Mont Saint Michel Castle France

Le Mont Saint Michel France

Le Mont Saint Michel France. Photo by Valdiney Pimenta

Mont Saint Michel Castle is one of the most popular attractions in France, affecting their uniqueness and literally fabulous view! Really, the monastery on a rock sticking out of the water depths, simply can’t look stunning.

Le Mont St Michel Castle Location

At the top of the cliff, at a height of almost 80 meters, ascend to heaven’s walls of the ancient abbey, and at the end of its spire, located at a height of 155.5 meters above sea level, stands the golden figure of the Archangel with a sharpened sword.

Le Mont Saint Michel Castle Landscape, France

Le Mont Saint Michel Castle Landscape, France. Photo by Stephane Martin

Mont Saint Michel is protected by the sea on all sides and only the dam length of 2 kilometers connects the mainland to the island

Victor Hugo was so much impressed by the Mont Saint Michel and called it “the Pyramid in the Ocean”.

Abbey of the Mont Saint Michel – the most visited area in France after Paris. Because of the territorial jurisdiction of this unique corner of a dispute between two areas – Brittany and Normandy.

Nevertheless, it is assumed that the boundary between them is conducted on a running river in the coastal sands of the Couesnon, which indicates not in favor of Brittany. On this occasion, there is even a French saying: “Couesnon mad, so Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, it found itself.”

Entry to the Mont Saint Michael Castle starts at the King’s Gate. Hence, in the interior of the island extends only Grande Rue street. In the tiny, almost toy houses XV-XVI centuries, huddled together on the two sides of the street today and cafes, restaurants, hotels and stalls with a variety of souvenirs.

Le Mont St Michel Castle Legend

There are several theories about the origin of the Mont Saint Michel Island. First, the most plausible, says that in the beginning of the VIII century after a strong storm in this part of the English Channel has changed the coastline.

Le Mont Saint Michel France during sunset and low tide

Le Mont Saint Michel France during sunset and low tide. Photo by Moyan Brenn

Part of the coastal meadows and forests disappeared under the water and then covered with sand, and two rocky hills became islands. The largest among them, Mont Tomb (French for “burial hill”), and is now the name of the Mont Saint Michel. The little one is named Tombelen (“Little Grave”).

According to the second version, the two rocks dragged into the sea giants – the parents Gargantua. Granguze, his father, as is common in men carrying the heaviest of stones – Mont Tomb and Gargamelle, the mother of Gargantua, dragging Tombelen. But the Giants got tired and threw the stones near the shore. Gargantua also contributed to the shape of the local topography, creating a river Couesnon. As, according to legend, it is done.

Le Mont Saint Michel French castle architecture

Le Mont Saint Michel French castle architecture. Photo by Jonvilliers

A lot of legends are due to the Mont Saint Michel Castle. Based by the one of legend, the Archangel Michael came in the dream to Archbishop Aubert in 708.

The Archangel ordered the bishop to dedicate to it then is almost completely the throes of the sea cliff. Aubert did not fulfill that order, in the fear of becoming a victim of svego imagination.

Le Mont Saint Michel Castle

Le Mont Saint Michel Castle. Photo by isamiga76

The same vision of the future was repeated many times. Then the angel could not resist such a defiance and plunged his finger into his head Aubert. To eventually convince the bishop and other Christians, he has created many miracles here.

By the way, the legend of the legend, but in the skull Aubert, the researchers actually found a hole) It could be caused by, for example, combat wound or trepanation in the handling of the brain and can actually archangel finger poked 🙂

Le Mont St Michel Castle History

The Mont Saint Michel Castle was built a very long time – from the XI to XVI century. The Vikings founded here. William the Conqueror went away to England from here. There were lived many kings.

During the Hundred Years War between France and England, Mont Saint Michel was the last stronghold of the French in Normandy, was never captured by the enemy…


Le Mont Saint Michel, Normandia, France

Le Mont Saint Michel, Normandia, France. Photo by Afloresm

It had never been conquered, surviving even one 30-year siege. The Mont Saint Michel remained impregnable castle in the stories.

The Castle was “surrendered” only to tourists. Today The Mont Saint Michel Castle is visited by more than 3 million visitors each year – more than just popular Paris and Versailles.

Le Mont St Michel Castle as a tourist attraction

The Mont Saint Michel Monastery was closed a long time ago – back in 1790! A few decades later, ironically, there have concluded the most dangerous criminals and villains – a half-century castle turned into a state prison.

Because of this, people call it “Provincial Bastille.” Only in 1863 after major restoration, it opened the doors to tourists again.

Le Mont Saint Michel France tourist attraction

Le Mont Saint Michel France tourist attraction. Photo by Abel Hernández Macías

The tourists admire not only the architectural delights of the Mont Saint Michel Castle. The reason is that it becomes an island only 2 times a year in our time.

This happens due to the fact that over the past century, the sea moved away. Now, most of the time the castle is surrounded by sand, but the 2 times a year (during the fall and spring equinoxes) during high tide it becomes an island.

In just one day, the water level rises by as much as 10 meters. It is the most powerful tides in all of France. During the low tide, the sea recedes from the coast for 25 miles!

By the way, if the Mont Saint Michel Castle seemed familiar to anyone – this is probably due to the fact that the island-fortress of the castle was a type of Minas Tirith in the popular movie “The Lord of the Rings”.

Read more about France in my posts: Interesting Facts About France, Things to do in Paris France