ABBAYE MONT SAINT MICHEL
Address : 50170 Mont-Saint-Michel
Opening Hours : Jan 1st-Apr 30th daily 9:30-18:00 / May 2nd-Aug 31st daily 9:00-19:00 / Sep 1st-Dec 31st daily 9:30-18:00
Admission : 10 euros / Non-European residents between 18-25 years old 8 euros
Mont Saint Michel is famous as a floating island on the sea. It gave the ideas to create the animated movies <Howls Moving Castle> and <Laputa : Castle in the Sky>.
How to get to Mont Saint Michel from Paris
1. Take TGV from Paris-Montparnasse Train Station, and it will take around 3 hours
2. Take Ouibus or Flixbus(You need to book the bus ticket online), it will take around 4.5-5.5 hours
How to get to Mont Saint Michel Abbey when you arrive at Mont Saint Michel
1. By walk : takes around 30 minutes
2. By bicycle : It might be possible to rent a bicycle from where you stay(if you stay one night) for free or at a low cost. You need to park at the bicycle lack before entering.
3. By Shuttle bus : There are free shuttle buses every 5-10 minutes, and it only takes 5 minutes by shuttle bus.
In 708, the archangel Michael appeared in the dream of Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, and asked him to build the abbey on this island. After Aubert ignored the dream for twice, Michael appeard in his dream for the third time and made a hole in Aubert's forehead with his finger. When Aubert woke up, he realized that it was not simply a dream, and started to build the abbey. It was originally called Mont-Tombe, but after, it became 'Mont Saint Michel'.
Build with romanesque style, in 13th century, two more buildings with three floors each were added. Before starting the tour inside, at the entrance, you can briefly see the procedure of construction with miniatures. During the French revolution, the abbey was used as a prison until 1863. After undergoing major restoration work, when it was classified as a historic monument in 1874, it could restore as now.
Constructed on the top of the rock, it was built strong so that it can stay firm even eighty meters above sea level.
On the most top of the abbey, there is the archangel Michael. This statue was created by the sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet in 1897. As the head of the heavenly militia, Saint Michael has a very important meaning in medieval religious sensibility. Saint Michael is holding the sword and a set of scales, as he was considered the one who led away the dead and put their souls in the balance on the day of the last judgement.
As the statue of the archangel Michael is situated too high, you cannot see it in details, but you can see the bigger statue near the ticket office.
Cloister connected many different buildings and also was a place of prayer and meditation. During the religious festivals, processions used to be held here as well. Double rows of small columns are built strongly, holding the building, while giving ever-changing views through them. It gave access to the refectory, kitchen, church, dormitory, and so on.
REFECTORY (RÉFECTOIRE DES MOINES)
Monks were having meals here in silence. While monks have meals, at the pulpit on the south wall, there was someone to give a reading.
MONKS' OSSUARY (GRANDE ROUE)
This big wheel was installed in 1820, when the abbey was used as the prison. It was used in order to hoist provisions to the prisoners.
KNIGHTS' HALL (SALLE DITE DES CHEVALIERS)
This place was used as a study room for monks. The documents and manuscripts are preserved at Avranches until now. You can imagine here the daily life of monks, who focused most of the times on studying and praying.
After being listed as the national historical monument in 1862, Mont Saint Michel, was also registered as UNESCO World Heritage in 1979. Many dolphins, seals and more than 100 kinds of birds inhabit Mont Saint Michel, making it a special protection zone. Not far from the island, you can see herds of sheep roaming in fields. It is recommendable to stay one night here to see Mont Saint Michel during sunset and night time with its lights on. Explore Mont Saint Michel with various charms from the day time to night.
Written and photographed by Yuna Lee