It is one of the real rules of travel, I believe, that climbing up something is always a good idea. Whether it’s a hill in Gruyères, a church in Zurich, or the magnificent Cinque Terre, I’ve found this to be true on any number of occasions. And so too it was with Mont Saint-Michel and its iconic Abbey.
The Abbey at Mont Saint-Michel was completed in 1523, though monks have used the island as a place of worship dating back as far as the 8th century. The church is named for the archangel Michael, sometimes called the “prince of high places”, who is said to lead the souls of the deceased up to heaven – making him a pretty fitting patron for a place with a lot of steps.
The short hike is definitely worth it, as the views from the top are lovely and the Abbey itself is fascinating and chock full of history. Perhaps best of all, it features one of my very favorite things: a gorgeous cloisters (and yes, I do love me a good cloisters – whether in NYC, Lisbon, or Sorrento). We visited the Abbey first thing in the morning, meaning the cloisters (and the entire complex, really) were still relatively peaceful and tourist-free.
The Bottom Line: I had visited Mont Saint-Michel several years ago (way back in 2010, in fact!), but I found it was well worth a return trip. The Abbey is awe-inspiring!