“Le Mont Saint-Michel”

Mont Saint-Michel. France. May 2019. (11 photos)

This is Part 5 of my France 2019 photo series, and also Part 12 of my Europe 2019 photo series.

Recently I spent a month visiting France and Portugal, with a short visit to Singapore for good measure.

I’ve previously posted about le Mont Saint-Michel, the UNESCO World Heritage island abbey off the coast of Normandy. As a follow up to that previous post, here are a few more photos, including some taken in and from the abbey.

One of the benefits to staying overnight at Mont Saint-Michel is being able to take photographs of, around and on the island before/after the crowds have arrived and during the best light. I took the photo above at 6:30am.


This one was taken at 8:40pm.

“The view to Normandy”

There are a couple of routes to the top to visit the abbey.

“The Cloisters”

Mont Saint-Michel gets more than 3 million visitors a year. I deliberately didn’t visit the main abbey until about 40 minutes before closing time. By then the abbey was close to empty, just a handful of visitors here and there.

“He’s an angel, not a saint”

That’s the tagline from the 1996 movie, Michael, which featured John Travolta as the archangel.

According to legend, the archangel St Michael appeared twice to Aubert, the Bishop of Avranches and commanded him to build a sanctuary on the island of Mont Tombe in his name. Aubert thought it was a dream and ignored it both times. The archangel then visited Aubert a third time to reiterate his command and this time, struck Aubert on the head, burning a hole in his skull. The relic of Aubert’s skull, complete with a hole in it, is on display at the Saint-Gervais Basilica in Avranches.

“Salle des Chevaliers”

The Knight’s Hall.

“Finding the light”

“Walking the mudflats”

I joined a 3 hour tour across the mudflats of the bay around Mont Saint-Michel. At low tide it is possible to walk almost completely around the island. We walked across dried mud, through calf-deep rivers and across wet mud. I almost slipped over a couple of times but didn’t. It’s not recommended to make the walk on your own, though.


We walked into a large patch of quicksand. The more you move, the more you sink in. We also learned how to escape quicksand. Essential survival skill #946 learnt.

As the tour ended we could see the tide rushing in. At Mont Saint-Michel the difference between high tide and low tide can be up to 15 metres. I watched a kayaker ride the tide in. You wouldn’t want to be caught in the bay at low tide when the tide comes in so forcefully as it does. Another reason you need a guide.

“Saint Michael”

He’s everywhere in the details.


Here’s a gratuitous additional photo of Mont Saint-Michel to end this post. I’ve got hundreds more; quite literally. Please see my previous post le Mont Saint-Michel if you want to see some of my other landscape photos of the island site.

In May and June 2019, I visited France, Portugal and Singapore.

This is Part 12 of this photographic series and Part 5 of the posts about France

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Le Mont Saint-Michel (2)


62 thoughts on “Le Mont Saint-Michel (2)

  1. A hole in the skull is a hard way to learn a lesson, Draco, but you don’t need anyone to teach you to take photos. These are glorious! Can I pinch this for my walks next week? You wouldn’t mind? πŸ€—πŸ’•

  2. Your photos are amazing, especially because they were enhanced by your commentary that provided a lot of fascinating information and “color.” It kind of makes me feel like I was there along with you. From a perspective of personality as well as photography, I too like to avoid overly crowded place and seek out times when I know there will be fewer people around.

    • Thank you very much. I was aware that Mont Saint-Michel gets very crowded so I planned ahead to optimise my experience by avoiding the crowds when possible, and mostly that worked out well. At sunrise and late sunset, there were very people out and about. If you get there, I strongly recommend staying overnight on the island for the best experience.

      • Thanks for the advice. I love France, but have spent most of my time there in Paris and the surrounding area, though I did spend some time in the Loire River valley around Tours almost forty-five years ago.

        • Same here, on my trips there I spend most time in Paris (time never wasted) and fit in an overnight excursion out of town and a day trip or two. I would like to see more of the smaller towns and rural parts as well.

    • Thank you. Indeed it does, and in almost any weather condition I suspect. Thanks to the late sunsets, I had light streaming in through the western windows at the abbey. Very ambient and beautiful.

  3. You obviously do not want to ignore those angels! Punching a hole in someone’s head is not what I consider to be angelic behaviour! You have some lovely shots here of the castle and a reminder that I should visit our ‘Mont St Michel’ early in the morning. I will not be walking around it though…

  4. “Finding the light” is a stunning study of light and texture. I’d love to share this photo on my blog sometime with credit/link back.. is that ok with you LD? And.. is it part of The Knight’s Hall?

    • Thank you very much. Putting this post together, that was one of 2 photos that HAD to be included. The other was my quicksand photo. Yes, it was taken inside the Knight’s Hall. It was completely silent in there after a small group left, with a wonderful ambience.
      Thanks for asking. Of course you may.

        • Thanks. I made it a point to see the abbey very late in the day for the ambience. From about 10 to 4 the narrow streets on the island and halls such as these in the abbey would be shoulder to shoulder with people.

  5. Beautiful photos always, Lignum, but I especially enjoyed these as I don’t think I’ve every seen photos of inside Mont Saint Michel. It’s beautiful enough from the outside, but the inside is quite something as well.


    • Thanks, Janet. Best to visit the abbey after most other people have left, when it is so quiet and when the nuns start to come out to pray. Out of respect I deliberately haven’t shown any photos of the nuns praying. The warm afternoon light was just beautiful streaming in through the windows.

  6. Wonderful photos Mr Draco … I can understand why it is so popular. Your image β€˜find the light’ is magical .. I don’t think I would have put my hand up for the mud walk though .. πŸ™‚

  7. Oh, these are so beautiful, tranquil and serene (maybe not the quicksand…) – When I was young I so wanted to go to this place, but 1976 we traveled the whole eastern part of France in 33 days. Instead. The west will have to wait for a while, we said. And now 43 years have passed…without us going. I am so grateful for your magnificent tour and fantastic photos, Draco. Clever to stay overnight to get the most silent hours. I have to read your post again – now, and show my husband.

    • Thank you very much. You heard right. Best not to struggle. Getting out was easy but none of the group got too deeply stuck. That would have been interesting if the Guide sank to chest level. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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