40 years of Mont Saint-Michel and its bay on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Surnommé « la Merveille de l’Occident », le Mont Saint-Michel s’élève au cœur d’une immense baie, témoin des plus grandes marées d’Europe.



It became an island once again in 2015, and Mont Saint-Michel is today one of France's most visited sites, with over 2.5 million visitors per year.


The heart of Normandy's heritage, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979 due to their outstanding value for humanity. UNESCO monuments are divided into 6 categories. Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are part of the category "monuments and ensembles" and were one of the first cultural monuments in France to be included on the list.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Mont Saint-Michel and its bay recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



> A look back on the inclusion of Mont Saint-Michel and its bay on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


The first criterion for the classification of Mont Saint-Michel and its bay is the unique union between a complex natural site and extraordinary architecture, a technical feat and an unrivalled masterpiece. The natural setting of Mont Saint-Michel is the backdrop for Europe's largest tides. It’s a unique and beautiful show for visitors, a natural phenomenon that's simply breathtaking.


Equally breathtaking is the second criterion: the Medieval abbey and fortified village that coexist on the limited space of the rock. Beginning in the Middle Ages, a village was established on the Mont. Several houses, hotels, as well as the ramparts that date to the Hundred Years' War, are classified as historical monuments.


The third criterion of Mont Saint-Michel and its bay's placement on the UNESCO World Heritage List is based on traditions and related beliefs. Since 708, the sanctuary of Mont Saint-Michel is dedicated to the archangel Michael. Mont Saint-Michel and its bay were a highly visited pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages, a tradition that continues today, though to a lesser extent. Mont Saint-Michel Abbey attests to the remarkable cultural value of the site.




Many events will take place for the 40th anniversary of Mont Saint-Michel and its bay's inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. "40 events around the bay" is organised by the tourism offices of bay, from Saint-Malo to Granville.

Here are a few examples:

Night-time visits of Mont Saint-Michel Abbey

In July and August, visit the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel at night. Music and light displays bring an additional touch of magic to this already legendary site!

Festival Jazz en Baie

In the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, from Granville to Genêt, a key rendez-vous for some of the big names in Jazz! During 12 days, along 23 km of coastline, some 20 000 visitors come and listen to jazz, funk, Gypsy and Cuban music...

> From 24th July to 4th August 2019 – Bay of Mont Saint-Michel

La Nuit des Soudeurs

A pile of scrap metal left on the quay of Granville harbour is all that will be needed to inspire artist-welders who will set up their workshop for the night. Their sculptures will be sold at auction on the next day. A unique event!

> 3rd and 4th August 2019 - Granville

Maritime Festival “Voiles de Travail”

Granville – first fishing harbour for shells in France, with a long tradition of privateers and ship-owners – celebrates its history where navigation was often the main source of income. On the programme: boat excursions, exhibitions, concerts, and sea food sampling.

> From 21st to 25th August 2019 - Granville


> Here are a few ideas of activities to do in Mont Saint-Michel and its bay:

From the most traditional to the more unconventional, there are plenty of activities on offer for visitors all throughout the year:

 - During the spring tides, go shore fishing, surf the tidal bore or cross the Mont Saint-Michel Bay alongside a guide as you discover the fauna and the flora in a safe setting.

- Want to reach new heights? Take a seat aboard a plane or a microlight in Le Val-Saint-Père or Bréville-sur-Mer and enjoy the gorgeous views just for you. Guaranteed thrills! 

- Enjoy all kinds of water sports and boating in the bay: sea kayaking, sand yachting or hire a liveaboard sailboat for a weekend on the waves!



> This list is not exhaustive, find more events and activities to do in the Mont Saint-Michel Bay in our events section.