Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mont Saint-Michel

For purely sentimental reasons.

You see, I have no castle that I am particularly fond of to do for my first, official post. So, I will do Mont Saint-Michel, as it was the subject of the first blog post that I ever did on my other blog.

The odd thing is, Mont Saint-Michel is not even a castle. Really, it is a commune. (A sort of a city in France, basically just a small community.) So I guess that is might pass as a citadel.

As with most historic structures, Mont Saint-Michel (Saint Michael's Mount.) was built slowly over a several generations, but the first bit of it was built in 709 by Aubert of Avranches, or, St. Aubert, Bishop of Avranches. This fact as very often accompanied by this tradition: The Archangel Michael came to Aubert and told him to build a shrine on the islet, "Mount Tombe." Aubert refused, was told again and refused again. This went on till Michael burned a hole in Aubert's head, with his finger. Then Aubert built it. A strange story, I know, but it is their tradition, and it seemed necessary to me to add it.

And before this, in the sixth and seventh centuries, the Romano-British occupied the island. For Island it is, as I mentioned, a little over half a mile of the coast of France, in Normandy, in the English Chanel.

In 1017, monastery, was built and a village grew at the base of The Mont. Both the Abby and the town were, and are, I should say, fortified. The abbey, and I suppose the village likewise, was, or, are, built with stones brought at low tide from the mainland coast. All during the 100 Years War The Mont was never captured, I think that is rather impressive.

My other blog post had many links to good websites about Mont Saint-Michel, but I think that this one is the best, , the history of the place is most interesting, I am just not overly good at giving an account of that sort of thing.

I love the design, the shape, the architecture, the layout of Mont Saint-Michel. I find everything about it so very cool: a monastery on the very top of a pyramid-shaped island, a beautiful stone village on the sides, a great wall all around them and for a moat, the ocean.


Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity to see this place once. I was within a very few miles of it staying in a hostel, planning to see it the next day. But as such choices go when dealing with the railway in France, I had to catch a train first thing in the morning if I wanted to get to Ireland. Which I did. I might have changed my mind if I had seen your post first.


Anonymous said...

I think it's a cool place, too. It was used in the Anthony Andrews version of *The Scarlet Pimpernel,* only it was called "Mont Saint-Pierre."

~ A.K. ~

Julie said...

Thank you, M, I'll take that as a lovely complement! I'm sorry you missed it though. :( If I ever get to go to France, which I would really like to, I will definitely make sure that I get to see it! (I don't have any plans to visit Ireland.)

And thank you, ~A.K.~! I didn't know that it was in that movie! Kae and I want to watch it again, so we will keep an eye out for it!

The Night Writer said...

Truly a beautiful place. Odd, but it rather reminds me of Peter Jackson's depection of Tolkien's City of Minas Tirith. XD

My word, lasted throughout the Hundred Years' War did it? Impressive. Extremely so.

Julie said...

Thank you, Night Writer!

It's amazing that you should say that, because, in fact, the fellow who made the art work and the miniature for Minas Tirith, actually based it on Mont Saint-Michel.

And yes: VERY impressive.