Mont Saint Michele looks ethereal when it dramatically appears above the horizon. Almost disturbing from miles away. This impression seems to be in harmony with its origins.
Bishop Saint Aubert dreamt that Saint Michael appeared to him. Saint Michael directed Aubert to build a chapel in his name. But Aubert was reluctant. Saint Michael appeared a second time with no result. Saint Michael appeared a third time with such insistence that when he pressed his finger upon Aubert’s skull it created a hole. Do you doubt it? Aubert’s skull is on display at the Saint-Gervais d’Avranches basilica with the cavity as evidence!
Saint Michael’s chapel was erected in 708 and has had numerous incarnations during its rich history. It was a significant place of pilgrimage, a safe harbor during the Hundred Years’ War, and eventually a prison.
It is a cruciform church, that is, shaped in the form of a cross. Roman architecture remains in the rear half of the church, while Gothic architecture is represented in the front of the church or “choir”.
Mont Saint Michele is stunning. It is stunning from a distance, suspended in the sky. It’s stunning reflected in the water that surrounds it at high tide, and stunning when the sand is exposed at low tide. As you get closer it reveals changing silhouettes, and as you climb to the top it surprises you around every corner with another phenomenal view. It should be on everyone’s bucket list–I’m so glad it was on Kyle’s list. And by the way Kyle, you can’t cross it off your list yet–I heard from a reliable Norman that you MUST see it at night!