I had the chance 2 months ago to visit 2 magical places during a getaway weekend with my friends in France. We had reserved our hotel and rent a car online and so, on a Friday night, we were set for a 5 hours ride from Paris towards Mont Saint-Michel.
- Mont Saint-Michel was built in A.D. 708, when the bishop of Avranches heard the voice of Archangel Michael saying, “Build here and build high”.
- During the Hundred Years’ War, the English made repeated assaults on the island, but were unable to seize it due to the abbey’s improved fortifications. Les Michelettes – two wrought-iron bombards left by the English in their failed 1423–24 siege of Mont Saint-Michel – are still displayed near the outer defense wall.
- During the French Revolution, the abbey was closed and converted into a prison.
- In 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, and the mount was declared a historic monument in 1874.
- The Mont Saint-Michel and its bay were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979.
BUT the most AWESOME thing about Mont Saint-Michel is the TIDES!
Tides vary from day to day both in their timing and in height. You can check the full schedule here.
The visit of the Mount needs almost 3 hours but make sure to go 1 or 2 hours before tides timing. We spent Saturday at Saint-Malo, a 1-hour ride from Mont Saint-Michel, went back to see the tides at Saint-Michel on Saturday evening and then did the detailed visit of the Mount on Sunday morning before going back to Paris.
The Mount at night is just MAGICAL. Actually the whole place is. It should definitely be on your bucket list.
Before leaving Mont Saint-Michel, make sure to get some Mère Poulard biscuits and cookies!