Mont St Michel

(Click on the image for a large view)

A magical island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery, the Mont-Saint-Michel counts among France’s most stunning sights. For centuries one of Europe’s major pilgrimage destinations, this holy island is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is its breathtaking bay.

Now a rocky tidal island, the Mont occupied dry land in prehistoric times. As sea levels rose, erosion reshaped the coastal landscape, and several outcrops of granite emerged in the bay, having resisted the wear and tear of the ocean better than the surrounding rocks.

This staggeringly beautiful location has long captured the imagination.

During high tide, the Mont Saint-Michel appears surreal, as though it were hovering above the water and in the right light, creates a mirror reflection. Low tide is just as interesting, surrounding the commune with sand, allowing visitors to walk around its perimeter and observe it from a different vantage point. The rock-top abbey and the narrow alleys below still manage to transport visitors back to the Middle Ages.