Its fortifications enabled the islet to withstand repeated English assaults during the Hundred Years’ War. The abbey served as a prison during Napoleon I’s reign. Restored after 1863, and connected to the mainland by a causeway (completed 1875), the abbey is preserved as a national historical monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of France’s great tourist attractions. The abbey is celebrated in Henry Adam’s classic study of medieval Christianity, Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1913).
On the other side of the English Channel, off the coast of Cornwall, in England, is Saint Michael’s Mount, the site of a priory (later a castle) that belonged to the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey in the Middle Ages.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” — Lao Tzu
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