Thursday, April 25, 2013

Way of Saint James: Mont Saint-Michel - Normandy, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Mont Saint-Michel
Normandy, France
Topics: Way of Saint James
Mont Saint-Michel

N 48° 38.100 W 001° 30.670

Quick Description: 

The starting point on the Way of Saint James through Brittany is the Monastery at Mont Saint-Michel.

Long Description:

The tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most iconic and visited places in France. It's narrow streets host over 3 million visitors a year. A 0.5 km causeway connects the island to the mainland. It can be reached by using a free shuttle bus which operated continuously during daylight hours. A bridge connecting the island to the mainland is under construction.

The 247 acre island rises 301 feet above the surrounding bay. It has been a strategic fortified outpost since ancient times. The 8th century Gothic-style Benedictine monastery dedicated to of Archangel Saint Michael occupies the upper reached of the island and can be reached by climbing approximately 300 steps. A small village is contained with the fortified walls at the base of the abbey.

In 933 William I, Duke of Normandy, annexed the Cotentin Peninsula, making the Mont part of Normandy. In 1067, the monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel supported William of Normandy's claim to the throne of England. As a result it was given properties and grounds on the English side of the Channel. During the Hundred Years' War, the fortified island successfully resisted repeated assaults English assaults on the island.

The symbol marking the way of Saint James can be found in the scallop designs appear throughout the Gothic windows in the Kings Chapel of the Benedictine Abbey atop Mont Saint-Michel.

Map of Way of Saint James Routes Through Brittany
Mont Saint-Michel and the surrounding area are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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