The Refectory of the Mont Saint Michel

The Refectory commenced by Jourdain and finished by his successor Raoul des Isles, about 1215, is unquestionably the most beautiful hall of the Merveille. It is composed of a double nave the vaults of which formed by transverse and pointed arches, adorned at their junction by a sculptured rosette, and supported by a cluster of columns like those of the Almonry. The proportions of this hall, of which gives one the idea are very well-conceived and, according to the simplicity of the details of the architecture, the general effect is very grand. 

The Refectory is lighted by nine large windows, contained in arcades formed by the lateral piers of the naves, the arches, and the side-posts of the vaults; they rise to the top of the building and are separated by a mullion supporting an intermediate lintel, and there is a bench in their recesses. 

The Refectory of the Mont Saint Michel
The Refectory of the Mont Saint Michel

In the north lateral part, beneath one of the windows, the lower glacis of which is higher than the other above the soil, latrines are very ingeniously established as well as the two secret entrances, obliquely made in the thickness of the walls; they were covered by granite flag-stones, the toothings of which are perfectly distinct on the lateral fronts of the buttresses between which the latrines w^ere established. The peculiar arrangement of the window above has perhaps made the local archeologists believe that the pulp of the Reader stood in that place, this cannot be believed after examining the details of the constructions. 

At the end of the Refectory, towards the west, on the wall which separates it from the Knights’ hall, is a gigantic chimney with two hearths, the shafts of which crown the west gable of the Dormitory. Another chimney the traces of which are still seen was made on the south side probably in the place where the Abbot and the guests of note dwelt. A stone pulpit does not exist as in many refectories of that period; it was probably a wooden one and it has been destroyed as well as the other ancient furniture of the Abbey. 

On leaving the Refectory passing on the right under the Porch and taking the door on the left of the entrance to the Knights’ hall, the visitor enters the Gallery which runs by the side of that hall and finishes with flights of steps to the old Cloister or ambulatory. After ascending the staircase on the east end of this ambulatory, the visitor reaches the passage which leads: on the right to the north aisle of the romanesque church and on the left to the south Gallery of the Cloister. 

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