Pontorson and surroundings
The Mt St Michel Bay and the area.
A lot of surprises when you'll visit the Mont St. Michel Bay.
Ascent leading to the « Marvel ».
Situated in the middle of a bay, the Mont Saint-Michel welcomes nearly three and a half million people every year this includes visitors, pilgrims and tourists. At the entrance of this medieval town is the ancient Burgher's Guardroom now the Tourist Office. After going through the Boulevard Gate and then the King's Gate fortified with its portcullis, you will find the « Grande Rue » or main street wih its museums, shops and houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The parish church consecrated to St. Pierre, the patron saint of fishermen is a small edifice from the 15th and 16th centuries. Finally we get to the «Grande Degre » or Grande Staircase whose majesty is a prelude to the « Marvel ». After admiring the Abbey church, you can enjoy the beautiful and matchless view over the bay when going down the ramparts path. Wonder of the Western world The « Wonder of the Western World » forms a tower in the heart of an immense bay invaded by the highest tides in Europe.
It was at the request of the Archangel Michel « chief of the celestial militia » that Aubert, Bishop of Avranches built and consecrated a small church on the 16th October 709. In 966 a community of Benedictines settled on the rock at the request of the Duke of Normandy. For eight centuries they didn't stop building new constructions and extensions which helped to beautify the Abbey, and by the end of the 13th century the « Marvel » was built. Thanks to this masterpiece of architecture, or should one say architectures, today one can meditate in the preroman crypt, admire the power and majesty of Roman art, and the beauty of Gothic structures. With Rome and Saint Jacques de Compostelle, this great spiritual and intellectual centre, was one of the most important places of pilgrimage for the Medieval occident.
For nearly one thousand years men, women and children went there by roads called « paths to paradise » hoping for the assurance of eternity, given by the Archangel of judgement « Peseur des ames ».
The Abbey was turned into a prison during the days of the French Revolution and Empire, and needed to be restored before the end of the 19th century. With the celebration of the monastic's 1000th anniversary, a religious community moved back to what used to be the abbatial dwellings, perpuating prayer and welcome the original vocation of this place.
At the same time as the Abbey developed a village grew up and flourished at the foot of its walls to the southeast side of the rock. A commercial tradition has always existed here and today there are many hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops UNESCO has classed the Mont Saint-Michel as a world heritage and this mecca of tourism welcomes more than three million visitors a year.
The Abbey The Mount consecrated to St Michel in 708 was one of the first place of cult for the Archangel Michel with the Gargan's Mount. The abbey presents a big panorama of the medieval architecture from the XI to the XVI the century. The abbey is open every day except the 1st of january, 1st of may and 25th of december; from 2 may to 31 august : 9 am to 7 pm, last admission at 6 pm from 1 september to 30 april : 9.30 am to 6pm, last admission at 5 pm. Rates : individual : 8 euros ; under 25s : 5 euros ; under 18s : free of charge Lecture visit : individual supplement : 4 euros ; under 25s : 3 euros ; under 12s : free group : 6,20 euros visit : unaccompanied tour, guided tour (1 hour), lecture visit (2 hours) Booking and informations at the abbey : tél 02-33-89-80-00 Fax : 02-33-70-83-08 www.monum.fr
The museums museum of history : old collections ( weapons, paintings, sculptures, watches), prisons and dungeons, the 19th century periscope which reveals the bay. archeoscope : a show to discover the abbey's sacred history, its legends and its construstion. maritime and ecology museum : to discover the tides, the bay and the massive building site to restore the maritime character of the Mont Saint-Michel. tiphaine's house : to discover the 14th century residence that Bertrand Duguesclin had built in 1365 for his wife Tiphaine (furnitures, paintings, tapestries).
The maritime and ecology museum is open from the beginning of february holidays to the end of Christmas holidays. The others museums are open every day from the beginning of february holidays to the 11th of november and during Christmas holidays. Booking : 02-33-89-02-02 / archeoscope : 02 33 89 01 85 rates : 7 euros per museum or 15 euros for 4 museums / pupils : 4.50 euros per museum or 9 euros for 4 museums
The Parish Church consecrated to St Pierre is a small edifice from the 15th and 16th centuries. Mass every day at 11.00am except from the 1st of december to Easter holidays mass only on thursday and sunday. The Pilgrim's House is the last house on the right going up the Grand'Rue or main street,here you will be welcomed by a group of pastorals and volunteers who will help you organise your time for the best. Tél : 02-33-60-14-05
The Townhall is situated in the main street . Tél : 02-33-60-14-06. Opening time : all the year from monday to friday from 9am untill 12am and from 2pm untill 6pm. The post office is situated in the main street. Tél : 02-33-89-65-00. The emergency center, in the main street in front of the post office
ACCESS Prices for the car-parks : 4 euros per car for a day, 8 euros per camping car, 1 euro per motorbike.
Access by train from Paris Take the train from the Montparnasse station ,a high speed train will take you to RENNES, then take the connecting private coach to the Mont Saint-Michel (for information call "COURRIERS BRETONS" Tel : 02 99 19 70 80, Internet www.lescourriersbretons.fr) or by train from St Lazare station taking the train to PONTORSON by CAEN.
Then ,either a bus or a taxi to the Mont-Saint-Michel, unless you are interested in a 10 kms pilgrimage on foot. By car from Paris Take the A13 motorway to CAEN then take A84 to Avranches and follow the direction Mont Saint-Michel. Take the A11 to LAVAL then follow the direction FOUGERES,ANTRAIN ,Mont Saint-Michel. Take the RN12 to Pré-en-Paille then follow the direction DOMFRONT,St Hilaire du Harcouet,Mont Saint-Michel.