Le Mont Saint-Michel - The Monastery
The main sight of interest to the visitor is the monastery. Nowadays again, there are practising monks living there.
This image shows the main entrance to the monastery, which itself is part of a fortress. When you finally want to enter the monastery through the inner gate you will have, as is customary with Le Mont Saint-Michel, climb a very steep flight of stairs, before you meet with two guards. The visitor has to go through a metal detector, as you know it from the airport. The same procedure. For the photographer, you are not allowed to use tripods inside, flash is allowed and what they absolutely do not like is making videos. So, even if your DSLR is a perfect video cam, don't do it.
After having passed the checkpoint you arrive at the ticket counter. Entry for adults is EUR 10 each. They do have prices for children and groups. You can also book a guide to show and explain the site to you. When you go with guides you will see much more as if you go on your own; though in case you want to do your photography as you see fit, then you should plan for an extra visit with a tour guide.
Going to that place is a must.
The following images show a bit of the entrance section and the flight of stairs that lead up to the upper terraces from where the abbey church can be accessed.
Once you have managed the long wide flight of stairs you arrive at a terrace directly accessing the abbey church, which sits very prominently at the very centre of the entire site. On the left you can see the church tower with its prominent spire that hosts a figure at its very top. That figure is the archangel Michael, depicted as a Roman soldier. That figure can be bought down in the small village below the monastery in every shop they have. The size ranges from very small to rather large, depending on how much space the purchaser can muster at his home.
Besides, considering the fact that an archangel is given a human shape, than it is rather questionable why that angel is depicted as a Roman soldier.
Anyway, the side doors are not for public entrance. You will have to go through a side building only to step onto another terrace, from which the visitor is granted access to the abbey church.
Going to that place is a must. In case you require pure tourism information go to their official website for further information. The site is bilingual in French and English.
However, you have a tremendous view over the landscape from East to the West as is shown below. When we were there the weather changed constantly from cloudy to sunny at rather short intervals. But that what you can expect at the coastline. Also it shows us, that we humans have no influence over the so-called weather at all. The following pics show the countryside, the dam and the bridge that connect the mainland with the island; also you have two pics showing the terraces I was on about before.
At the end of the long flight of stairs, you stand right beside the church. The doors on the left are not for use by tourists.
Below: The terrace at the top of the monastery. From there you enter into the church, the door is to be seen on the left. From the terrace you have a good view of the Baie du Mont Saint-Michel.
Looking down from the upper Plateau
Seagulls at Le Mont Saint-Michel
Seagulls live at the monastery and are not so afraid of humans coming too close, on the contrary, the gulls actually expect you to share your sandwiches with them, whether you like it or not; and they pose for the photographers to bring home nice shots of seagulls, as is shown below. Isn't she cute?
Some More Views of the Monastery
Le Mont Saint-Michel - Inside the Church
The abbey church is accessible through an old wooden door. You step into another world. This world is silent and you are awestruck the moment you set your foot into the nave of the church. The below image shows the view you have after entering the church. As previously reported, you are not allowed the use of a tripod. Though, while doing something about the ISO you might be able to take quite a good shot or two of the church. There are moments when there is no-one in the church and that is wonderful, because you are alone with your thoughts and I have seen people in there who, quite obviously, were very close to meditating.
Going to that place is a must.
The church architecture is of Roman style. And below you can see some more pics of the nave and the roof construction. I would have loved to do some more pics about the architecture but for that a tripod is essential.
Simple interior. The worshipper has no reason to drift away with his thoughts.
Below: you look into the roof, which is made of wood. This was done because the foundations were not strong enough to bear the weight of a standard roof made of stone.
The abbey is still operational, meaning the do worship there. The people in this image were only visiting a heritage site and still, they take some time to sit down and reflect on whatever they have in mind. The place must have an impact on his visitors.
The Altar of Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel - The Cloister
After you have spent quite some time in the church of Mont Saint-Michel, eventually you will move on. They let you leave the church through a door on the side that leads you directly to the cloister of the monastery. On the left you can the part you will first enter. One can still imagine the monks wandering around in the cloister, saying their prayers. Though, nowadays there are more people around taking pics with their mobile phones, leaving out the prayer bit instead. Anyway this is a nice part of the entire site and it is a very lovely place too.
This is a view of the cloister courtyard of Mont Saint-Michel and you see part of the monastery of Mont Saint Michel in the background. As I have already written this is a solid building structure built for eternity. That view is simply fascinating, to say the least
The following images show more of the cloister.
Simple structures and the word austerity comes to mind when looking at the architecture. Although this is a monastery there are not too much ornaments.
Through a window in the cloister you can see the Baie du Mont Saint Michel. There was rain during night and you can still see the rain drops on the window pane. Looking out there provides a moment of tranquility. Between yourself and the horizon is only the Baie du Mont Saint-Michel and a flat coastal landscape. You are free to let your thoughts wander about.
The Great Halls of Le Mont Saint-Michel
After the cloister you are led into one of the great halls of the monastery. High walls and a high wooden ceiling are the main features here. When the sun shines through the windows you will have a wonderful light in the halls.
Here we have the large fireplaces in the great knight's hall. They used to put entire trees into the fire. One wonders whether or not they ever managed to bring some heat into the huge hall. Considering the dimensions of the hall it might have been difficult to heat up the place; though, people then were not so weak as we are nowadays.
When walking through the halls, one is tempted to think of this place as one of the earliest bunkers ever built. Alt least there are time when it feels like being in a bunker; and still it is a monastery with some sort of military function associated to it.