September 19, 2014

French Friday: Mont Saint Michel

  • Location:  NW France, near Avranches - Department: Manche
  • Region: In Normandy, but right on the border with Brittany
  • Distance from Paris:  222 miles
  • Nearest cities: Caen and  Rennes
  • Most visited destination in France outside of Paris
  • UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979
  • Founded in 708 AD by Saint Aubert of Avranches
  • Built on the island as protection against Viking invasions
  • Dedicated to Saint Michael, the patron saint of sailors
  • Gothic-Byzantine Abbey built from 11th to 16th centuries
  • Village with a population of 44 residents
  • The 200 m “Grande rue” through the village climbs progressively to the Abbey stairs
  • On the top of the main street starts the “Grand Degré” -- 350 steps to the Abbey
To reach the island, you must cross the 600-meter causeway
that was subject to tidal fluctuations until it was elevated in 2006.
The spire with the statue of Michael the Archangel
The ramparts
The imposing fortress of the Abbey
A view from the top
The cloisters
In the village...
Be sure to visit La Mère Poulard for a giant omelette
or des caramels au beurre salé (miam!)...
Or enjoy a Breton galette --
a savory crêpe made with buckwheat flour.
Photo courtesy of Pinterest
And don't forget a glass of Normand cidre!
All photos taken at Le Mont Saint Michel in 2005 & 2011