Le Mont Saint Michel – A Magical Island

Suzy Rhodes Thu, 07/16/2015 - 15:07
France
Normandy
Highlights: 

This is quite an enchanting island it’s sure to captivate any visitor who walks the delightful cobblestone streets that lead up to the Abbey.  I can’t help but think of Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter movies strolling through these narrow alleyways, just look at the cuteness of it all.  The best part is the lodgings you can actually stay in, now that’s what I call totally immersing yourself in the area. This charming village grew up in the shadows of the Abbey walls that were originally built in A.D. 708, when (according to legend) the Archangel Michael told the local bishop to “build here and build high.”

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

 

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Sitting between Normandy and Brittany this rocky islet is known as the ‘Wonder of the West’ as it rises up like a beacon to the lost and weary travelers of the open seas.  Stairs from the village lead up to this sacred place – the Gothic-style Benedictine Abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael, has stunning architecture, stained glass windows and a sacred feel to the place; you can’t help but notice this Abbey has offered solitude and peace for centuries.

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

 

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

 

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

When the evening draws near the island is magically lit up like a lighthouse.  Can you imagine in days gone by what this might have meant to many travelers or weary souls?  Today we are so lucky to relish in the curious past that echoes through ancient walls and streets as we discover an old world full of love for God and His people.

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

 

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

In the Middle-Ages the streets were lined with stalls selling food, candles, medallions and all types of essential things for those days, today the streets leading to the Abbey are full of shops and hotels and lots and lots of tourists.  There are 30 full-time residents in this village and their sole purpose is for its visitors, they thrive off tourism.  Indulging in the local culinary food can be expensive but quite the experience. The pilgrims traditional omelets are still sold here and a hit with the tourists as well as seafood platters, lamb and Muscadet wine.

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

 

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

lll

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Staying the night here on the mount will enable you to soak up the real atmosphere once all the tourists have left.  The early mornings and late afternoons are perfect times to stroll through the medieval streets peacefully and at your own leisure.

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

The connection between Mont Saint-Michel and the mainland has changed over the centuries. Previously connected by a tidal causeway (a path uncovered only at low tide), this was converted into a raised (permanently dry) causeway in 1879, preventing the tide from scouring the silt around the mount.  Today, when the tide is low there are sheep that graze the local land and you can admire them as you walk across the causeway.

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

 

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

On 16 June 2006, the French prime minister and regional authorities announced a €164 million project (Projet Mont-Saint-Michel) to build a hydraulic dam using the waters of the river Couesnon and the tides to help remove the accumulated silt, and to make Mont Saint-Michel an island again. The project's completion is scheduled for 2015.

Since 28 April 2012 the new car park on the mainland has been in service, about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) from the island. Visitors can walk or use shuttles to cross the causeway.

On 22 July 2014 the new bridge by architect Dietmar Feichtinger was opened to the public. The light bridge allows the waters to flow freely around the island and improves the efficiency of the now operational dam.

On rare occasions tidal circumstances produce an extremely high 'supertide'. The new bridge was completely submerged on 21 March 2015, by the highest sea level for at least 18 years.

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

My son Adam said, out of all the places he visited in Europe, this place was his most favorite; it must have made an impression on him!

Across the ocean in England is the isles sister known as 'St. Michael's Mount':

They are both known as 'sisters' because history states that during the Norman Conquest in 1066 St Michael's Mount had come into the possession of the monks of its sister isle, Mont St Michel in Normandy. In the 12th century it was their hands that built the church and priory that still lie at the heart of the castle today.

To find out more about St. Micheal's Mount in England click here:

http://europescalling.com/Drupal/node/132#sthash.ULAsUyqN.dpbs

St.Michael's Mount

 

 

You might also like...

Strasbourg

Suzy Rhodes Wed, 02/05/2014 - 23:00

Cinque Terre

Suzy Rhodes Fri, 05/09/2014 - 02:39
Cinque Terre - Monterosso

Tower Bridge - 120 years old!

Suzy Rhodes Mon, 06/30/2014 - 15:34
Tower Bridge - London