Friday, October 4, 2013

Mount Saint-Michel, Pt II

Gentle Friends I am really happy that you are enjoying my "Travel Log" and so it continues......  today's Post will be interior and art from Mount St-Michel.  Here are some snaps......  there is lots of stone carving about the Abbey, these bas-relief sculptures were set apart and lots of them here are a couple..

"Adam et Eve chasses du Paradis" - c. 1500 - Bas -Relief

"Le Christ descendant aux limbes" - 1547 - bas relief

"Vierge et l'enfant" - 13th century - Polychrome stone
These three pieces of art where just spectacular and so fitting for the space.  

Moving from the Abbey you go out into the......

The Cloister - The cloisters are entered from the church. They are the most beautiful part of the Abbey. They are early Gothic (finished in 1228) and are the last part of the complex known as the Merveille to be completed. They are situated above the Knight's Hall. Unlike Romanesque antecedents it does not have figured capitals. The decoration is confined to a floral display on the squinches: roses or leaf-vine designs. Above the squinches runs a frieze of rosettes among which a few barn-owls are distributed (not in my snaps). The two rows of columnettes below are set in a staggered pattern (quite unusual). Soaring above the cloisters are a set of windows of the North Transept. A chapter house at the West side was never built. On the North the cloisters look out over the bay. The fourth side is next to the church as is the case in most cloisters (except here it is along the North not the South church wall).

....moving from the Cloisters into the Refectory....... marrying elements of Gothic and Romanesque design styles the refectory or frater off the cloisters is a magnificent, but simple chamber. The hall dates back to the early thirteenth century and its size – some thirty four metres in length and ten metres in width – indicates that communal meals must have been something special when an obviously large community of monks would have inhabited the church. Refectory sizes are a good indication of the wealth of an abbey, and from this it is evident that the abbey at Mont St Michel was well patronised. The arc vaulted ceiling supported on thick heavy limestone decorated and colonnaded walls resembles an upturned boat hull, and as is the cloister ceiling, is clad with timber slats., again to lighten the load on the buildings built below the Refectory.  Of distinctly Romanesque style are the simple seemingly narrow windows. Although not visible along the length of the salon, some half dozen windows along the length of the room let in an amazing amount of light. Although appearing to be narrow they are some five feet wide and twenty in height. This view to the northern window shows the austerity of decoration – a simple crucifix. The south end holds the pulpit from which a single monk would have recited Biblical texts whilst his colleagues would have eaten their twice daily meatless meals (in accordance with the rules of St Benedict) in otherwise complete silence. The acoustics are superb and his voice would have filled the air of the refectory.

 This large caving is....The archangel Michel convincing the bishop (St. Aubert) to build the monastery on this site by burning him on the forehead with his thumb - part of the early history of the building of the Abbey and why this Wonder of the World exists....

.....moving along from the Refectory you go into... Les Salle des Hotes - Room of hosts (13th century): it is located on the 2nd and last floor of Le Mervielle.  It is a room in which the Nobility and Aristocracy vising the Abbey would have been received. It is separated into two naves by a row of six columns on octagonal bases with double windows at one end and.....

.... two large fireplaces, for cooking and warmth.

Descending deeper and further back in the building history you come to the crypts where you see gigantic pillars holding everything up....

.. it's very hard to get the feel for how big these columns are, but trust me they are huge.

... part of the oldest and earliest of spaces this is the Chapel des Trent Cirges (Chapel of 30 Candelabra), and is buried under all the other much later construction.

... The Salle Des Chevaliers is an exceptional case of Gothic Norman architecture.Located Underneath the cloister, the Salle Des Chevaliers is on level two of the Merveille and was built a little time after the Salle des Hotes.  Built out of granite the Salle Des Chevaliers as seen the photo appears spacious with two considerable sized fireplaces. The large hoods of the fireplaces are supported by two long granite brackets which help the heat to radiate around this great room. Next to the fireplaces are small windows which over look the bay.  The Granite columns with their decorated tops and the cross vaulting of the ceiling make the Salle Des Chevaliers a must see when visiting Mont Saint Michel.

 .... as you leave the Abbey you go down some back way and can look up and see all the different building levels and additions....

... and then you can walk along the walls and here is view looking up at the Abbey.

That wraps up Mount Saint-Michel - and the travel log continues next week.....  thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,


  1. I almost feel like I'm there; thanks for the beautiful pics!!!

  2. Edgar, thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. I love your blog & this is just the icing on the cake. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

  3. I have been staring of the photos of Les Salle des Hotes, trying to imagine what these walls must have witnessed. Mind boggling...if walls could talk ,13th century wow!

  4. Great pics of your trip! Just beautiful. Glad to see you enjoy your time there.

  5. That picture with the glow (sunset?) on the top of the columns is stunning!
    Thank you for the armchair travel guide. I'm glad you had a great trip.

  6. Thank you once again for the virtual tour!AriadnefromGreece!

  7. Wow, so cool! Such beauty everywhere. This is such a treat!

  8. Your pictures are lovely. What a beautiful place. Just stop and think of the millions of prayers that have been prayed there, it's awesome! Thanks so much for sharing them with us. :)

  9. Thank you so much for these amazing pictures. I can't imagine how they carved in stone so very long ago.

  10. Thanks for being such a great tour guide :) Since I can't go to these places I'm really enjoying them by proxy.

    BTW...I LOVE your x-stitch. How do you manage to get them done so quickly!!

  11. Wow Edgar. I am loving all of your fabulous pictures of your trip. Thank you for thinking of us when you were taking pictures. It's a wonderful virtual tour of the places you visited. I had to show them to my daughter, because she really wants to go to France sometime.
    I can't to wait to see more.
    Many Hugz to you!