Manche Geography and Natural Beauty

World famous Mont St Michel, Manche, Normandy, France

Mont St Michel and its Bay

A World Heritage Site since 1979, Mont St Michel is situated 1km off the France’s north coast at the mouth of the River Couesnon, near Avranches.

The island is joined to the mainland by a causeway with a difference of 15 meters between low and high tide meaning that at certain times of the year the base of the Mount is completely covered by the sea.

Standing over 84m high and built on granite rock, this very popular tourist attraction receives about 3.5 million tourists and pilgrims each year.

The first chapel on this site was founded in 708 by the Bishop of Avranches after the Archangel Michael appeared to him in a dream.

The Abbey, known as “La Merveille” and fashioned from granite, was built between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries. It has a range of architectural styles from Norman to Gothic. The Abbey was a place of pilgrimage but has also served as a prison, a monastery and a fortress against the English.

 There is a steep walk to the priory with an abundance of magnificent views. The Abbey is open every day except 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. You can either explore by yourself or take a one hour guided tour.

It is possible to visit the Mont all year round and there is a small community living there which supports the tourism industry including craft shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels. The Tourist Office is situated at the entrance of this medieval town. For more information, telephone (00 33) 2 33 60 14 30. Parking is in a vast car park at the end of the causeway.

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