Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


English: Saint Michael’s Mount
Norman: Mont Saint Miché

Mont-Saint-Michel is a renowned island on the coast of Normandy, northwestern France. The centerpiece of Mont-Saint-Michel is the medieval abbey that crowns the island, dating back to the eighth century AD.

The hill served as the lair of the giant from Spain called the Giant of Mont-Saint-Michel who kidnapped Helena, a relative of Hoel of Brittany. Wace names the giant Dinabuc. Arthur and his knights arrived and killed the giant, and Arthur ordered a church to be built built at this site.

In the Norse Tristrams Saga ok Ísöndar, Tristan builds his famous Hall of Statues in the giant’s former cave. According to the Middle English Parlement of the Thre Ages, Arthur fought a dragon, rather than a giant, on Mont Saint Michel. The Prose Brut calls the location Saint Bernard’s Mount.

There are different legends regarding Gargantua the Giant and the three hills Mont-Saint-Michel, Mont Dol, and Tombelaine. He is said to be the one who created the hills: when he was out walking he stopped and shook three rocks out of the boot, which fell in the locations of the hills. Another version says he wanted to walk easier between Normandy and Brittany, so he placed rocks in these locations.

A third legend tells us that Gargantua and his parents, Grandgousier and Gargamelle, were on their way to see King Arthur, bringing with them one rock each, to show their power. His parents contracted a fatal fever when crossing the swamps. Merlin magically buries them in the sand and used the rocks they had carried to mark their graves. Grandgosier would lie beneath Mont-Saint-Michel and Gargamelle beneath Tombelaine.

Mont Dol is a hill which is also known as Mont Saint-Michel, situated near the town of Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes in Brittany. It is not far from the English Channel. Tombelaine is a small tidal island located near Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy.

See also
Saint Michael’s Mount (Cornwall) | The Legend of King Arthur

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Brut | Layamon, late 12th century to mid-13th century
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Tristrams Saga ok Ísöndar | 1226
Alliterative Morte Arthure | c. 1400
The Parlement of the Thre Ages | Mid to late 14th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470