Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky tidal island located in Normandy and connected by a causeway with the mainland. The island is best known as the site of the spectacular and well-preserved Norman Benedictine Abbey of St Michel at the peak of the rocky island, surrounded by the winding streets and convoluted architecture of the medieval town. The islet has small houses and shops on its lowest level. Above these stand the monastic buildings, many of which date from the 13th century. The highest point of the island is the spire at the top of the Abbey’s bell tower, 170 metres above sea level. The history of Mont Saint-Michel starts in the 8th century, when according to legend, the archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches, and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet. There are currently less than 50 people living on the island.