Mont Saint Michel Castle – France
Have you ever seen Victor Hugo’s “Pyramid in the Ocean”? If not, then the Lower Normany in the North of France awaits you because that is the home to UNESCO’s World Heritage site of Mont Saint Michel. It is a rocky island with the Abbey of St. Michel and the Mont Saint Michel Castle which is worth a watch in France apart from the other popular tourist destinations of Paris and Versailles.
Position and Plan of the Mont Saint Michel Castle
The island of Mont Saint Michel Castle is located on a cliff and has the mouth of the river Couesnon opening to its one side. The rest of the sides of the cliff are surrounded by the sea. With the Abbey and monastery being on the top of the cliff, followed by the main room of the castle below them, the planning of the entire Mont Saint Michel Castle seem to reflect the feudal society where God was seen on the highest pedestal, followed by the king, and then the subjects. The side to which the river runs also houses a dam which provides the 2 kilometre long connection of the island to the mainland. This connection which goes in to the island castle has a number of shops and eating joints on both sided of it which cater to the 3 million tourists who visit the destination every year.
A couple of legendary stories do the rounds of the Mont Saint Michel Castle which try to justify the creation of the rocky cliff. The history of creation of the Mont Saint Michel Castle also dates back to the 11th to 14th centuries and has been a constant focus of contest between France and England. However, through the years, the French have made sure that the castle is not taken over by the enemies.
Mont Saint Michel Castle as a Tourist Destination
The Mont Saint Michel Castle started with being a holy place with the presence of the abbey and the monastery. Post the French Revolution of the 1790s, the castle turned in to a prison which housed famous prisoners before initiatives were taken in 1836 to protect the entire geographical and architectural entity as a national treasure. Thereafter, in 1874 it was opened as a tourist place and by 1979 got named by UNESCO as a world heritage site which was both naturally spectacular and culturally rich.
The most important reason that attracts such huge numbers of tourists is that only two times a year, fall and spring, the sea comes to the cliff. The rest of the times the sea is about 25 miles away from the castle.
The best and cheapest way of reaching the Mont Saint Michel Castle is perhaps driving because public transports like trains are not there between Paris and Mont St Michel. Trains are available only till Pontorson and the last distance to be covered by bus.
The last reason of popularity of the Mont Saint Michel Castle is that it got filmed for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ as a kind of Minas Tirith.