In the middle of the sea, only accessible by a mile and half-bridge lies the island of Mont Saint-Michel. This magical miniature city borders Brittany and Normandy. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its magical beauty.
Medieval life in Saint Mont Michel
The name “France” was derived from tribes called the Franks. Clovis, a 15-year-old boy from the Frankish tribe was appointed leader. He eventually killed the members of this family to rid himself of rivals and united other tribes under his rule.
Medieval society had a hierarchy. Life was good for the rich and bad for the poor. The fishermen, farmers and peasants housing were outside the protection of the city walls. Many men were animal hunters and trappers. Medieval peasants lived in small villages in wooden huts. Some worked in the fields to support their Lords.
France had many slave colonies in the Carribean, the biggest was Saint Domingue, which is known as Haiti. It had over 500 slaves and the 18th century.
History of Mont Saint-Michel
It was 708 A.D. A bishop of a nearby town, Avranches, claimed that the Archangel Michael told him to build a church on this tiny island. This was developed over time until it became the site it is today. The abbey is the central part of the island.
In the medieval period Mont Saint-Michel became a central hub of learning, with people coming from far and wide to visit. During the war with the English, Saint-Michel was attacked multiple time. Defensive walls were built to keep the English out.
Fun Fact: Joan of Arc was inspired by the battles at Mont Saint-Michel, which led to her helping take France back from the English
Photo of Saint Mont Michel in the Bayeux Tapestry via Flickr
Dating back to the 6th centuries it became a place of pilgrimage and was so important it was stitched into the Bayeux tapestry after the invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. The abbey on the island gradually became less popular and eventually the place was used as a prison until 1864.
Saint-Michel’s Abbey became a prison to hold opponents of the republic and political prisoners. A treadwheel was used to bring supplies up to the fortified walls. Prisoners were forced to walk in the wheel like animals to hoist up the goods.