June 14, 2010

Mont Saint-Michel

While spending a week in France in the summer of 2007, I took two day trips. One was to see the famous gardens at Versaille and the other was to the abbey at Mont Saint-Michel. One kilometer off the coast of Normandy lies the rocky islet of Mont Saint-Michel, rising sharply out of the Atlantic Ocean. At the prodding of the Archangel Michael, the bishop of Avranches founded the fortress-like monastery in 708 AD. It could only be reached by a natural land bridge at low tide, but would be protected from intruders at high tide.

The history of Saint Michael's Mount is filled with strife. It appears in the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Norman conquest of England. During the Hundred Years War, the English met with repeated failure in their attempts to seize the island. The French Revolution saw the fortified abbey converted into a prison due to the high security nature of the compound. With the help of Victor Hugo, the site was restored as a national monument in the late 1800's.


"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."
~ Ecclesiastes 9:11 ~