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Le Mont St Michel | by kate053
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Le Mont St Michel

In 708, a dream led Saint Aubert, the bishop of Avranches, to create a shrine to Saint Michael at this site. Mont Saint-Michel then became one of the major pilgrimage destinations in medieval Christendom

In 966, the Duke of Normandy entrusted the sanctuary to the care of the Benedictines of Saint Wandrille. The monks built a magnificent abbey which the Middle Ages considered as the image of the Heavenly Jerusalem on earth. In the 11th and 12th centuries, they constructed a Romanesque monastery with the church on the top of the hill. A part of this abbey burned down in 1204. It was replaced by the famous "bâtiment de la Merveille", a building constructed north of the church in a few years’ time that includes halls for the pilgrims and rooms strictly reserved to the monks (scriptorium, refectory). Then from the middle of the 13th century to the beginning of the 16th century, the monks completed the ring around the church on the east and south by constructing the abbot’s residence and buildings to house the abbey’s legal and administrative services. During the Hundred Years’ War, the village at the foot of the abbey was surrounded by massive ramparts.

The heroic resistance of Mont Saint-Michel to the English made the abbey a national symbol. The choir of the church, which collapsed in 1421, was replaced in peacetime by a Flamboyant Gothic structure. The abbey is thus an exceptional example of the full range of medieval architecture.


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Taken on December 20, 2008