Mont St Michel in Normandy

Mont St Michel in Normandy

Mont St Michel in Normandy

Mon St. Michel in Normandy, which is supposed to be one of the best-preserved medieval towns in France, was once a very well known pilgrimage destination. This rocky islet is situated in the English Channel’s Bay of St. Michel off the Normandy coast. The Benedictine Abbey, which was built in the 13th century towers and overlooks the little islet. There is just one street paved with cobblestones and worn out by the footsteps of thousands of pilgrims coming here to worship in this architectural and magnificent masterpiece. The abbey goes back to AD 708, when the Bishop Saint Aubert got it built. Local legend says that the Archangel Michael appeared before the Bishop in a dream and told him to build the abbey. The Bishop ignored this command until Michael bore a hole into the bishop’s skull with his finger. Guy de Thouars accidentally destroyed it in 1203. He just intended to set the village to fire and sword, during a siege. However, the fire destroyed the abbey. A very contrite King Philip the II got it rebuilt as a peace offering and you can see it in all its 13th century glory today.

This islet is a prime example of medieval fortification because its location meant that any war or skirmish took place between France and England and Mont St Michel would be withstanding the worst of it. Napoleon Bonaparte used the abbey as a prison during and after the Napoleonic wars. The abbey is protected as a World Heritage Site, in UNESCO’s list. It is also one of the most popular of Normandy’s tourist attractions and justifiably one of the historical monuments of which France can be proud.

Mont-Saint-Michel did not always belong to Normandy. It was once a part of England, having been given to England by William the conqueror, because the monks of the abbey supported his claim to the throne of England. Before that, the Romans and the Franks lived and flourished here. There is also a castle named Saint Michael’s Mount, in Cornwall, which once was a part of this abbey, during the medieval ages. Edward the Confessor bestowed it on the Benedictines.
Remember to taste one of the specialities of the place in the form of salt lamb- agneau de pré-salé – The flesh of the sheep is unusually salty, because they spend their time feeding on grass growing on salty marshes. Also, remember that the tides are very powerful here. Medieval pilgrims kept to the causeway and never walked over the flats, because they never knew when the tides, which could go up to 46 feet, would appear and sweep them away to sea. So if you intend walking on the beach, keep an eye open for the tides.

Related posts:

  1. Enjoying Your Trip To Coutances In Normandy
  2. Enjoy your trip to Caen

Leave a Reply