World Heritage #0080 – Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

Aug 8, 1991France, North and Central Europe, World Heritage Sites

There are many monasteries located on remote hilltops, but few as large and iconic as this one.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.


Official facts

Country: France

Date of Inscription: 1979

Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 80:

Perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Normandy and Brittany stand the ‘Wonder of the West’, a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael, and the village that grew up in the shadow of its great walls. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the abbey is a technical and artistic tour de force, having had to adapt to the problems posed by this unique natural site.”


My visit

I write this in the article from my 1991 trip:

“Mont St. Michel, which originally was a monastery, then a prison and now a touristic site, is a town on a cliff in the sea. A causeway leads from the shore to the island. At high tide there is water all around the cliff, but the low tide we encountered leaves endless sandy beaches to be seen.

A fantastic place. It is all too bad that we’re not here in a different season, at full moon or so, when the tide rises by 2 metres a second.”

Read more about my visit. 

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