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The Ultimate History & Culture of Saint Mont Michel

by Foodie

This Post is a Collection of Public Information, Facts and Popular Travel Video Guides (from Wiki & Youtube) about Saint Mont Michel on Best Things to Do there, Top Landmarks & Sights of Historical Significance, Culture & Tradition so as to Find all Information in One Place

Public Facts and Information about Saint Mont Michel

Saint Mont Michel is a tidal island and mainland commune in Normandy, France.The commune’s position on an island just a few hundred metres from land, made it accessible at low tide to the many pilgrims to its abbey, but defensible as an incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned would-be assailants. The island remained unconquered during the Hundred Years’ War; a small garrison fended off a full attack by the English in 1433.

Louis XI recognised the reverse benefits of its natural defence and turned it into a prison. The abbey was used regularly as a prison during the Ancient Regime. Mont-Saint-Michel and its surrounding bay were inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979 for its unique aesthetic and importance as a Medieval Christian Site. It was listed with criteria such as cultural, historical, and architectural significance, as well as human-created and natural beauty. It is visited by more than 3 million people each year.

Over 60 buildings within the commune are protected in France as Monuments Historiques.

Learn How to Arrive in Saint Mont Michel from Paris or Nantes

Saint Mont Michel Travel Video Guide 1 by Awkward Tourists

While on our French Roadtrip, We discovered that we were only a few hours drive from Mont saint Michel. This french monastery dates back to the 8th century and Is one fo the most beautiful places in France. In this video we will tell you What you need to know before visiting Mont St. Michel. This is one of best things to do in normandy France and should not be missed!

– The Awkward Tourists

Learn About Saint Mont Michel and Things to Know before You Visit There, in this Travel Video Guide by the Awkward Tourists

Mont Saint Michel

Economy of The Mont Saint Michel

The Mont Saint Michel has long “belonged” to some families who shared the businesses in the town and succeeded to the village administration. Tourism is almost the sole source of income of the commune. Tourism brings about $63 million to the small island. There are about 50 shops for three million tourists. Only about 25 people sleep every night on the Mount (monks included), except for those in hotels.

Public Facts & Information about The Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey

  • The Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey is an abbey located within the city and island of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, in the department of Manche. The abbey is an essential part of the structural composition of the town the feudal society constructed. On top, God, the abbey, and monastery; below this, the Great halls, then stores and housing, and at the bottom (outside the walls), fishermen’s and farmers’ housing.
  • The abbey started to be used more regularly as a jail during the Ancien Régime, becoming a state jail during Louis XI’s reign during 11th Century. Mont Saint Michel’s popularity and prestige as a center of pilgrimage waned with the Reformation, and by the time of the French Revolution there were scarcely any monks in residence. The abbey was closed in 1791 and converted into a prison, initially to hold clerical opponents of the republican regime (up to 300 priests at one point). The abbey was then nicknamed “bastille des mers” (Bastille of the sea)

Saint Mont Michel Travel Video Guide 2 by Expoza Travel

An eighty metre high mound of granite in Normandy, Le Mont-Saint-Michel, with its historic buildings is like something from a fairy tale. Powerful fortifications surround both the small town and the abbey at top of the rock, remnants of Mont-Saint-Michel’s dramatic past. The three-storey monastery in the northern section, La Merveille, is one of the finest examples of French Late Gothic design. In the middle of the 10th century Benedictine monks from Saint Wandrille took over this mountain pilgrimage that soon developed into an important pilgrimage destination. During the Hundred Years’ War between England and France the monastery increasingly grew to resemble a fortress and the historic development of the town is exhibited in numerous museums. The repairs, extensions and decoration of the Benedictine took several hundred years thus creating a unique monument to the history of French construction that united various talented artists and architects of various epochs.

– Expoza Travel

Capture the Stunning View & Historical Background of Saint Mont Michel in this Travel Video Guide by The Expoza Travel

Saint Michel Travel Video Guide

Becoming World Heritage Site in 1979

The abbey has been protected as a French Monument Historique since 1862. Since 1979, the site as a whole i.e., the Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay has been a UNESCO world heritage site and is managed by the Centre des monuments nationaux. With more than 1.335 million visitors in 2010, the abbey is among the most visited cultural sites in France

Learn about The Secrets of Mont Saint Michel in this Travel Video Guide by Intrigued Mind

The Secrets of Mont St. Michel

Historical Background about Mont-Saint-Michel

Used as Armorican Stronghold of Gallo Roman Culture and Power

  • It was used in the sixth and seventh centuries as an Armorican stronghold of Gallo-Roman culture and power until it was ransacked by the Franks, thus ending the trans-channel culture that had stood since the departure of the Romans in 460.
  • From roughly the fifth to the eighth century, Mont-Saint-Michel belonged to the territory of Neustria and, in the early ninth century, was an important place in the marches of Neustria.

Strategic Significance in 933

  • The mount gained strategic significance again in 933 when William I Longsword annexed the Cotentin Peninsula from the weakened Duchy of Brittany. This made the mount definitively part of Normandy, and is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, which commemorates the 1066 Norman conquest of England.
  • Harold Godwinson is pictured on the tapestry rescuing two Norman knights from the quicksand in the tidal flats during a battle with Conan II, Duke of Brittany. Norman ducal patronage financed the spectacular Norman architecture of the abbey in subsequent centuries.

Status During 100 Years’ War

  • During the Hundred Years’ War, the Kingdom of England made repeated assaults on the island but was unable to seize it due to the abbey’s improved fortifications.
  • The English initially besieged the Mont in 1423–24, and then again in 1433–34 with English forces under the command of Thomas de Scales, 7th Baron Scales.
  • Two wrought-iron bombards that Scales abandoned when he gave up his siege are still on site. They are known as les Michelettes. Mont-Saint-Michel’s resolute resistance inspired the French, especially Joan of Arc.

Louis XI Finds the Order of Saint Michael in 1469

  • When Louis XI of France founded the Order of Saint Michael in 1469, he intended that the abbey church of Mont-Saint-Michel become the chapel for the order, but because of its great distance from Paris, his intention could never be realized.
  • The wealth and influence of the abbey extended to many daughter foundations, including St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. However, its popularity and prestige as a centre of pilgrimage waned with the Reformation, and by the time of the French Revolution there were scarcely any monks in residence.

Conversion of Abbey to a Prison

  • The abbey was closed and converted into a prison, initially to hold clerical opponents of the republican regime.
  • High-profile political prisoners followed, but by 1836, influential figures including Victor Hugo had launched a campaign to restore what was seen as a national architectural treasure. The prison was finally closed in 1863.

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