Spiegel-online today has a piece on the proposal to build wind-turbines close enough to Mont-saint-Michel that they could spoil the view from the spectacular site, causing it to lose its World Heritage Status. Two paragraphs explain how and why it gained that status:

Mont-Saint-Michel, located in a bay between the coast of Brittany and the Contentin peninsula in Normandy, is a symbol for the entire region. It is cut off from land twice a day at high tide and is one of France's biggest tourist destinations, attracting 3 million visitors a year, tourists and pilgrims.UNESCO, the United Nations' culture and education agency, designates this unique place as a World Heritage Site. Mont-Saint-Michel and the bay were included in the prestigious list of places of global special cultural and physical significance in 1979. The judges as the time lauded the "unprecedented union of the natural site and the architecture" and fated it as an "unequalled ensemble, as much because of the co-existence of the abbey and its fortified village with the confined limits of a small island, as for the originality of the placement of the buildings." Mont-Saint-Michel, they said, was one of the most important sites of medieval Christian civilization.

Here is the official tourist website, which includes a photo-gallery.I visited it once with a friend. We went by train, departing very early from Paris and arriving around noon. Having decided to eat lunch before starting on a tour, we sat overlooking the bay and had the thrill of a watching a violent thunderstorm explode around us, a perfectly Gothic moment.

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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