Mont Saint-Michel Facts

Mont Saint Michel or Le Mont Saint-Michel as it is known in France, is an island commune located in the Normandy region of the country.

Tourists flock to the island in vast numbers all year round to see the famed architectural masterpiece, which is steeped in over 1300 years of history.

The audacity of the construction coordinators and spiritual ambition of this amazing Benedictine abbey, is a dedication to the archangel saint Michael. It stands proudly atop the rock and offers a panorama of medieval religious architecture, from the Carolingian period to the most elegant forms of flamboyant Gothic art.

A sumptuous illustration of monastic life over the centuries, there are several floors dedicated to daily life like the refectory, cloister and scrptorium and the religious life like the abbey church, chapels and crypts. There is also a section which welcomes pilgrims, like the almonry and guest rooms.

Since the year 708 when saint Michael appeared three times in the dreams of saint Aubert, Bishop of Avranches and the times when French Kings such as Philip II and Francois I were paying visitors, the abbey of Mont Saint Michel has also been a veritable “sea fortress”, as it was transformed into a prison between 1793 and 1863. The abbey is considered to be a major historical monument since the time of Napoleon III and is the property of the French state.

In 1979, this was the first site in France to be awarded a World Heritage site. Mont Saint-Michel and the surrounding bay has stunning natural sites of space and their exceptional architectural heritage, which are two outstanding and universal values protected by UNESCO.

Then in 1998 it received a second classification when it became part of the Road to Santiago in France, a reminder that Mont Saint-Michel remains an important spiritual site.

The island is rich in colour and textures regardless of the season you visit, as a rocky peak emerges from the middle of the shore, stones imported from the Isle of Chausey and timber frames mix in the architecture of the village and it’s ring of fortifications, just like the buildings in the “Wonder of the West” whose monastic buildings were principally erected in the 13th century.

Everything here is subject to the ebb and flow of the powerful tides on the border between Normandy and Brittany, in this wonderful region of France.