Mont Saint-Michel in popular culture

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Box of French confectionery called Michelettes du Mont Saint-Michel.

The island of Mont Saint-Michel is featured in a range of popular media. Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky tidal island 247 acres (100 ha) in size, and is a commune in Normandy, France. It is located approximately one kilometre (just over half a mile) off the country's northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches.

In the arts[edit]

  • Frame 16 of the Bayeux Tapestry. The Latin caption reads, "Here Duke William and his army came to the Mount of Michael".
    Mont Saint-Michel is depicted in the medieval Bayeux Tapestry. Frames 16 through 18 depicts the 1065 military campaign conducted by William, Duke of Normandy and his then vassal Harold, Earl of Wessex against Conan II, Duke of Brittany. Places depicted during the campaign include Mont Saint-Michel, Rennes, and Dinan. In frame 17 Harold is depicted saving several of William's soldiers from the quicksands surrounding Mont Saint-Michel. William later rewards Harold for his bravery. The following year William and Harold would face each other in battle contesting the English throne at Hastings.

In literature[edit]

According to legend, in 708 Aubert of Avranches had a vision in which the Archangel Michael instructed him to build an oratory on the rocky tidal island at the mouth of the Couesnon. Aubert did not pay attention to this vision at first, until in exasperation Michael appeared to him again, this time driving his finger into Aubert's skull and ordering him to complete the task again. The relic of Aubert's skull, complete with hole where the archangel's finger pierced it, can still be seen at the Saint-Gervais Basilica in Avranches.
  • In 1832, the fiction La Fée aux miettes by Charles Nodier mentions the quick sands in the Mont-Saint-Michel bay.
  • In 1850, the historical fiction La Fée des grèves by Paul Féval, which takes place around 1450, mentions legends from Mont Saint-Michel and the Mont Tombelaine.
  • In 1887, in the fiction "Le Horla" by Guy de Maupassant, the main character ends his therapeutic journey at Mont Saint-Michel.
  • In 1894, a short story "Un Viage au Mont St. Michet" by Philippe Le Sueur Mourant was published.[1] This was later translated by Thomas Alfred Grut and published in 1929 as "Un Viâge au Mont Saint Michel".[2]
  • In 1904, the American intellectual Henry Adams privately published Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres[3] celebrating the unity of medieval society, especially as represented in the great cathedrals of France. It was released publicly in 1913.
  • In 1942, Helen MacInnes used Mont Saint-Michel as the location for a key section in her spy novel Cross Channel, set in France just after the Bordeaux Armistice of June 1940. The novel was subsequently renamed as Assignment In Brittany, after a film called Assignment In Brittany was made, based on the novel, in 1943 (see movie section below).
  • In 1967, in The Chronicles of Amber, Roger Zelazny his cité d'Ambre was inspired by Mont Saint-Michel.
  • In 1978, Laurent de Brunhoff introduced “Mont Saint-Georges” into his children's book Babar's Mystery, based on Mont Saint-Michel.
  • In 1984, the French ministry of culture published a book by François Rouillay, where someone could reenact the 1000 years of Mont Saint-Michel history and architecture, with a foreword by Françoise Chandernagor.
  • In 1995, Mont Saint-Michel (called Ynys Trebes) is the capital of the British Kingdom of Benoic in the Arthurian historical fantasy The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell.
  • In 2004, the fiction La Promesse de l'ange by Frédéric Lenoir and Violette Cabesos takes place mostly in Mont Saint-Michel.
  • In 2005, the thriller Le Sang du temps by Maxime Chattam takes place in Mont Saint-Michel in 2005 and in 1920s Egypt.
  • In 2011, the science-fiction book L'Ere du Vent by Pierre Bameul has Mont Saint-Michel as the new Vatican location in a post-apocalypse world.

In music[edit]

  • French composer Claude Debussy frequented the island and possibly drew inspiration from not only the legend of the mythical city of Ys, but also Mont Saint-Michel's cathedral for his piano prelude La Cathedrale Engloutie.[4]
  • In 1996, one of the songs from the Voyager album by Mike Oldfield is dedicated to Mont Saint-Michel.
  • In 1998, French composer Patrick Broguière published under the title Mont Saint-Michel a progressive rock concept album about Mont Saint-Michel legends.
  • In 1999, Brittany harp musician Kirjuhel published the album Echo of Mont-Saint-Michel.
  • In 2001, Aphex Twin, from Cornwall, published his electronic music album Drukqs, whose title Mt Saint Michel + St Michaels Mount is inspired by both Mont Saint-Michel and St Michael's Mount, in Cornwall.
  • In 2003, the French group Oldelaf et Monsieur D published the song Le Mont St-Michel in their album Chansons Cons.

In movies[edit]

Popular postcards of Mont Saint-Michel

In video games[edit]

Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry: Above Mont Saint-Michel at low tide, the Archangel Michael battles a dragon

In sports[edit]

  • 2013 : Mont Saint-Michel was the end point of stage 11 of the Tour de France.
  • 2016 : Mont Saint-Michel was the starting point of stage 1 of the Tour de France.

Famous people[edit]


Sign of La Mère Poulard, the restaurant famous for its speciality giant omelettes and its wall of autographs from over a century of famous diners, including Ernest Hemingway and Yves Saint Laurent.
  1. ^ Mourant, Philippe Le Sueur (1894). Un Viage au Mont St. Michet. Almanach de la Nouvelle Chronique de Jersey. pp. 177–181. 
  2. ^ Grut, Thomas Alfred (10 August 1929). "Un Viâge au Mont Saint Michel". La Gazette de Guernesey. 
  3. ^ Adams, Henry (1904). Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres. self-published. 
  4. ^ Debussy's: La Cathedrale Engloutie[dead link]
  5. ^ The Elusive Pimpernel
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "Making Of" featurette on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Extended Edition DVD.