Magical island that is blessed with a gravity defying Abbey, tourists visit Mont Saint Michel and its bay due to its popularity as one of the most stunning sights in France. This place has been Europe’s major pilgrimage destination for centuries and now is a UNESCO world Heritage site. The holy island and the breathtaking bay are unforgetful sites and have long captured the imagination.
Built between the 11th and 16th centuries the abbey is an artistic marvel and a technical feat that attracts thousands of visitors from around the world. The architecture is inspired by Gothic style and one can also see some influences of Roman architecture. Being a unique combination of a natural site and architectural marvel, this place has set itself among the popular tourist destinations with its unique aesthetic. Visitors get to explore the unique features that complement each other in this wonderful location. The abbey, the fortified village with its large walls and the uniquely placed buildings - all together give the Mont Saint Michel its amazing character and silhouette. The Mont Saint Michel also has become one of the most important pieces of medieval history and the Christian civilisation. Its beautiful layout and historical importance are two major reasons to visit the amazing island.
Mont Saint Michel History dates back to 708, when the Bishop of Avranches founded the place. It is believed in legends that the Bishop had visions of the archangel Saint Michel, and after this he decided to honor the divine power. He created the religious spot at the Mont Saint Michel, the abbey then later on processed to become a place of worship, pilgrimage and religious importance. The abbey’s strategic location made it a great defense point in addition to its spiritual significance. Therefore with time, the construction added to the island included fortification which extended the abbey and its original structure. The abbey was attacked by power hungry rulers over different periods of history, including during the one hundred year war and by the Breton Knights under the rule of Guy de Thouars.
Later under the rule of King Louis XI, the Mont saint Michel was turned into a prison and detention center. The French Revolution saw locked up dissidents and the holding cells of the abbey were filled with them. It was later in the year 1922 that the worship grounds of the Mont Saint Michel were restored, but the pilgrims came back from the year 1966. Today the Mont Saint Michel and its bay are renowned UNESCO world heritage sites and are visited by around 3500000 visitors every year.
The stunning architecture is one of the main reasons to visit Mont Saint Michel and its Bay Area. As the place became a popular religious destination in the medieval ages, the architecture of the abbey and the surrounding village evolved along with its importance. The architecture of the stone and timber frame houses is among the reasons to visit this site, as they are now classified as historical landmarks. The houses in the east and south areas of the Mont Saint Michel are stacked together in tiers and are enclosed by steep embankments of rocks.
The Mont Saint Michel Abbey was first built in 966, inspired by Benediction style of architecture and was nestled on the top of the sanctuary dedicated to the archangel Michel. Due to this the Abbey includes some influence and details of the Romanesque architecture. In addition to these remnants, the abbey also houses a small pre-Romanesque church which has a double nave built with granite and flat bricks. As the Gothic period approached, new additions and changes were made to the architecture of this Abbey. The great artists and creators of the period added high walls, high masses, pinnacles and sharp silhouettes to the marvelous structure. Since then the Mont Saint Michel has withstood many attacks, but the main site and Abbey have maintained their original structure. The building undergoes periodic restorations to maintain its structure and beauty, which attracts all visitors who visit Paris.
Visits to the abbey is unquestionably the best activity on the island of Mont-Saint-Michel. Nowadays, more tourists visit the abbey than pilgrims do, despite it being a glorious location for worship, prayer, and pilgrimage for centuries. It has beautiful architecture and has been formally recognised as a historical landmark since 1874. There is a lot to learn as the island has housed a benedictine institution of some sort since the eighth century. The abbey is actually the main focus of Mont-Saint-Michel, so if visitors don't go there, they’re really missing out. Visitors will be mesmerised by the grand halls, passageways, and gardens.
The island is encompassed by old walls (ramparts) and watchtowers that were built to ward off invaders, as was typical of the middle ages. In fact, the fortification walls on the island of Mont Saint-Michel made it an impregnable fortress even during the Hundred Years War. For beautiful vistas, visitors can stroll along the "Chemin des Remparts" (Ramparts Pathway). The Tour du Nord (North Tower), a 13th-century watchtower, also has an observation deck where guests can get out and observe the tide come in and go out of the Bay.
The island of Mont-Saint-principal Michel's main street is called La Grande Rue. It starts not long after visitors pass through the island's main gate, so one simply wouldn't be able to miss it. Because most of the island's eateries and gift shops are located here, it is frequently packed, and for justified reasons. They will be transported to the Middle Ages by strolling down this winding, cobblestone street as Structures from the 15th and 16th centuries line the avenue! If visitors wish to explore this area with fewer people, then it is advised to visit preferably early morning or plan to remain till late afternoon.
Since the eighth century, Christian pilgrims have endured the grueling journey to Mont Saint-Michel. The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, also referred to as the "Wonder of the West," is still revered by contemporary pilgrims. A certified guide can be hired by pilgrims to take tourists across the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel. Due to safety concerns, it is not suggested to try the excursion sans a guide. On Saint Michael's Day, which honors the Archangel Michael, around the end of September, numerous pilgrims embark on their spiritual pilgrimage. A somber mass is said in the Abbey Church on the Sunday that is closest to Saint Michael's Day.
2. How to reach
By Shuttle: The island of Mont Saint Michel is connected to the mainland by a special passenger shuttle. This free shuttle runs from 7:30 AM to 8 PM and drops you off 350 meters from the main island. With ramps at each entrance and designated wheelchair spaces, the shuttle is handicapped accessible.
By Guided Tours: The ideal approach to explore Mont Saint Michel is without a doubt this. If you are traveling long distances from Paris to visit, a guided tour takes care of your transportation. You won't have to worry regarding transit because you'll get round-trip transfers in a private, air-conditioned bus. A knowledgeable guide will also be with you to provide you with information about the island.
In the year 708 CE, Saint-Aubert, the Bishop of Avranches, constructed Mont Saint Michel. This was after he had visions of the archangel Michel, and he wanted to create a place to honor the divine power.
The Mont Saint Michel Tickets include access to the Mont Saint Abbey and its historic surroundings. Guests can explore the nearby area, including the ramparts and Grand Rue during their visit. In addition to this the guests also get a guide book to learn about the historical tourist spot. Guests will get many amazing and fun facts from the guide book, which will come in handy during the visit to the popular religious attraction.
Yes, it is best to buy the Mont Saint Michel Tickets in advance so that guests can plan their day accordingly. Also, online bookings ensure a hassle free experience and guests do not have to wait on site. They can also enjoy great deals and discounts on the price of their ticket while booking in advance.
Yes, it is possible to cross the Mont Saint Michel bay. However, it can be a tricky task and therefore it is advisable that visitors do it only under the guidance of professional guides.
Some of the best camping sites for visitors to explore and enjoy during their visit include O2 Camping, Camping Lez-Eaux, Camping Saint Michel, Camping le Balcon de la Baie, Camping de l'Ile Verte and many others.
Visitors must see the spring tides at Mont Saint Michel, stroll through the island's cobblestone alleys, and visit the magnificent abbey. In addition to this they should also take a tour of the ramparts and try camping for an overnight thrilling experience at the historical island.