Mont Saint-Michel: French Gem

Mont Saint-Michel: French Gem

France possesses a vast number of landmarks that are definitely worth a visit. Choosing just one among them is indeed a very challenging task.

However, among the tight candidates, the Mont Saint-Michel monastery should certainly not be missed. This structure can truly enchant. 

A Norman Beauty

Mont Saint-Michel Monastery is located in the north of France, specifically in Normandy. It's a fortified complex built on a rocky island. The construction began as early as the eighth century, but since then, the appearance of the monastery has changed significantly.

Initially, Mont Saint-Michel was just a simple chapel, but over time it swelled to its present grand form. From a chapel, it gradually became a massive monastery of the Benedictine order, around which a small town emerged, which was used for centuries not only as a port but also as a resting place for pilgrims.

The construction of the entire complex didn't proceed smoothly but in several phases. Therefore, it took several centuries for Mont Saint-Michel to acquire the form we know today. Thanks to its unique location and architectural features, this monument has been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage since a specific year.

Distinctive Features

Mont Saint-Michel is indeed a specific monument. A lot of tourists prefer this monastery over such hits as the Eiffel Tower or Notre-Dame cathedral. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Visiting a monastery on a rocky island in a quite inhospitable environment is a rare opportunity. Such a landmark basically doesn't exist anywhere else, at least not in these proportions.
  • The monastery itself is an impressive structure, which can astonish not only from a distance but also during a tour of the interior.
  • Very characteristic of Mont Saint-Michel are the large medieval walls. The monastery was indeed rebuilt into a fortress at its time. Even this architectural element can enchant.
  • Every corner here breathes medieval atmosphere. The local alleys are rightly narrow and winding, just as they liked it in the medieval period.
  • Mont Saint-Michel is of course not just a tourist attraction. Pilgrims from around the world still come here.

Ghosts are of course not missing

Like every proper medieval fortress, Mont Saint-Michel also has its ghosts. There are several terrifying legends associated with this place.

It is said that the souls of the dead never leave the island. Therefore, it's possible to occasionally encounter long-dead monks who wander around Mont Saint-Michel and its surroundings.

Another legend speaks of a horrific voice from the darkness, which is sometimes heard by both local residents and some visitors.

Local folklore also enriches the legend of the tide guards, who ensure that the tide is constantly balanced, thereby protecting the island.

Architectural Gem

Mont Saint-Michel undoubtedly belongs among the unique architectural gems not only of France but of the whole of Europe. It is also interesting for its rich history. Therefore, every visitor to sweet France should make time to visit this island monastery.