Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel History

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Early History of Mont Saint Michel History

Located on the coasts of Normandy and Brittany, the Mont Saint Michel is one of the most beautiful Gothic-style Benedictine abbeys which were constructed in the 11th century. Mont Saint Michel is one of the top tourist attractions with over 3 million visitors and has also been declared a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979. The Mont Saint Michel history goes back to the time when it was first known as Mont Tombe and it was believed that St. Aubert of Avranches first erected the Christian sanctuary on Mont Tomb and dedicated it to St. Michael the Archangel.

Mont Saint Michel History was apparent from the mid-9th century when the place was very popular among the pilgrims. Mont-Saint-Michel's popularity grew in the 11th century when Normans established a Roman abbey church in the late 11th century and also expanded it in the 12th century. The Mont Saint Michel suffered great damage after the siege led by Philip 11 of France and Normandy was captured. The Mont Saint Michel later has been reconstructed over the years.

History of Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel
Visions of Bishop of Avranches

Mont Saint Michel history starts with Mont Saint Michel founding the Bishop of Avranches in 708 after he saw the archangel Saint-Michel thrice in his dreams. After the third time, the bishop of Avranches decided to build the oratory in honor of the archangel. According to legend, the Bishop of Avranches dispatched two religious leaders to search for relics, and they later purchased a piece of wall, a crimson robe, and a slab of marble on which the archangel had set his foot.

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Mont Saint Michel
Tumultuous Times

Mont Saint Michel history later changed when the Abbey was expanded to become a place of worship. This step started as an invitation to many monks to start their pilgrimage over to this island.

Since the archangel's relics were placed, many faithful pilgrims and great minds started visiting this place and because of this, the abbey had to be reconstructed with many reinforcements to defend the island. The Abbey was attacked in 1204 by the Breton knights under the command of Guy de Thouars and visitors can also look at the vestiges of the One-Hundred Year War

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Mont Saint Michel
The Abbey and its Prisons

The Abbey was transformed into a prison under the rule of King Louis XI and this detention center held prisoners until 1860. During the French revolution, the dissidents were placed in the holding cells in the abbey. Once the prison closed there were 650 prisoners who were transferred to the continent by the French government.

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Mont Saint Michel
Renovating Mont Saint-Michel

The Mont Saint-Michel was renovated multiple times, the workshop grounds were renovated in the year 1922 but the pilgrimages returned back in 1966 during the abbey's 1,000-year anniversary. The French government, the owner of the abbey took care of the renovations and the Benedictine monks started residing in the prayer halls and the sisters of the Monastic Fraternity from Jerusalem followed the monks and came to Mont Saint-Michel in 2001.

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Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint-Michel Today

An embankment was built in 1879 by the French government to make it easy for the Pilgrims to access the road. The next project started in 1983 as the island's maritime aspects needed restoring and the parking lot had to be removed to build an English channel to let the waters flow freely. In 1979, Mont Saint-Michel was declared a UNESCO world heritage and the monument now gets over 3 million visitors every year.

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FAQs About Mont-Saint-Michel

Who built Mont-Saint-Michel?

The Mont-Saint-Michel history tells that the Bishop of Avranches built the oratory after the archangel came to his dreams three times.

When is the best time to visit Mont-Saint-Michel?

The best time to visit Mont-Saint-Michel is from June to August when it's summer and the temperature is pleasant. This weather is neither too hot nor too cold which makes it perfect for tourists all around the world to visit this amazing monument.

What are the best things to do inside Mont-Saint-Michel?

The top things to do inside Mont-Saint-Michel are

  • Admire the architecture and learn about Mont-Saint-Michel history

  • Visit the Alligator Bay

  • Bike or walk along the Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel.

  • Eat at La Mere Poulard

  • Eat Oysters In Cancale

  • Walk around the mount’s impressive fortifications

How much time do you need at Mont-Saint-Michel?

The visitors can spend a minimum of 4-5 hours exploring the town, visiting the abbey, and also grabbing a bite at the beautiful cafes.

What is Mont-Saint-Michel known for?

Mont-Saint-Michel is a famous and renowned center of learning and a major attraction to many great minds and manuscript illuminators. The Mont-Saint-Michel is also known for its largest tide in Europe which reaches nearly 14 meters.

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