The Abbey of the Mont-Saint-Michel
© CRT Normandie / E. Lorang
© CMN/Alfred Wolf - All rights reserved to the photography department of the Centre des monuments nationaux
© CMN/CIM Productions - All rights reserved to the photography department of the Centre des monuments nationaux
© CMN/Étienne Revault - All rights reserved to the photography department of the Centre des monuments nationaux
Listed as a French historic monument since 1874, the Abbey of the Mont-Saint-Michel is an architectural gem dating back to medieval times.
Looking down from on high over the immense bay that surrounds it, the Abbey of the Mont-Saint-Michel bears testament to the architectural mastery of its medieval builders.
The long history of a Christian presence on the Mont-Saint-Michel is believed to date back to 708, when Aubert, bishop of the nearby hill town of Avranches, had a religious sanctuary in honour of the Archangel Michael built on the rock then known as the Mont-Tombe. In the 10th century, Benedictine monks established an abbey on the Mount.
Today, the abbey consists of over 20 chambers, including a pre-Romanesque chapel, Romanesque religious buildings, a Gothic wing known as ‘the Marvel’ in recognition of its technical prowess, plus a Flamboyant Gothic choir end to the abbey church.
Down the centuries, what with fires, collapses, reconstructions, architectural choices and changes in function, the abbey was subjected to alterations, reflecting great national, cultural and historical movements across France. The abbey remains a major place of pilgrimage.
Today, its opening to the public is managed by the French state’s Centre des Monuments Nationaux. This heritage body’s role includes the programming of activities for a diverse public with guided tours, concerts, lectures, family tours and school projects. The west terrace, square in front of the abbey church offers an ideal platform from which to admire the whole Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel, especially impressive seen at spring tides.
Find out more about the abbey on the website of the Centre des Monuments Nationaux.