|Le Mont Saint-Michel|
Le Mont Saint-Michel|
Le Mont Saint-Michel
|Mont Saint-Michel and its Bay|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|Criteria||i, iii, vi|
|Inscription||1979 (3rd Session)|
The wealth and influence of the abbey extended to many daughter foundations, including St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall. However, its popularity and prestige as a centre of pilgrimage waned with the Reformation, and by the time of the French Revolution there were scarcely any monks in residence. The abbey was closed and converted into a prison, initially to hold clerical opponents of the republican regime. High-profile political prisoners followed, but by 1836, influential figures—including Victor Hugo—had launched a campaign to restore what was seen as a national architectural treasure. The prison was finally closed in 1863, and the mount was declared an historic monument in 1874. Mont Saint-Michel and its bay were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979, and it was listed with criteria such as cultural, historical, and architectural significance, as well as human-created and natural beauty.
In the 11th century, William de Volpiano, the Italian architect who had built the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy, was chosen by Richard II of Normandy to be the building contractor. He designed the Romanesque church of the abbey, daringly placing the transept crossing at the top of the mount. Many underground crypts and chapels had to be built to compensate for this weight; these formed the basis for the supportive upward structure that can be seen today. Today Mont Saint-Michel is seen as a building of Romanesque architecture.
Robert de Thorigny, a great supporter of Henry II of England (who was also Duke of Normandy), reinforced the structure of the buildings and built the main façade of the church in the 12th century. In 1204, Guy de Thouars, regent for the Duchess of Brittany, as vassal of the King of France, undertook a siege of the Mount. After having set fire to the village and having massacred the population, he was obliged to beat a retreat under the powerful walls of the abbey. Unfortunately, the fire which he himself lit extended to the buildings, and the roofs fell prey to the flames. Horrified by the cruelty and the exactions of his Breton ally, Philip Augustus offered Abbot Jordan a grant for the construction of a new Gothic architectural set which included the addition of the refectory and cloister.
Charles VI is credited with adding major fortifications to the abbey-mount, building towers, successive courtyards, and strengthening the ramparts.
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11th to 12th century
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17th to 18th century
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19th to 21st century
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2010)|
The islet belongs to the French commune of Mont-Saint-Michel, in the département of Manche, in Basse-Normandie. Population (1999): 46. The nearest major town, with an SNCF train station, is Pontorson. Mont Saint-Michel belongs to the Organization of World Heritage Cities.
Mont Saint-Michel has also been the subject of traditional, but nowadays good-humoured, rivalry between Normans and Bretons. Bretons claim that since the Couesnon River marks the traditional boundary between Normandy and Brittany, it is only because the river has altered its course over the centuries that the mount is on the Norman side of the border. This legend amuses the area's inhabitants, who state that the border is not located on the Couesnon River itself but on the mainland, Script error: No such module "convert". to the west, at the foot of the solid mass of Saint-Brelade.
|Historical population of Mont Saint-Michel|
|From the year 1962 on: No double counting—residents of multiple communes (e.g. students and military personnel) are counted only once.
Since 2004, as for any city with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, censuses are every five years, in years ending in 1 and 6 for this city, other counts are from annual population surveys.
Source: EHESS and Insee · 
- Robert of Torigni, famous abbot of the Mount;
- Guillaume de Saint Pair, monk of the abbey and author of the novel Mont-Saint-Michel;
- The Duke of Chartres (later Louis-Philippe I) came to demolish the "iron cage";
- Mathurin Bruneau, shoemaker, rogue, and fake Louis XVII, prisoner in 1821-1822;
- Louis Auguste Blanqui, political prisoner in the Mount;
- Armand Barbès, political prisoner in the Mount;
- Monsignor Bravard, restorer of the abbey;
- La Mère Poulard, famous omelette restaurant;
- Émile Couillard, writer, historian of the Mount, and abbot of the Mont-Saint-Michel.
Le Mont-Saint-Michel has long "belonged" to some families who shared the businesses in the town, and succeeded to the village administration. Tourism is the main and even almost unique source of income of the commune. There are about fifty shops for 3 million tourists, while only 25 people sleep every night on the Mount (monks included), except in hotels. Nowadays, the main institutions of the city are shared by:
- Eric Vannier, owner of the group the Mère Poulard (holding half of restaurants, shops, hotels and three museums);
- Jean-Yves Vételé, CEO of Sodetour (five hotels, a supermarket and shops -all extramural-, including Mercury Barracks);
- Patrick Gaul, former elected official, hotelier and intramural restaurateur;
- Independent merchants
Twin towns and sister cities
- Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima, Japan, where Itsukushima Shrine—another island-temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site—is located.
Historically, Mont Saint-Michel was the Norman counterpart of St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, UK, which was given to the Benedictines, religious order of Mont Saint-Michel, by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century.
In popular culture
- In 1904, the American intellectual Henry Adams privately published Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres celebrating the unity of medieval society, especially as represented in the great cathedrals of France. It was released publicly in 1913.
- French composer Claude Debussy frequented the island and possibly drew inspiration from not only the legend of the mythical city of Ys, but also Mont Saint-Michel's cathedral for his piano prelude La Cathédrale Engloutie.
- In 1942, Helen MacInnes used Mont St. Michel as the location for a key section in her spy novel Cross Channel set in France just after the Bordeaux Armistice of June 1940. The novel was subsequently renamed as Assignment In Brittany, after a film called Assignment In Brittany was made, based on the novel, in 1943.
- 1950 : The Elusive Pimpernel by Powell and Pressburger.
- 1955: "The Mystery of Mont Saint-Michel (La Forêt de Quokelunde)" by Michel Rouze is a children's novel featuring five children who explore the island on a camping trip.
- 1991 : Mindwalk
- 2003 : Mont Saint-Michel was the inspiration for the design of Minas Tirith in the film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
- Renaissance Mont Saint-Michel is a playable multiplayer map in the video game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (2010), and Assassin's Creed: Revelations (2011) by Ubisoft Montreal.
- 2013 : Le Mont Saint-Michel was the end point of stage 11 of the Tour de France.
- 2013 : The design for the Tower of Mastery in the video games Pokémon X and Y versions was inspired by Mont Saint-Michel.
- Carolingian architecture
- Carolingian art
- La Mère Poulard
- List of Carolingian monasteries
- Manoir de Brion
- Saint Michael (Roman Catholic)
- "Insee – Populations légales 2009 – 50353-Le Mont-Saint-Michel". insee.fr. 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "UNESCO". UNESCO. 13 December 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- Pierre Le Hir, « Le Mont-Saint-Michel rendu à l’eau », dans Le Monde du 29-07-2007.
- Chantal Bonnot-Courtois, La Baie Du Mont-Saint-Michel et l'estuaire de la Rance : environnements sédimentaires, aménagements et évolution récente. Editor Technip. 2002. pages 15–20
- "Catholic Encyclopedia: Mont-St-Michel". Newadvent.org. 1911-10-01. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- Adams, Henry (1913). Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres: A Study of Thirteenth-Century Unity. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 37–38.
- "Département de la Manche". Insee.fr. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Le Mont-Saint-Michel - Notice Communale". Cassini.ehess.fr. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Historique des populations par commune depuis le recensement de 1962". Insee.fr. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Insee - Populations légales 2006 - 50353-Le Mont-Saint-Michel". Insee.fr. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Le Mont-Saint-Michel – Jumelage" (in French). Wikimanche.fr. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- "Nishihiroshima Times". L-co.co.jp. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- "Miyajima Grand Hotel Info". Miyajima-arimoto.co.jp. 16 May 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- "Liste des monuments historiques sur la commune du Mont-Saint-Michel", Base Mérimée, Ministère de la Culture.
- Adams, Henry (1904). Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres. self-published.
- Debussy's: La Cathedrale Engloutie[dead link]
- The Elusive Pimpernel
- "Mindwalk (Philosophical Films)". University of Tennessee at Martin. Philfilms.utm.edu. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Making Of" featurette on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Extended Edition DVD.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mont-Saint-Michel.|
|40x40px||Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Mont Saint-Michel.|
- Mont-Saint-Michel Celebrates 1,300 yrs of History
- Official Mont-Saint Michel Tourist site (English version)
- Virtual recreation of Mont St. Michel in Second Life
- Pano at 360° of Mont St Michel
- INSEE population figures
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