Now as well known as the Mont is and how spectacular the visit is there is a part to it that is less well known. It is on public display in nearby Avranches.
Avranches is really not far off and it houses the collection of manuscripts of Mont Saint-Michel. It has done so since the the French Revolution. The museum that houses them is called the and to be honest makes the visit to le mont complete.
We did have some trouble locating it. We’ve noticed that in France on a regular basis a sign goes missing and all of a sudden you need to retrace your steps. Same in this case. We had found a parking spot which we thought was nearby, but after wandering a bit we asked a passer by and were guided in the right direction.
The scriptorial is housed in an old castle and really well laid out. It had audio guides in Dutch and this made the museum easy to navigate. It is also great for kids, though for us it was just us two big kids. Unfortunately the computers were not all in working order but despite that it was enlightening and given the outside temperatures nicely cool. Why is this museum so different and linked to the Mont?
This museum hosts one of the largest collections of medieval illuminated manuscripts in France, outside national and university libraries. Yes those ones from the Mont. The stuff that the monks on that rock wrote centuries ago. The biggest treasure is housed in the middle in a special climate room but there all of a sudden you are in the middle of books. Handwritten, hand illuminated and historical treasures. I loved it. The audio guide tells you more about the books about their history etc. For instance one of the manuscripts there and some of the information is on the philosophy of Abelard
By the end we were just simply dog tired from a very long day, but really this last visit made the monks come alive, This was their lives work. It just gives those 300 steps up to the abbey a special meaning. It also makes me want to drown in the middle ages, history and philosophy. Reality is I won’t dive in, but I do love to indulge myself in it on occasion.