The medieval village of Mont Saint Michel has a rich and interesting history that dates back to 708 when the Archangel Michael appeared to Saint-Aubert, the Bishop of Avranches. His request was that the Bishop build a sanctuary in his name. The first church was built in 966, by a group of Benedictine Monks. Construction continued and the village grew as the first pilgrims arrived to worship. The history is amazing, you can read about it here. Today, the village is still a huge attraction for visitors from around the globe, and draws thousands of tourists every year.
When you first get a glimpse of this tidal rock and village, towering hundreds for feet in the air, it will take your breath away. We visited just a few days ago, on a cold, windy March day. Due to the weather, and the fear of the Coronavirus, the place was pretty much deserted. In addition, admission is free on the first day on the month between November and March. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as you will do a lot of walking to get to the top.
Just after entering, you will see some stairs to the right leading to the Ramparts. These include seven towers and a walkway. Be sure to take a look around here.
Next, you’ll wander through the village which has many shops, restaurants and a few museums. Normally, these streets are wall to wall with visitors.
The abbey is one of the largest abbeys I have seen, and is still in use today. As we entered, the priests and nuns were preparing for a service. The Archangel Michael sits at the top, keeping watch.
The gardens are a lovely place to wander, even in the cold weather.
Needless to say, the view from the top is amazing.
If you don’t mind crowds, then visit in the warm weather; however, I do recommend arriving early in the morning, before the crowds intensify.
There are many hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area. We stayed at La Bastide du Moulin. This B&B is just a few minutes from Mont Saint Michel and the owner is absolutely delightful. She speaks English which is a plus.
Have you visited Mont Saint Michel? If so, please leave a comment with your recommendations.
Wishing you grand adventures!