Have you ever seen a place so beautiful that it seems more like a painting than physical place? As though it leaped off of its canvas to become reality? Well, welcome to Incarnate Art! In this serial on Mind Vitamins, I will show you and give a brief summary of the World’s most breathtaking places, natural and man-made, which might make you doubt whether this is real life or just fantasy…
First, we are going to go to a region of France in the North. Conquered and settled by the vikings or ‘Northmen’, it became known as Normandy. It was from here that William the Conqueror and his Norman armies set off for England, to conquer the Saxons in the 11th century. In more recent history, Normandy is mostly agricultural, with cattle, horses, dairy, flax and cider being some examples of industries in the area. It sounds very simple and rural, but by the coast is a place which could trick you into thinking you had stumbled into a fairy tale; Mont Saint-Michel.
Finding its beginnings all the way back in the 8th century AD, Mont Saint-Michel really is like a peek into the past. According to pious legends, it was built on the orders of St.
Michael the Archangel himself, after whom the island is named. The structures you see are primarily a church and monastery, built for Benedictine monks. But lower on the hill is a charming little village which used to host the many pilgrims to the spot in centuries gone by. It is completely surrounded by water, and was built in such a way so that the bridge which led to the island was only usable at low tide, the waters covering the passage at all other times. The Mount, built up over the centuries, has a rich history and has been used for more than just a monastery. It was a fortress in the Hundred Years War and foiled all attempts to conquer it with its strategic placement, use of the natural tides and its newer, clever fortifications. It was also used as a prison from around the time of the Revolution which remained in use all the way to 1863. After literally a millennium of use, it was finally decided that the Mount was a historical and artistic treasure, and protection of the site began officially in 1874. Millions of people now visit and enjoy this beautiful place every year.
Any European readers may no doubt be yawning at this article, as this particular place is already very famous on the east side of the Atlantic Pond. But I and my fellow castle-less Americans can’t help but see such a place as tremendously exciting and borderline magical. Those of us who can’t go can at least enjoy the beautiful pictures and maybe put a little pin on our maps of places to visit. I know I want to…
You can read more about Mont Saint-Michel at these great websites!