Visitors' Reviews
Normandy Gite Reviews

Mont St Michel

Panorama of Mont St Michel

Mont Saint Michel is one of the most famous tourist sites in the World - consequently it becomes very busy in the peak tourism periods. The best advice if you plan a visit is to get there early! The area has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The history of the site has been traced back to the early post-Roman period, when it was used as a trading post at the French end of the ancient link between Brittany and Cornwall. Mont St Michel lies at the mouth of the river which marks the boundary between Normandy and Brittany - the Bretons insist that the island only lies in Normandy because the river has changed its course over the centuries. Whatever the truth of its location, the site was taken by the Normans when they annexed the Cotentin Peninsula in the 900's.

The first monastic building on the site pre-dates the arrival of the Normans by just over 200 years. The main construction, of which much is still visible today, took place after the seizure of the site by the Normans and was designed by the Italian architect William de Volpiano. The buildings were extended and reinforced, particularly in the late Normal period at the end of the 12th century.

The tides around the Mount are infamous, having been described as exceeding the pace of a galloping horse. In reality, the tides advance and retreat at about 1m per minute. Visitors are strongly recommended to use the causeway rather than making their own way across the tidal sands.

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