Surrounded by an immense bay, the Mount houses a religious sanctuary dating from the 8th century. Since then, the Abbey has evolved through time into a multi-storied, awe-inspiring edifice. During the Middle Ages, it was a major spiritual center attracting as many pilgrims as St Jacques of Compostella or even Rome.
To enter the fortified city you’ll pass through the Boulevard gate, then the King’s Gate to reach the “Grand Rue”: the main street of the village of Mont Saint Michel. This main artery is entrenched between two tall rows of houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. If you make a right turn just after going through the King’s gate you’ll climb to the ramparts which turn around the mount. If instead you continue straight ahead, you’ll pass by the St Pierre parish church, dedicated to the patron saint of fishermen. Le village also boasts four museums.
As you begin the climb to the Abbey having walked the length of the main street you’ll come to the granite staircase leading past the Guard room to the Grand Degré. This is the platform in front of the Abbey church and from here your leg muscles will be rewarded with a wonderful view of the bay.
Upon entering the Abbey, you’ll effectively ascend through time as you wander along the cloister, getting a feel for the monastic life by continuing through the refectory and the visitor’s hall. The tour takes you through several other rooms before leading to the north-south staircase which is the main pathway through the heart of the Abbey and which leads to the walking room. You’ll cross through the Knight’s hall and end up in the chaplaincy.
After such a trip through history you’ll want to have a bite to eat in one of the many restaurants on the mount. Afterwards you may enjoy a circular trip along the ramparts to enjoy the stunning views and explore numerous hidden architectural elements of this magnificent site.