Discover the Abbey at Mont Saint Michel…
The Mont Saint Michel Abbey welcomes thousands of visitors every year who are curious to discover this religious monument which is steeped in history. In 1874 the abbey was listed a "monument historique" and since 1979 the Mont Saint Michel site as a whole has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is managed by the "Centre des monuments nationaux".
It was in 708 that this story begins, when the Archangel Michael appears three times before the Bishop Aubert and orders him to build a sanctuary on the Mont Tombe for a small community of canons.
In 966, Richard 1st, Duke of Normandy, ordered Benedict monks to be installed on the Mount. This marked the founding year of the Mont Saint Michel abbey. Very soon after the arrival of the Benedict monks, the abbey became an important pilgrimage site for western christians as well as a medieval cultural centre where a large number of manuscripts were produced and conserved.
The abbey, a political and intellectual crossroads where Carolingian traditions and the Greco-Arab influence combined, also benefited from trade between Great Britain and France.
An outstanding architectural feat
The abbey's architecture is proof of the savoir faire and expertise in the Middle Ages. It resembles no other monastery. The architects, taking into consideration the pointed shape of the Mount, wound the buildings around the granite rock. The abbey church situated at the top of the Mont, lies on crypts which create an 80 metre long platform.
The "Merveille" (marvel) building is often referred to as the emblem of the abbey's architecture. It again demonstrates the expertise of builders in the 13th century as they successfully constructed two 3-floor buildings against the rock.
The structures become lighter and lighter as they near the tip. It is faith, art, culture and architecture which have made the Mont Saint Michel a masterpiece from the Middle Ages in the West.