Our long Friday morning drive culminated in the rain at Mont-St-Michel. Here's a picture closer up:
At the foot of the abbey lies a small town (now devoted exclusively to restaurants and souvenir shops). Just before entering the abbey is the simple parish church where we left Ev and Francis. Inside is stain glass:
And a statue of (who else?) St. Michael:
As the model shows, the abbey winds its way up the impregnable rock. The abbey devotes it highest level (and most graceful architecture) to the monks.
One approaches by climbing massive and well fortified stairs past buildings such as this:
At the top, one enters the chapel, rebuilt several times, the one below is shorter than the original:
Walking through the chapel, one arrives at the cloister, the galleried walkway which controls access to the monks major rooms for prayer, sleeping, eating, and working:
Off the gallery lies the refectory where the monks ate. This is a beautiful room, unencumbered by columns since it has nothing to hold up but its own roof:
The side has recessed windows:
Below the refectory is a room the exact size meant to great the nobility. Since it must hold up the refectory, it has columns breaking up its space:
The monks worked in a well lit room copying and embellishing manuscripts. St. Michel's was renowned for the quality of their work. The large workroom was well lit by the windows (the monks would adjust their work/prayer schedule in the winter to maximize the amount of light available for copying). While monks typically could not have heat, this room has two large fireplaces to control the humidity (to protect the parchment) and to thaw the animal dyes used for ink).
Below, the cellar rooms provide massive columns to support the weight of several rooms above:
Like some other abbeys in France after the revolution, Mont-St-Michel served as a prison. In those days, the prisoners would rotate this wheel to lift provisions from below:
Altogether, we have 41 pictures of Mont-St-Michel. If you haven't see enough, visit our overflow page by clicking here.