The majestic, monumental, magnificent Mont Saint-Michel

Posted on 14. Nov, 2012 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, France, Photo Posts

The beautiful Mont Saint-Michel

To me, the Mont-Saint-Michel was the kind of place that you read about in history books, that you see on television.

You know, the kind of place you hear so much about but somehow seem unattainable, if only in dreams?

 But since I’m such a big fan of roadtrips, I decided that the annual French holidays, for me, would be spent in Normandy. And not once did I regret that decision. Normandy is incredibly beautiful, rich in history, and has delicious local specialties  But when I look back, I think the highlight of the week was the Mont Saint-Michel.

Perhaps you’ll understand why after looking at a few photos…

The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel

photos of mont-saint-michel

The Abbey

Inside the Abbey

They Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel dates back to the 10th century, and is an eclectic yet surprisingly harmonized mix of Roman and Gothic architecture, and definitely makes for an interesting few hours visit, especially in the cloisters.

The view is also gorgeous - on clear days, you can see both Normandy and Brittany spreading on either side of the island. To this day, it’s still unclear in which region the Abbey really is, and no one seems to agree on the answer. But as long as you actually get there, it doesn’t really matter, does it?

And apparently, the tides around the island are some of the most dangerous in the world, in the sense that they are incredibly sneaky. They can be as quick and strong as 3 feet per second, for a total of 60 feet! Better watch the scenery from high up, then.

The view from the Abbey

The Cloisters

The Cloisters

The Cloisters

The village of Mont Saint-Michel

Well, there’s no going around that - the village is definitely tourist central, which translates into hefty price tags for pretty much everything (restaurants, souvenirs, hotels and other things). My suggestion would be to grab a cup of local cider, enjoy it on a terrace for the view and eat some place else.

The Village, despite its price, is beautiful. The many winding and steep alleys offer a new surprise at every corner, and everywhere you look seem like the new ‘best photo opportunity ever’. Needless to say that the village, as well as the whole island of Mont Saint-Michel, are very photogenic.

One of the many narrow alleys

The entrance gate

Tourist souvenirs

The beautiful timer-frame architecture

Archangel Michael

Have you been to the Mont Saint-Michel? What was your favorite part? What’s your favorite photo in this essay?

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9 Responses to “The majestic, monumental, magnificent Mont Saint-Michel”

  1. Barbara Weibel

    14. Nov, 2012

    Residents of Normandy would be quite upset to hear your comment: “To this day, it’s still unclear in which region the Abbey really is, and no one seems to agree on the answer.” The island is within the borders of Normandy and even Britons agree. In fact when Mont Saint Michel is lit at night, the lights shine only on the Normandy side - purposely. Anyone viewing it from the shores of Brittany will see only darkness - signal of where ownership lies. Don’t ever tell a Norman that the Abbey might belong to Brittany, as it’s a huge insult.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      14. Nov, 2012

      I’m afraid that’s not what I heard from both Normans and Brittons… ;-) I guess to each its opinion!

      Reply to this comment
  2. Barbara Weibel

    14. Nov, 2012

    I suspect you met some of the locals who love to joke, argue, and banter about which region it actually stands in. Bretons claim that since the Couesnon River marks the traditional boundary between Normandy and Brittany, it is only because the river has altered its course over the centuries that the mount is on the Norman side of the border. This legend amuses the area’s inhabitants, who state that the border is not located on the Couesnon river itself but on the mainland. It’s a good-natured rivalry, but by all accounts, including the French government, MSM is in Normandy. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, and they list it as being located in Basse Normandy (Lower Normandy). The official Normandy tourism site lists it as being in Normandy, and the official Brittany Tourism website says “The world-famous island abbey may stand just across the border in Normandy, but much of the phenomenal Bay of Mont St-Michel forms part of Brittany.”

    Reply to this comment
    • Alexandre

      15. Nov, 2012

      I’m afraid it’s not that simple :)

      Although it is now very official that the Mont Saint-Michel is in Normandy, the MSM, Nantes and Rennes are all part of what was once the great Brittany. In fact, the territory of Brittany is quite often contested.

      Even though Wikipedia says that “this legend amuses the area’s inhabitants”, I can attest that some of my britton friends feel quite strongly about these places.

      Now, that’s all old history (for us anyway) and we know that it’s nothing official, but I sincerely dare the person who wrote that paragraph on wikipedia to say aloud in Brest that “this legend amuses the area’s inhabitants”. He will be meet… strongly ;)

      Even though it’s a bit of a stretch, I sometimes consider Brittany like Scotland. They may have lost the war along time ago, they haven’t lost their pride not one bit!

      Nowadays this is fading though, kids barely know Breton anymore :/

      Reply to this comment
  3. Angela

    16. Nov, 2012

    I guess it’s difficult for non-Europeans to grasp the complexity of the Continent, even though there are “official statements”, citizens’ sentiments and rivalries stem from centuries of history, very much alive still now, that only locals understand. UNESCO’s lists can’t really impose how people feel, and this is all that matters in the end ;)

    Reply to this comment
  4. Turtle

    27. Nov, 2012

    Yikes… I was just enjoying the pretty pictures and then suddenly found myself watching a big fight about what region the place is in. Can’t we call just get along and go back to the nice photos?? :)

    Reply to this comment

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