UNESCO World Heritage Site #297 – Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

Posted: May 22, 2015    Categories: World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Site #297 - Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

UNESCO World Heritage Site #297 – Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

From the World Heritage inscription:

Perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Normandy and Brittany stand the ‘Wonder of the West’, a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael, and the village that grew up in the shadow of its great walls. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the abbey is a technical and artistic tour de force, having had to adapt to the problems posed by this unique natural site.

There are some sites, like my previous visit to Le Havre, where you are are left scratching your head as to why it was declared a world heritage site. There are others, however, which are so monumental and stunning that there is no doubt in your mind why.

Mont Saint Michel is one of those type of world heritage sites.

I’ve been wanting to visit Mont Saint Michel for years, having seen many photos and videos of it. It didn’t disappoint.

Mont Saint Michel was, for the middle ages, an unconquerable fortress. Putting aside its walls and fortifications, it is located in a shallow bay with some of the highest tides in Europe. Traditionally there was only one road which connected it to the mainland, and that was covered with water at high tide. The tides insure that any attacker would be alternatively stuck in mud or covered in water every six hours. Given that sieges often lasted weeks or months, no one ever bothered with Mont Saint Michel.