the coast, the land flattens and seemingly out of nowhere, an abbey rises high on an island surrounded by the marais (salt marshes)  .. magical .. mysterious ..

St Aubert (Bishop Aubert of Avranches) built a devotional chapel on the summit of the island in 708 following his vision of the Archangel Michael whose gilded figure “perched on the vanquished dragon, crowns the tip of the abbey’s spire” .   It was added onto over time …. becoming an influential Benedictine monastery in 12th and 13th centuries.  Pilgrims journeyed from afar to honour the cult of St Michael and the monastery was a renowned centre of medieval learning.  By mid 18th century the abbey had been extensively added to.  English attacks during the Hundred Years War (1300’s to 1400’s)  led to the construction of fortified walls with imposing towers.  During the French Revolution, 1789, the abbey was used as a political prison.

The causeway was built in 1877-79 linking the island to the mainland for easy access, but it has caused major changes to the tides and silting up of the sea around the island.  Extemely strong tides in the Baie du Mont-St-Michel act as a natural defence.  They rise and fall with the lunar calendar and can reach speeds of 10km/h in spring.

Major engineering works are underway to build a bridge linking the island to the mainland, demolitioning the causeway, and thus reversing the silting up of the sea around the island

Join me for a walk-about around a small part, a very small part,  of this amazing island .. here again, a lot more time is needed for wandering around climbing up and down steep steps, hundreds of them, and narrow streets, exploring this ancient place  !!!!    I found it difficult to cut the number of photos – each step, each corner, each street held mystery and magic ..

Walking along the causeway ..  there are buses from the village on the mainland which stop

Entrance to Grande Rue … now crowded with restaurants and shops .. and people !  ..  was the route Pilgrims followed since the 12th century, climbing up past Eglise St-Pierre to the abbey gates ..

Eglise St-Pierre ..   we were lucky walking through it, as they closed the doors after us to conduct a service ..

Pic below:  Eglise St-Pierre is on the left of the cemetery ..

There was a long .. long queue up the steps into the abbey.  We decided not to join it as we didn’t know how long we would be .. thus missing out on other sights .. and lunch!!  We had our eyes on La Vieille Auberge for a bite to eat !  (satisfying for hubby .. disastrous for me .. that’s where I had a galette (bucwheat savoury pancake) with andoillette (pork tripe sausage)  !!

We shall pause here … take a breather … before we venture further …

4 Replies to “Mont-St-Michel, Normandy”

  1. Great shots. I’m French and I’ve never been there. Can you believe it? Then again I guess most New Yorkers have never been on top of the Empire State…

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