Hello everyone and welcome in this new video. We are here today at the Mont-Saint-Michel On the very top of its belvedere We came through secret ladders We are here to tell you the story of this place and guide you in the heart of this exceptional heritage. Guys, this is trully an amazing visit because we have the chance to be alone in the whole abbey of the Mont-Saint-Michel. We are here in the cloister of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. It really is the ancient door mecanism. We litteraly are in the center of the framework. We arrived on top of the belvedere. Good evening my friends and welcome to this new edition of our night-time exploration. We’ll be tonight at the Mont-Saint-Michel an emblematic and historical place of our country and we have the chance to be allowed to visit its abbey alone and by night. You must know that the abbey just closed nearly two hours ago. The sun is setting right now and we are about to enter to visit the unusual parts of this place and relate you the story and the legends surrounding the Mont-Saint-Michel. I must hurry going up there because the sea level is increasing I’m here in the bay. And we’ll finally start this CRAZY exploration I’m walking in some tight alley in order to get to the abbey. You must know that (painful inhale) the rock is 92m (painful inhale) height and the abbey is about 150m height. That’s it guys, I’m in the abbey of the Mont-Saint-Michel and you should know that the abbey already closed more than one hour before and then no one is left except for monks and nuns who live here. It’s just unbelivable. This visit is really unusual because we have the benefit to have the whole Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey just for us, during this shooting. Look at this emptiness. So here guys we are about to climb at the top of that bell tower in the belvedere rigth under the statue of the Saint Michel archangel It’s going to be the peak of our exploration. This is a part that’s totally closed to public. We’ll need to climb ladders and one of all is about 13m height. This is going to be really impressive. I am going to meet François and Zecharia who are waiting for me on the patio and then we will meet the manager of the place. Here, I am with François and Zecharia. (YO) (HI) The three of us are going to visit parts of the Mont-Saint-Michel. Right behind us is the Mont-Saint-Michel’s bay. It’s just wonderful. And now we are going to meet Xavier Bailly, manager of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. We are here inside the abbatial church. It’s the church of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. It has been built on top of a rock. Rigth under us is the top of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s rock. Just an anecdote you must know , the abbatial have been built in two different ages. There is the roman part and here the gothic part. So the center is from the flamboyant gothic architecture. Good evening Mister Xavier Bailly. Good evening You are the manager of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. Yes! And in a way the householder. Hum not really, I’m just one of all the operators who are this place’s householders. The National Monuments Centre mainly is the householder. And now you’ll lead us through a sort of a secret area. You can say that we are going to cross a door which is closed for the most of our visitors. The keys just match the way we can imagine it. Yes! Pretty massive and heavy. But it corresponds for the most part to some doors that are so thick that you need long enough keys in order to cross it. Guys we are climbing to the top in order to gain access to the laced staircase. It will allow us to access to the abbey’s belvedere. I can assure you this is going to be dizzying. Wow! Awesome! So, here we start to have a beautiful view on the whole Mont-Saint-Michel. We are nearly at the top of the abbey. This is quite crazy because the Mont-Saint-Michel’s history is spreading from more than 13 centuries. And this is a crazy thing because we can see sort of graphs which date back to the begining of the century. Some date back to 1918, 1919. We also found this one, it dates back to 1940 at the time when the Mont-Saint-Michel was under german control. Now is coming the most intense moment of this exploration. We are going to access to the bell tower and the belvedere. We need to climb some ladders. This part is closed to usual visitors. So in a way a secret of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. Yeah, alright… We arrived in the bell tower, we’ll have to climb up three ladders to gain access to the belvedere. This is now the most interesting part beginning. We are at the heart of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s secrets. We are close to the top, a very few people can go there. You can see that for it is not expected welcoming visitors. It is damn vertical. Plus it is moving. – Are you comfortable? – No. So guys, serious matters are about to start. We are going up to the very top of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. We litteraly are in the center of the framework. We have arrived! That’s it my friends, mission succeed! We have arrived on the top of the belvedere. The Mont-Saint-Michel’s summit. We can’t go further. Look up. The archangel is right here. We are just underneath. And look at this view. So Mr Bailly, what’s the height at this point? He above, the archangel, is at a 156m height. And so, when did the belvedere get set? Around 1890. Since the spire is the creation of and architect called Victor Petitgrand who is the head architect that created this spire in order to crown the crossing tower of Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbatial church. With Metz’s Cathedral we already went up great heights to explore a historical monumement, but I think we own a record here. Look how it is vertiginous all around us. It is truly a privilege being able to be here, admiring the view on the Mont-Saint-Michel’s bay. And the abbey, and the village. – You agree with me, the ladder is… – Yeah, the emptiness’s no joke! The ladder is attached, right? No. – No cause it was moving and… – Yes, it is moving, but it is slightly tied but not completely attached. – Is it good? – Yeah. The sun is setting at the Mont-Saint-Michel. We are immersed in an incredible atmosphere. The last glow of the sun shines from over there on the Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay. It’s magnificent. There’s still a Lannister. If I have to be a Lannister, I’d rather be Tyrion. My favourite character was Tywin. Well, talk is going on about Game of Thrones with the manager of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. So, we’re going straight to the abbey’s cloister because when we went through it, we figured that it would be the place where Littlefinger and Varys would come and stir up Westeros’ schemes. Therefore, we’re going to enjoy the last rays of sunshine to go there and tell you about the story, the true story as it happens of the Mont-Saint-Michel and its abbey. There’s some beautiful doors. For sure, doors here are beautiful. Wonderful! My friends, we are now in the cloister of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey and for your information, it has been recently restored. We’ll take advantage of it and tell you about the Mont-Saint-Michel’s story along with the one of its abbey. You must know that the Mont-Saint-Michel hasn’t always been called as it. It was before called Mont-Tombe, Tombe coming after, as it seems, the word Tertre which means natural elevation. And thus, at the 8th century is set on this rock an oratory dedicated to the cult of Saint Michel given that we were at a time when all the european lands were being christianized. A few time later, at the 8th century, an abbey is built. The place begins to grow larger. As centuries go by, the abbey evolves and grows until it becomes the one we know today which is a huge and exceptional abbey. It is a historical heritage, part of our country’s symbols, known throughout the entire world. So Zecharia, several periods have marked the history of the Mont-Saint-Michel. That’s right and one among the most famous is especially the Hundred Years’ War. A war that lasted for more than a century which opposed English and French kingdoms. It must be known that here we are in Normandy. Thus it was the battlefield of this war because the English have little by little conquered a great part of Normandy’s lands if none all except for the Mont-Saint-Michel. It was the last place that was not in the hands of the English during that war. This stronghold was very difficult to besiege by the English. They had built nearby, on the Tombelaine Island, a fortress in order to keep a close eye on the Mont-Saint-Michel. I think they held the siege of the Mont-Saint-Michel for 17 years. But unsuccessfully because the Breton came with a fleet and casted out the English to resupply the fort. It was a crucial time and at that period when wars were both political and religious, but also of royal inheritance matters places like this one were essentials. So the Mont-Saint-Michel is kind of the emblem of resistance in front of the English invader during the Hundred Years’ War. An other symbolic period is the French revolution. 1793, revolutionists chase the abbey’s monks of the Mont-Saint-Michel and it becomes a state prison. Every one of these parts, the church included, become a real prison, a detention centre. There will be up to 600 prisoners at the same time, here in Mont-Saint-Michel. And in 1863, Napoleon III closes that prison which has the reputation of being unsanitary. From the moment the prison is closed, the place does not go back to be a religious building again. There are no monks inside until the mid-20th century. We can see then a return of Benedictine monks and with it a spiritual life in the Mont-Saint-michel. It also becomes a great tourist attraction. At the end of the 19th century, its framework is set. The belvedere that we just did visit. The very famous statue of Saint Michel fighting a dragon. Nowadays, there is no more Benedictine monks. An other Order of monks picked up the torch of spirituality. And so there are still people who live in the Mont-Saint-Michel. Guys, we will now continue exploring the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. The sun is setting right as I’m talking to you. It is by the way wonderful. We are going for a stroll and show you some remarkable rooms like the dungeon. Where were imprisoned convicts in the Mont-Saint-Michel. That’s it, night is falling, we turned on the led panel. We are switching to night-time exploration of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. Look at these doors. They are really… each more beautiful than the last. We are here in the big pillars crypt. It holds the abbey above our heads. That’s crazy stuff. Pillars are huge. It makes me think of the throne room …in Game of Throne. That’s really great because we’re all alone in the heart of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey in tight hallways leading us from crypt to crypt. Some researchers developped a theory that is the monk gallery was the refectory during the roman era and this passage would let the father leaving the community for reaching his own room in a more direct way. It really is a secret passage intended for the one who hold power on the abbey. We are in another secret passage of the Mont-Saint-Michel, my friends. In fact, this hallway has been built in between the abbey’s walls. You can see here that it has been bricked up. But it initially carried on. And there is a second hallway on the other side. It was even longer because there are several sections of this passage in the abbey that still exist but due to buildings destructions and collapses they do not adjoin anymore. So it is not a fantasy here, secret passages do exist. Absolutely, we can even say that we are in the Mont-Saint-Michel’s guts. We stand in the thickness of the walls. Here we are in an other hidden hallway. We actually are on the other side. Behind me is only emptiness. That part of the abbey collapsed a few centuries ago. This hallway was connected to the secret passage we went through. And now, we’ll go out in a new room. This is a new room, my friends. It is called the knights room, where they were no knights at all. There were monks, Zecha. That’s right, monks would get back books and come here to study them in this room. This room is very light because it has many windows. So there is light nearly everytime. There are fireplaces to make big fires and get warm, because obviously there were no central heating. As they would not move and remain seated at desks it was necessary to heat up the room. It was kind of the work place of the monks. And the secret passage letting the father to leave discreetly towards his room. Zecha, we are now in Notre-Dame-Sous-Terre the oldest part of Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. It is a church located under the abbey. It would contain Saint Michel’s relics. The Mont-Saint-Michel previously owned relics which seemingly belonged to Saint Michel. So, who is Saint Michel in the medieval Christianity? Well, he is an archangel. He would also weigh the Christians’ soul after their death and determine if one goes to paradise or in hell. He was armed with a spire and a weighing scale. He would also always wear an armour since he was leading the fight against evil. The statue of Saint Michel on top of the belvedere represents he in armour fighting a dragon that is evil’s symbol. We’ll finish with the highlight, my friends. We are going to visit 3 former cells of Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey. Where were imprisoned convicts during the abbey’s darkest hours. We’re on our way to the abbey’s dungeon. All these hallways are a maze. We are in front of a cell used to imprison convicts when the Mont-Saint-Michel was a prison. The cell is as it was back then. Look at the door, it is really old. We’ll enter it and see the conditions in which were imprisoned convicts. This is where were imprisoned convicts. We are… in the cell. When the Mont-Saint-Michel became a prison, they first imprisoned monks who resisted too much. Because the state had turned anti clerical during the revolution. Then followed political opponents who were imprisoned in these cells behind these doors and railings. There is zero window, life conditions must be for sure horrible. We’ll explore 2 other cells. That’s relly crazy. Look, we are in a small cell. I’m currently in my cell with my straw. This is where were imprisoned convicts in this tiny space with no light although there is a small hole above. There might have been a bit of light coming through. These conditions were very dreadful. And by the way, the prison did not have a good reputation. I can imagine that prisoners suffered here. You are free, sir. It really is the ancient door mecanism. Wow The sound it makes. It is literraly a chains rattling. But… prisoners still saw the light of day, or… – No.
– They were confined all the time? Our detention concept has not always been as generous as nowadays. For how much time did they rot in here? Some died of crazyness. That’s really… I think it is truly abominable. I believe those kind of places have to be considered as suffering ones. Of high pain with deplorable hygiene conditions. It is a testimony of the past that’s a bit… Yes, dark and full of solemnity. What are the feelings when walking alone by night in Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey? There is at once a feeling of rare privilege and at the same time, there is this weigh of the past that brings us humility. Do we know everything about the abbey? Or could we find more… That would be very pretentious to say we know everything. This is for that very reason there is no heritage restoration site in the Mont-Saint-Michel’s abbey without a scientific support, an archeologist support. So, the Mont-Saint-Michel hasn’t yet given up all its secrets. Far from it. Fortunately it hasn’t. A part of mystery must be kept. This is the end of the video. We hope you enjoyed this unusual visit of the Mont-Saint-Michel’s secret passages. We’d like to give a warmly thank to the National Monuments Centre and its staff: Isabelle, Baptiste, Anne-Flore for all the support they’ve given us in this project. And we’d like to thank equally Xavier Bailly, the site manager who took us in the Mont-Saint-Michel’s guts. It was a real pleasure as well as an honour to walk through those 13 centuries of history. My friends, let me know if you enjoy those unsual visits in our country’s emblematic places. We have a lot of other ideas for new videos. Anyway, we’ll meet in a week for an other crazy video. Because we shot in an other amazing place. Thanks for your loyalty. See you very soon for some new adventures. Bye bye.