Mont Saint Michel – Visit the ultimate medieval island town

Mont St Michel

Mont Saint-Michel is an island a 0,6 miles away from the northwestern coast of France. It covers 247 acres and has a population around 50.

The town draws its name from the monastery located at the top of the island.

Its construction is a perfect example of a feudal society that God is above all things, then the monastery, the great halls, stores, and at the bottom, outside the walls there are houses for the fishermen and their families.

The island remained undefeated for many years, even when the English attacked in 1433. It’s fast and fickle tides protecting it from the enemies of the past. This island was also a notorious prison during the French Revolution.

Mont Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint- Michel is of France’s most recognizable landmarks and is visited by more than 4 million tourists each year.

Many of the island’s buildings are protected by the laws and treated as historical monuments. This rocky island was a part of a dry land in prehistoric time.

With the strong tides and land erosion, part of the coast started dividing and creating small islands. The island consists of leucogranite that was created by magma underground eruption 525 million years ago. Mont Saint-Michel’s tides vary around 15 meters between low and high tide.

Mont Saint -Michel
Mont Saint -Michel

Occasional floods created salt meadows considered as a perfect place for grazing sheep. Because of this diet, the meat is treated as very special and is one of the most desirable meals for the visitors of the island.

In the past, the connection between the mainland and the island was a causeway that was only usable at low tide. Today Mont Saint-Michel is connected to the coast of France by a light bridge that allows the water to flow beneath.

The island’s history is very rich and full of interesting facts. According to the legend, the bishop of Avranches was advised by the saint archangel Michael to build a church on the rocky island.

Inside the walls
Inside the walls

In 867 the king of Franks wasn’t able to defend the kingdom from a Viking attack, so he agreed to grant a part of his land including Mont Saint-Michel.

The Mont was never really a part of Brittany and remained independent from the newly created Breton archbishop. In 993 the island gains its final liberty, separates from Brittany and becomes a part of Normandy.

During the Hundred Years War, the island was attacked by England many times but never conquered.

In the years of the French Revolution, the island was a prison for influential prisoners and opponents of the political regime. The prison was closed in 1863. Since 1979 the Mont is under UNESCO protection.

The cloister
The cloister

Mont Saint-Michel is a place with incredible natural and man-made beauty. It’s a great tourist attraction and doesn’t  look like anything else in the world. Don’t forget to add it to your must-visit list.

If you have any comments then please drop us a message on our Outdoor Revival Facebook page

If you have a good story to tell or blog let us know about it on our FB page, we’re also happy for article or review submissions, we’d love to hear from you.


stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival