Mont Saint Michel: the enchanted island

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In the middle of a bay, the medieval city of Mont Saint Michel surprises with its architecture and landscapes. It is the second tourist destination in France.

The second most visited tourist destination in France live less than 50 people. The rich architectural and natural beauty of this small island of less than 1,000 meters in circumference attention.

The city of Mont Saint Michel

Fotografía por ugo3ugo32001

Mont Saint Michel, is in the midst of a huge bay and surrounded by the biggest tides in Europe, is different from everything. Recognized as one of the most prestigious architecture of the Middle Ages and one of the most important centers of spirituality, is located in the region of Lower Normandy (on the border of Brittany), 360 km from Paris.

The unique silhouette of Mont Saint Michel, the abbey located at the top of the hill just 92 meters high, began to distinguish the distance from the road.

The ride is certainly particular: the road goes in a circle and, including restaurants, boutiques and museums are distinguished miles of sand and rivers that surround the mountain. Within minutes, the water only seen near the horizon began to rise and will only be possible to leave this place through a pathway that connects the mainland.

Before constructing this path, the small rocky island was completely isolated when the tide rose, why, in the Middle Ages, Mont Saint Michel was used as a prison.

Mont Saint Michel

Photography by r Allie_Caulfield

His story, full of myths and legends, is nourished by the mysteries that create quicksand surrounding the mountain, the mists that hide suddenly flash across the island and the tides that rise «at the speed of a galloping horse».

The walk through the place begins once you cross the walls of the citadel, where the labyrinthine streets begin to ascend. Then the traveler is immersed in a well preserved medieval world only notices the time shift when viewing digital cameras or clothing of some of the more than three million tourists who visit the site each year, which is striking compared with the only 41 people in it.

A few steps before the gates of the fort, a sign displaying the time of the tides. If you think go around the mountain, it is important to remember what time they begin to rise, since the three rivers that form the huge bay (Couesnon, Sélune and ESS) invade, isolate and transform parts of the ground into quicksand. Therefore, a good option is to hire a guided walk.

The colorful street Grand Rue, with shops, museums and houses of the fifteenth century, is the main artery leading to the attractive central: the Benedictine Abbey at the top of the hill. Built in 709 after an appearance that had Aubert, bishop of Avranches, the abbey began to receive in order priests who pray to the Archangel Michael.

Just 200 years later came the Benedictine monks, who expanded the building to a huge church that began to be visited by many pilgrims. During the Middle Ages would join the pilgrimage kings, princes and knights of the kingdoms of France and Europe.

In its origin, the abbey displayed a pre-Romanesque style, but went on to merge extended three styles (Romanesque, Gothic and Gothic style), which makes it one of the most admired by architects.

Before or after visiting the Abbey, you have to stop for a few minutes watching the spectacle of lightning-fast tides. The water at high speed on the hill around the miles of sand transformed into sea, the landscape changes dramatically, almost cinematic form.

Within hours, the water will start to retire and then be able to walk along the beach, where you get fantastic views of the mountains and the vastness that surrounds it.

The enchanted island of Mont Saint Michel

Photography by Ph. Grillot

A good option is to observe the tides from one of the bars of the mountain while enjoying a good Calvados, a variety of brandy made from apples, the most popular drink of Normandy.

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