The first abbey to be built on the rocky promontory on the north coast of Brittany was founded in 708. After various fires and subsequent reconstructions, the present abbey was built from 1421 to 1521. The town grew up around the religious institution from the 11 century, and the first defensive wall was constructed in 1256.

General view of Mont-Saint-Michel.
General view of Mont-Saint-Michel.

The defences were gradually updated and strengthened throughout the centuries, eventually including small bastions'and gun emplacements. The interior of the abbey was modelled on the relief map, and the end wall of the building hinges to allow the interior to be seen.

Detail of the abbey, showing the hinged wall allowing the interior to be seen. Detail of the long stairway leading from the abbey to a landing stage on the shore.
The defences have several tiers in some places. The side of Mont-Saint-Michel.
The later additions to the fortifications included semi-circular and pentagonal bastions. Detail of a windmill on a tower.
Houses and ramparts. Plaque and walls.
Back to the "Relief Maps" page