The Abbey, Mont Saint Michel

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  • the wonderful stained glass in the abbey
    the wonderful stained glass in the abbey
    by gwened
  • the mont Saint Michel majestic
    the mont Saint Michel majestic
    by gwened
  • the abbey architecture is impressive
    the abbey architecture is impressive
    by gwened
  • gwened's Profile Photo

    The wonders of the abbey

    by gwened Updated May 7, 2014

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    the mont Saint Michel majestic
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    a wonderful building just into an island rock withstood the wrath of the ocean for centuries and still there magical, biblical, sublime, a must to see in your lifetime.

    I have not been back here in a while, and just came in passing by, after knowing all the changes to come in 2015 decided to take a quick peek and post some photos. Definitively a must to come back with the family.

    You have the tourist office link below, and here is the national monuments of France site in English with more info on a magical architectural marvel
    http://mont-saint-michel.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Don't miss the Abbey

    by Beausoleil Written Jul 31, 2013
    The very top
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    The abbey is open every day except the 1st of January, the 1st of May and the 25th of December and is one of the National Monuments of France. You do have to pay entrance but it is absolutely worth it. We took the guided tour the first time we went and were glad we did. You get a lot of information and notice things you might not if you were self-guided. Since then, we just go and enjoy it with the brochure.

    While you wait for the tour (and if you want an English tour, you may have to wait), the views surrounding the Abbey church are incredible. It is worth the entrance fee just to see the surrounding views.

    Lots of information at the National Monument web site. [Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel Web Site

    It is a church and they do have Mass. You are welcome to attend but if you are sightseeing during Mass, you are asked not to take photographs. You can use your camera freely everyplace except the place where the actual service is taking place. You can also return for photos after the service is over.

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    The saint after which the Mont is named

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 12, 2012

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    As they say in the classics, St Michael (St Michel) and I "have history".

    I went to St Michael's Convent Grammar School for Girls - an anachronistic North London establishment that could so easily have been the prototype for Muriel Sparks' classic novel , "The Pride of Miss Jean Brody". It was a government (non feepaying) school, but affiliated to a particular religion and admitted only children who had passed the 11 Plus exam ... even at that time, it was an odd fish.

    We were a girls only school further set apart from our peers by a purple school uniform ("The Imperial Colour" as I was informed in all seriousness when I started in 1974) whose school outfitter was the exclusive Dickens & Jones department store in Regent Street: I just thank my lucky stars for the fact that I missed the regulation school hat by a couple of years! On September 29th, we had a half day off in celebration of our patron saint's day, better known in the old church calender as Michelmas. Hell, over quarter of a century later, I am still word perfect in my (tuneless) rendition of our school anthem, "Dux Michael" ("Our Leader Michael") in Latin ... yes, well, it was that sort of school, and my capacity to retain the utterly useless decades later still astounds me ...

    St Michael is an interesting saint, as (along with Gabriel) he wasn't a real person. He is an archangel (essentially God's 'A Team') and nemesis of the fallen archangel, Lucifer. He is big into dragon slaying - which is usually how he is depicted - but unlike St George, this is symbolic of the fight over good and evil. Under the statue you will see his motto: "Quis ut es Deus?" ("Who is as God?")

    Why should he be the namesake of island monasteries in both Cornwall and Bretagne? This bit I have yet to work out, but he certainly seems to have cornered the market on location!

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    THE ABBEY CHURCH

    by balhannah Updated Aug 29, 2011

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    Abbey Church

    The Abbey Church built in the early years 0f 1000, is located right on top of the rock, 80 metres above sea level, on a platform 80metres long.
    Inside are Arches, Galleries and tall windows. The Romanesque chancel which collapsed in 1421, was rebuilt after the 100years war in a gothic style.
    It is quite plain, I was expecting more.

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    The Abbey

    by Tom_Fields Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Looking up at the abbey
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    For centuries, pilgrims travelled here from all over Europe to visit this medieval abbey. Today, it's a museum as well as a church. Like Durham Cathedral in England, it stands on a natural strong point and it part church and part fortress. It also has a fascinating interior, with exhibits on its long history. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    The abbey court of Le Mont Saint Michel

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    A view on the green oasis of Mont Saint Michel
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    One of the wonders on the island of Le Mont Saint Michel is the actual sanctuary, the abbey of Saint Michel. High on top of the rocks, this abbey has been lifted higher throughout the centuries, until it has become the magnificent stories high building that one sees today. The crown on this jewel is - for me at least - the courtyard within the abbey. This green aosis within the rocky island that is completely filled with buildings, breaths a true heavenly spirituality. It must have been here that the monchs (that actually still live here too) were closest to God. The trance that surrounds the courtyard is a graceful adding to the small garden, and from some windows on the other side of this trance, one enjoys a breathtaking view over the bay of Mont Saint Michel.

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  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Take a guided tour through the abbey's labyrinth

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The hall of pillars within the abbey Saint Michel
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    The abbey can be best explored on a guided tour. The huge construction, that has been expanded in height throughout the centuries (on the small rocky island there was no other option then go up into the sky), has left a true labyrinth of corridors, staircases and tunnels, that connect magnificent halls, decorative rooms and many other spaces with wonderful or dreadful stories. The guide will tell you all details and backgrounds on the various rooms and halls, as well as a perfect overview of the history of Le Mont Saint Michel. Don't worry, almost all (usual) languages are available (French, English, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Russian).

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  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    An abbey as well as a castle

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Towers, walls and fortification all around Le Mont
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    When you walk around Le Mont Saint Michel, you will notice that this actually looks more like a castle then it looked like an abbey. This is very true as Le Mont Saint Michel was indeed a extremely fortified island, to prevent loothing in this extreme turbulent times in an even more turbulent environment. Normandie was for a very long time the place where the borders between England and France shifted. As Le Mont Saint Michel was from the beginning more willing towards the French, one could imagine that the English would have not been mild when the rock would fall in their hands. However, even though this was attempted several times, Le Mont Saint Michel always stood strong to invasions, thanks to it's magnificent position and the strong fortifications that surrounded the island. Twice a day for several hours, the island became invinsible, as the tides rushed in and washed besieging enemies away.

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Abbaye du Mont St-Michel

    by sue_stone Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Abbaye du Mont St-Michel
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    The main attraction on Mont St-Michel is the Gothic Abbey, perched on the top of the island. Of the 3.5 million people that visit the island each year, only about 1 million of them actually pay a visit to the Abbey. I wonder if it has something to do with the very steep climb required to get up to the Abbey?!

    The Abbey was built from the 13th to 16th centuries. A visit to the Abbey in June 2006 cost us 8 euro. This price allows you access to wander through the Abbey at your leisure. You can also join a guided tour at no extra charge, or hire an audio guide for another few euro.

    We opted for the guided tour (in English). It was quite interesting, though our tour guide spent a lot more time talking about himself and his time living in England than explaining about the Abbey!

    The tour starts at the Abbey Church, which sits right on the summit of the island, and is constructed from a mix of architectural styles due to parts of the building collapsing over the years. It also covers the cloister, a pretty garden area for contemplation, the refectory and a Gothic guest hall, amongst other things.

    Although the setting is fabulous, the inside of the Abbey wasn't as impressive as I expected, though I still think it is well worth a visit.

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  • Toshioohsako's Profile Photo

    The Abbey

    by Toshioohsako Updated Sep 5, 2010

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    The Abbey of Mont Saint Michel is solemn and dignified. Its one of the most beautiful and significant abbey in France.
    One must climb up here to see it, otherwise your dream to visit MSM is less than a half-fulfilled. Besides, it here at the highest level of MSM where the Abbey is, which gives a panoramic view of the vast sand-covered off-tidal period of the sea "desert" around MSM.

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  • vinc_bilb's Profile Photo

    3. the Abbey of Mont Saint - the Marvel

    by vinc_bilb Updated Sep 9, 2009

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    The cloister
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    A unique plan
    The abbey is a unique monument, built on 3 floors, constrained by the pyramidal shape of the rock. The abbey church (80m long) is situated at the top, stands on crypts that create the suitable platform.
    The abbey know as the "merveille"is a jewel evidence of the architectural mastery of its builders who succeeded in stacking two blocks of 3-sorey buildings on a rocky slope (but the roman chapel collapsed in 1421 and was rebuilt after).
    The structure become lighter toward the top, supported by the platform itself and by robust pillars, mixing several styles (Roman, flamboyant gothic, ...)

    My top list
    Upper floor: The abbey church, the cloister, the refectory
    Middle floor: The guest's hall

    Notre Dame sous Terre (Our Lady underground)
    The original spirtual center of the Mont (for Christians)
    The chapel, built around 966, was hidden within the abbey's foundations and rediscovered in the late XIXth century. This church was erectedat the very place of the oratory erected by Saint-Aubert in the early VIIIth century.
    Visiting the church is could be received as an emotionnal step back in the vestiges of Saint-Aubert's sanctuary

    Warning: Notre Dame sous terre visit requires a guided tour

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  • codrutz's Profile Photo

    Abbey of Mont Saint Michel

    by codrutz Written Sep 30, 2008

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    The heart of Mont Saint Michel is the abbey that tops the big rock. The abbey is very interesting inside - large columns, old style rooms, a nice large nave - as well as the terrace with the view it has.

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  • black_mimi99's Profile Photo

    The Corner of the Abbey

    by black_mimi99 Updated Jan 13, 2008

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    a corner or the abbey - mi's

    Walk around this abbey a must thing to do, cos it will make you always amaze that Mont Saint-Michel was built on a strong rock that measures 84 meters high. It is pure granite and is so hard that it has resisted the passage of time.
    The church is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.

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  • Take a FREE Guided Tour of the Abbey - Not to Miss

    by laurenkjones Written Jan 10, 2008

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    If you arrive by bus in the morning, make sure to get to the entrace of the abbey by 11:00 for 1 of 2 Guided Tours in English, the other is at 3:00. The tour is free with your entrance fee (8.50 Euro). The other option is an audio guide. Without one of these 2 things you are basically looking at big empty rooms saying, "Wow this is neat". The signs on the wall which explain the purpose of each room are in french. The English tour lasts about 1 hour and we enjoyed sticking with the group and listening to the explaination and then coming back for a 2nd pass to take our pictures and maybe take a few without tons of people standing in them. There is another tour that is in French which I was told was longer than the english and allowed you to see some rooms that were not open for the regular tour. If your French is halfway good and you want to see a little more, give it a try. Your entrance fee is good for 15 days, so you can come and go as you please throughout the day and if you happen to stay the night and miss the bus as we did (see dangers/ warnings) then you can use your ticket to enjoy a 2nd day of viewing.

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  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    The story of the stories in the abbey

    by Pavlik_NL Written Dec 6, 2007

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    Building up was the only solution for expansion
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    Through the ages, the legend of Le Mont Saint Michel spread over Europe and more and more pilgrims were attracted to it's doors. This ment business and fundings to expand the abbey roled in. On a small island it was of course impossible to expand around, therefore the abbey already soon was expanded upwards, becoming one of the first buildings with four to five stories on top of which a (church)tower crowned the complete abbey. The stories also became a mirror to society in those days. Then there were three classes, the clerces (religious class, such as priests, monchs, bishops, pastores etc.), nobility (including royalty) and the common people. These three classes also were in status at that order and the stories in the abbey simulated that closely. The upper floor, with it's courtyard, the abbey church, the rooms of prayer and diningroom of the momchs, was the closest to heaven. Under that floor came the royal hall, where nobility was welcomed and audiences were given by the king, duke, count or earls of that time. The lowest floors were the places where the common people (among which of course the mayority of the pilgrims), were welcomed to get their blessings and in better days even something to eat and drink, as well as a place to sleep.

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