NO.2 visited attraction in France
As we drive towards the coast a breath-taking site comes into view on the horizon. A towering monastery island rises in the heart of an immense bay covered by the highest tides in Europe. This tour is a pilgrimage, an amazing experience to one of the favmous places in the world to visit.
In December we took our guest Sally a determined 80yr old with some mobility issues. Sally was on her last bucket-list trip to Europe. We visited the lower town & ramparts & chapel. had an amazing joyous experience, even though we did visit the upper monastery. In January we took Jackson; my son, as a family we took our time, & climbed up to the monastery museum. I was determined and what an amazing life experience it was, & one I will never forget. With reasonable fitness & taking your time, you can climb the 300+ steep stone stairs to the entrance of the monastery museum. Handrails are not always available. There are still more stairs to come. Whatever your capabilities or interest Mont Saint Michel is one of the worlds must see place to visit.
HISTORY Originally a Romano-Gallic stronghold till destroyed by the Franks. In 709 Archangel Michel visited Aubert, Bishop of Avranches requesting he build a small church. In 966 a community of Benedictines settled on the rock at the request of the Duke of Normandy. Along with Rome & Saint Jacques de Compostela, Mont Saint Michelle became one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Medieval world. While developing into a great spiritual & intellectual centre of learning. For 900+ years pilgrims followed the route of the “paths to paradise” seeking assurance of eternity, from the Archangel of judgement. As the abbey developed a village grew on the south-east side now surrounded by walls dating from the 100 Years War 1423-34.
- 11th c; Romanesque abbey church & first monastery was built.
- 12thc; Romanesque monastery buildings extended.
- 13thc; King of France, Philip Augustus funded two three-storey buildings, crowned by the cloister & refectory.
- 14thc; The 100 War repeated assaults from the English necessitated fortification of the abbey behind walls.
- 15thc; Romanesque chancel replaced by Flamboyant Gothic chancel.
- 19thc; The French Revolution & Empire the Abbey was closed, stripped, repossessed for a prison.
- 20thc; 1966 a religious community moved back into the Abbey, for a life of prayer.
- 2001 ; "Les Fraternités Monastiques de Jérusalem" maintains a spiritual presence.
- 1979 UNESCO classed Mont Saint-Michel as a World Heritage Site. Welcoming more than 2,5 million visitors a year.