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“The Legend of Mont Saint-Michel” Lecture Promotes Taiwanese-French Cultural Exchange and Encourages Students to Visit France

Dr. Jean-René Morice, Director of Esthua Tourism, Culture and Hospitality at the University of Angers, was invited by the Graduate Institute of European Cultures and Tourism at National Taiwan Normal University to introduce the history and legends of Mont Saint-Michel on 18 April. His lecture was attended by nearly 300 people. Through the lecture, Professor Morice invited the audience to visit France and see the beauty of the island for themselves.

NTNU President Cheng-Chi Wu expressed his hope that this lecture will help to stimulate Taiwanese-French cultural exchanges by inspiring the audience to pursue transnational study in France. France’s University of Angers, as a sister school of NTNU, also offers a dual-degree program with the Graduate Institute of European Cultures and Tourism. Professor Morice is the Executive Vice President of the University of Angers and has worked closely with NTNU for more than a decade, laying a solid foundation for the development of study abroad in France for NTNU students in the Graduate Institute of European Cultures and Tourism.

Dr. Morice shared about Mont Saint-Michel, a tidal island located on the northwest coast of Normandy, France. Its history dates back to 708 A.D. when, according to legend, the archangel Michael appeared to Bishop Aubert of Avranches and instructed the latter to build the island’s first chapel. A monastery and castle were also built on its hilltop, and the island remained unconquered throughout the Hundred Years’ War between France and England; it was used as a prison during the French Revolution.

Mont St. Michael has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on two occasions, attracting over three million people each year. Dr. Morice added, 'Mont Saint-Michel is listed as a World Heritage Site, but this designation is not the cause of its appeal to tourists. Rather, it is the revenue generated by visitors that cover the financial cost of its restoration and upkeep which has enabled it to become a cultural heritage site.”

French-style afternoon tea refreshments and a string performance prior to the lecture set the mood for those who attended to slow down and immerse themselves in the long history and legends of Mont Saint-Michel. Simultaneous French-to-Chinese interpretation by Dr. Gao Fei of the University of Angers allowed Professor Morice to communicate freely in French and the audience to stay engaged so that various audience members continued the dialogue with Dr. Morice even after the lecture has ended.

Dr. Yi-De Liu, Vice President for International Affairs at NTNU, said that the Graduate Institute of European Cultures and Tourism has always offered activities during European Cultural Week, but the pandemic had halted them for the last three years. As pandemic restrictions lift, NTNU’s Office of International Affairs and its French Center have joined forces with the French-Taiwanese Cultural Foundation to jointly organize a series of lectures in May centered around French food culture and European overseas exchange. Anyone interested in these subjects should visit the official website of the Graduate Institute of European Cultures and Tourism for more information.

European Month of May Lecture Series

Location: BoAi Building, Heping Campus II (Library Campus)
5/09 18:30-20:00 Cultures, Cities, and Universities in Britain (Room 504)
5/16 18:30-20:00 Cultures, Cities, and Universities in Germany (Room 504)
5/23 18:30-20:00 Cultures, Cities, and Universities in France (Room 504)
5/30 10:30-12:30 A Window on French Food Culture: Dijon (Room 413)