The Ramparts, Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint Michel is a place where you can't resist looking up all the time. Everything is so high and the walls with their ramparts atop are monstrous wherever you turn.
How has a complex as monstrous as this stood the test of time? Your guess is as good as mine. Jolly fine engineering genius, I would think.
The yellow pigmentation on all the high stone walls are a certain indication of age and great quantities of salty sea air, I would think.
Rampards are the paths on top of fortification walls and Le Mont Saint Michel has many of them. It's actually almost possible to completely walk around the rocky islands bases on these rampards, which is a recommended walk from my side. From here you constantly look up over the roofs of the village towards the walls of the abbey. On the other side the always changing view over the bay of Mont Saint Michel. when the tides role in, it's even hard to get a spot along the rampards walls to watch this natural phenomena. At the end of the rampards one arrives at the "Grand Stairs", that will lead you streight into the abbey.
Directions: First access to the rampards is immediately left up the stairs from the entrance gate square.
There are walkways all over the mont. The main street is the only one with shops, but the other alleys and stairs are all open to visitors. It was so fun to follow them to find out where they led. I think in the end we found them all and then we found the shortcuts as well. There is a small park on the land side of the mont that was quiet and away from the crowds that I especially liked.
The Mont was used to imprison enemies of the crown until Emperor Napoleon III shut it down in 1863. In 1922 the monastery church was again a place of worship and monks have lived and worked on the Mont since then.
Mont-Saint-Michel has managed to withstand various battles - attacked during the Hundred Years War 1337-1453 and during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II.