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The Ridiculous Beauty Of Mont Saint-Michel

by Tony · 13 comments

Mont Saint-MichelHere is where you and I have a problem.

I have been on the road now for over three months and for the past month you KNEW that I was going to Normandy… yet you never once mentioned the ridiculousness of Mont Saint-Michel.

But when I tell you that I decided, on my own, to go there? You are all: “Of course you have to go to there. It is unbelievable. So cool. A definite must-see.”

Thanks. So glad you told me when I was planning my trip. I easily could have missed it!

Since none of you gave me the heads up in advance, let me save others from potentially missing one of THE coolest sites to see in Europe by giving them the full details on this place.

The Mystique of Mont Saint-Michel

Legend has it that the Archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert, the bishop of Auvranches, in 708 AD and repeatedly told him to build a monastery on the rocky outcrop in the tidal flat. Not one for being ignored, the Archangel Michael burnt a hole right through his skull with only his finger…

And that is how St. Aubert became considered so holy! Boom… ROASTED!

Part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, Mont Saint-Michel was originally established in the 8th century as a Monastery. Besides being exactly what you imagine an ancient  monastic castle to look like, it is built on a rocky tidal island that is surrounded by sand at low tide.

Low tide at Mont Saint-Michel

But be careful! This place redefines the meaning of high tide as the incoming tide has been described as a flood of water with the difference between low and high tide being as great as 14 meters (46 feet)!

Why You MUST Check Out Mont Saint-Michel

  • Iconic – There are tons of cool castles and monastery’s in Europe, but none that are as visually staggering as this. Most cathedrals in Europe have had cities rise up around them, which leads to not such great views. Being built in a tidal flat has its perks, and Mont Saint-Michel takes full advantage.
  • Easy To Get To – If you are in Normandy, it is probably no more than a 2 hour drive… at most. Located only 2 hours from the D-day beaches, you can do a couple days at some WWII sites and then make an easy day trip out of the monastery.
  • History Built Upon History – Considered strategically important by hundreds of years worth of rulers, the Monastery has passed through numerous hands and seen numerous wars. As you walk through the monastery, you will see large dining room built in the 14th century on top of living quarters from the 11th.
  • Easy Self-Tours – The inside of the monastery is easy to walk and numbered so that you can learn everything you want to know (and more) by paying a few dollars for the audio tour. Definitely get the audio tour.

I will let you off the hook if you honestly had never heard of Mont Saint-Michel… but from everyone raving about it after I told them I was going,  it sure is hard to believe that there are any of you who hadn’t. But if you really have never been, then I hope you trust me when I say that you must go.

Still not convinced? Just check out all of these UNREAL pictures.

About Tony
Quit his job to try actually following his dreams for once... and is currently loving it. He is working hard to to make this life-style permanent by writing about his adventures and brainstorming money making opportunities with his partner-in-crime, Meg.

Megan April 20, 2012 at 8:12 am

i have never even seen a photo of this or heard of it?! where have i been!? this looks like such a sight to see!!!

hope yall are enjoying the conference!

Tony April 24, 2012 at 2:24 am

So glad I wasn’t the only one! People are still telling me how amazing it was and how much they loved it… I would have been so disappointed if I had missed it. Definitely a must to check out!

Arnie Jacobsen March 25, 2015 at 11:49 am

I guess having lived in Normandy from third to ninth grade, and having taken school field trips there, I some how thought that everybody knew about Mont St Michel. You can call me jaded. Or…. unaware. Ah well, it is an amazing place, and in case you’re interested, or your readers, here is a link to my post on our visit. Not really sure if your commenting system accepts html, but here goes: Mont St Michel Abbey.

Tony March 25, 2015 at 11:56 am

If I had to guess, only about 20% of people I tell about it have ever heard of it. Not sure why it’s not more well known! Although with the recent high tide there, I think everyone has seen it on the news :)

Thanks for sharing, Arnie!


Barb April 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I never heard of it either! Guess I’ll have to add this to the list of things to see and do when I get to Europe again. Thanks for sharing.

Tony April 24, 2012 at 2:25 am

Its a definite, Barb! You only need to spend a couple of hours too so you can still see a lot of the other great sights that Normandy has to offer.

Bethany ~ twoOregonians April 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Dude, I’m so glad you guys went! I Normandy with my mom and friend just before high school graduation. Somehow my mom put Mont St. Michel on our itinerary, but before then, I’d never heard of it either. Some of my favorite travel pictures of all time are from that (pre-digital camera) visit : )

Bethany ~ twoOregonians April 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm


(Lest you think “I Normandy” is my new saying.)

Tony April 24, 2012 at 2:26 am

So glad you corrected this… thought you were trying to go “super-portland” on me and drop some hipster slang.

I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about this before we went! So glad I saw it though… how did anyone build this 1000 years ago?

Arnie Jacobsen March 25, 2015 at 11:50 am

Thought you were trying to copy IAmsterdam.

JR April 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm

WOW, I have heard of it but I never realizec the beauty or where it actually was. Add to my list. Thanks you two.

Tony April 24, 2012 at 2:27 am

Definitely add it to the list… especially if you want to see the D-day beaches anyway. Only 2 hours away so make a detour for one day and make sure to go.

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