"Wonder of the West", the Mont Saint-Michel stands at the heart of an immense bay invaded by the highest tides in Europe.
It was at the request of Michael the Archangel, "head of the heavenly armies" that Saint Aubert, bishop of Avranches, built and consacrated a first church on 16th October 709. In 966, at the request of the Duke of Normandy, a community of Benedictines established themselves on the rock. For eight centuries, they did not stop building, enlarging, improving their Abbey to such a point that in the 13th century it was given the name "Wonder".
An architectural masterpiece: it enables XXth century man to meditate in the pre-Romanesque crypt, to admire the power and majesty of Romanesque art, to let himself be captivated by the beauty of the Gothic parts.
Together with Rome and Saint James of Compostella, this major spiritual and intellectual centre was one of the most important pilgrimages of the medieval West. For almost one thousand years, men, women and children have come, on routes called "roads to Paradise", to seek the assurance of eternity from the Archangel of judgement, weigher of souls.
Becoming a prison in the time of the Revolution and of the Empire, the condition of the Abbey required significant restoration works from the end of the XIXth century. The celebration of the monastic millenium in 1966 preceded the establishing of a religious community in the former abbey dwelling, perpetuating the main vocation of this place: PRAYER and WELCOME.
Along with the development of the Abbey, a village existed and prospered at the foot of its walls. Built into the south-east side of the rock, it has always had a strong trade with restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops.
Registered on UNESCO’s "World Heritage" list, nowadays this popular tourist spot has more than three million visitors a year.