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Mont Saint Michel, France

The Merveille (Marvel)

Clinging to the north flank of the rock, Gothic monastery known as the Merveille (Marvel), Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France. Two three-storey buildings, crowned by the cloister and the refectory, fifty meters high, beginning of the 13th century thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set. On the right of the picture, the Chapel of Saint Aubert, bishop of Avranches to whom Saint Michel commanded to build an oratory in his honour in 708.

The Ramparts surrounding the Merveille (Marvel)

The Ramparts, remarkable example of 15th century military architecture, constructed mostly during the Hundred Years War, surrounding the Merveille (Marvel), 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France. A parapet resting on corbelled machicolations crowns both towers and walls.

Tower, the Ramparts

Remarkable example of 15th century military architecture, the Ramparts with its parapet resting on corbelled machicolations and crowning both towers and walls, constructed mostly during the Hundred Years War, Le Mont Saint Michel, 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

The Ramparts surrounding the Merveille (Marvel)

Remarkable example of 15th century military architecture, the Ramparts with its parapet resting on corbelled machicolations and crowning both towers and walls, constructed mostly during the Hundred Years War, Le Mont Saint Michel, 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

The Ramparts surrounding the Merveille (Marvel)

Remarkable example of 15th century military architecture, the Ramparts with its parapet resting on corbelled machicolations and crowning both towers and walls, constructed mostly during the Hundred Years War, Le Mont Saint Michel, 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

The Ramparts surrounding the Merveille (Marvel)

The Ramparts, remarkable example of 15th century military architecture, constructed mostly during the Hundred Years War, surrounding the Merveille (Marvel), 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France. A parapet resting on corbelled machicolations crowns both towers and walls.

The Châtelet

The Châtelet, narrow construction flanked by two tall corbelled turrets and crowned with crenellations reaching as far as the Merveille (Marvel), built in 1393 by Pierre Le Roy (1386 ? 1411) to fortify the entrance to the Abbey, Le Mont Saint Michel, 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

The Guest Chamber

Eastern end of The Guest Chamber, one of the three dining halls lying one above the other at the Merveille (Marvel), 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France. Divided down the centre by a row of columns, lit throughout by high narrow windows.

The Guest Chamber

The Guest Chamber, one of the three dining halls lying one above the other at the Merveille (Marvel), 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France. Divided down the centre by a row of columns with a double fireplace at the western end serving as a kitchen.

The Cloister

Double row of frail looking arches on the garden side of the Cloister, 40 metres above the rock, linked to the Abbey Church, the Refectory and the Dormitory, the Merveille (Marvel), 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

The Cloister

40 metres above the rock, the Cloister with its double row of frail looking arches on the garden side communicates with the Abbey Church, the Refectory and the Dormitory, the Merveille (Marvel), 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

The Cloister

40 metres above the rock, the Cloister with its double row of frail looking arches on the garden side, the slender columns, set in a quincunx pattern linked at the top by diagonal arches form a series of stable tripods supporting the roof; the spandrels between the moulded arches are decorated throughout with carved rosettes and foliage. the Merveille (Marvel), 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

The Refectory

40 metres above the rock, 34 metres long and 10 metres wide, the monk?s refectory with its walls of light and the guests' table in the middle, lies on the same level as the abbey church and the cloister, seen in the distance on the picture, the Merveille (Marvel), 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

The Knights Chamber

The scriptorium, named the Knights Chamber in the 15th century when Louis XI founded the Order of the Knights of Saint Michel, even if only used for monastic tasks, Norman style, on the second level of the Merveille (Marvel), 13th century, thanks to a donation by the king of France, Philip Augustus who offered Abbot Jourdain, a grant for the construction of a new Gothic-style architectural set, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

Crypte des Gros Piliers

Crypte des Gros Piliers (Crypt of the massive pillars), each five metres in circumference, support those of the chancel of the abbey church, prism-shaped ribs of the vaulting flowing directly into the walls and pillars, 11th century, Le Mont Saint Michel, Manche, Basse Normandie, France.

From an immense bay swept by the strongest tides in Europe rise Mont Saint Michel, originally part of the mainland. From the sixth century there were hermits living on Mont Saint Michel and in the early 8th century, Aubert, bishop of Avranches built a shrine there in honour of Saint Michael who had appeared to him in a vision. The Mont’s reputation as a place of worship and pilgrimage became firmly established under the influence of Richard II Duke of Normandy. During the war between Philippe Auguste and the Duke of Normandy in the 12th century, Mont Saint Michel was put to the torch. In order to make reparation, the king donated a substantial sum of money which was to fund building work of the Merveille (Marvel), two three-storey buildings, crowned by the cloister and the refectory, considered as one of the jewels of Gothic architecture.