5 Spectacular Views of Mont Saint-Michel

By Google Arts & Culture

The tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel lies around 0.6 miles off the Normandy Coast. Measuring just 97 hectares, and with a population of 33, Mont Saint-Michel has been an important religious site since the early 8th century when Bishop Aubert built a sanctuary to the Archangel on the rocky outcrop. 

1. View from the Couesnon River

This fantastic view of Mont Saint-Michel can be enjoyed from the mainland close to the island, on the banks of the Couesnon River. 

2. View from the approach

As you walk to the island, you’ll be able to enjoy several spectacular views of the hill and its buildings. The historic abbey was first constructed in the 10th century and is still home to two bodies of nuns and monks from the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem. Religious services are held every day of the week, allowing you to really experience the spiritual side of the island.

3. View from the water

Take a boat trip out into the bay to see Mont Saint-Michel from a different point of view. The island and its surrounding waters were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979 to mark their cultural, historic and architectural importance. 

Seeing Mont Saint-Michel from the sea will also give you a good idea of its impressive defensive position. The high walls and imposing abbey make it easy to see why the island was used as a prison during the French Revolution and a German lookout post during the Second World War. 

4. View inside the abbey

No visit to Mont Saint-Michel would be complete without a stop in the abbey itself. This important pilgrimage site attracts the faithful from across Europe, with 10 long-distance hiking trails created to enable pilgrims to walk to the site from different parts of the continent. 

While the best-known views of the island are enjoyed from afar, it’s well worth diving into the narrow streets and winding lanes of Mont Saint-Michel to get a real feel for the historic settlement. Most of the roads and footpaths on the island wind their way down from abbey to the beaches below. 

Les grèves du Mont Saint-Michel (1850/1890) by C. BoulangerDepartmental archives of the Manche

5. The artist's view

Over the years, Mont Saint-Michel has inspired countless artists, photographers and topographers. This view of the outcrop was painted by C. Boulanger in the second half of the 19th century. 

Mont-Saint-Michel (1868) by William Stanley Haseltinede Young museum

This beautiful impression of the mountain was made in 1868 by American painter and draftsman William Stanley Haseltine, an artist associated with the Dusseldorf School of painting and Luminism. 

By N R FarbmanLIFE Photo Collection

This stunning ariel shot of Mont Saint-Michel was taken by NR Farbman in 1952. The Polish-born American photographer spent much of his career working for Life Magazine and snapped some of the most famous people of his day during his long career. 

By N R FarbmanLIFE Photo Collection

Learn more about the history and cultural significance of Mont Saint-Michel here.

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