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Five things you don't know about Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy's most famous city-island

Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal islet located on the northern coast of France, where the Couesnon River flows. It is the most visited tourist site in Normandy and one of the first in the whole of France, with about 3,200,000 visitors each year.

It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The particularity of this place lies in the fact that during high tide, Mont Saint-Michel becomes an island completely surrounded by water. However, during low tide, it can be accessed on foot via a bridge.

Having also become a very important place of worship over the centuries, with its Benedictine abbey dating back to the 10th century, there are many mysteries and legends surrounding one of the most unique and evocative places in the world

Five interesting facts about Mont Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal islet located on the northern coast of France, where the Couesnon River flows. It is the most visited tourist site in Normandy and one of the first in the whole of France, with around 3,200,000 visitors each year. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, the particularity of this place lies in the fact that during high tide, Mont Saint-Michel becomes an island surrounded by water. However, during low tide, the island can be accessed on foot via a bridge. Having also become a very important place of worship over the centuries, with its Benedictine abbey dating back to the 10th century, there are many mysteries and legends surrounding one of the most unique and evocative places in the world.
Di User:Fabos~commonswiki - Opera propria, Pubblico dominio, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.p
1 - The amplitude and speed of its tides.
What most characterises the bay of Mont Saint-Michel are undoubtedly its tides, which are in fact the largest in the world in terms of strength and length. In fact, these tides are capable of reaching a height of over 14 metres. These tides have been described as 'faster than a horse's gallop'.
Di Benh LIEU SONG - Opera propria, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=190948
2 - From its architecture we can learn the hierarchy of the medieval world
Looking and studying well both the construction of Mont Saint Michael and the history of the Middle Ages, it is clear how this town represents the feudal hierarchy that was practised at the time. God is, of course, at the top (the Benedictine abbey), followed by the monastery. The great halls were built below this and then come the shops and dwellings. Almost outside the walls are the dwellings of the fishermen and peasants.
Di Amaustan - Opera propria, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79528206
An island never conquered by the British
Due to its particular conformation, location and strong tides, this place fiercely and tenaciously resisted British sieges during the Hundred Years War. The British were never able to take the fortress, which caused them incalculable losses. These exploits also inspired famous historical figures, such as Joan of Arc.
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4 - It has inspired many filmmakers, and more
Given its centuries-long history, Mont Saint-Michel has provided inspiration for a flood of artists, writers, sculptors and even, lately, filmmakers. For example, the place has been seen in several films, including Jean Renoir's "The Marvelous Country" and Jacques Tati's "The Wonders of the Sea."
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It was a prison during the French Revolution (pictured is an engraving by Rossignol dating back to 1200)
During the French Revolution in the 18th century, Mont Saint-Michel was used for a different purpose than its original one, when there were hardly any monks left. The abbey was in fact turned into a prison, and housed political dissidents and high-profile opponents of the Revolution, but many influential people campaigned to save the architectural treasure and in 1863 the prison was closed.
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25/05/2024
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