Behind the Scenes: Arnaud de Montlivault

Last week-end I was extremely honoured to shoot the talented actor Arnaud de Montlivault on top of the “mont Saint-Michel”, literally Saint-Michael’s mount. Despite the erratic weather and the non-stop wind, we found ourselves in this extraordinary spot, 381m high with a panoramic view of the surroundings, including most of Armorica Regional Natural Park.

Arnaud de Montlivault

The “mont Saint-Michel” of Brasparts, Brittany, - not to be confused with the universally famous Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy - is one of the top summits of the Monts d’Arrée, an ancient mountain range and part of the protected Armorica natural park. It does sound similar and you’d be surprised to know that both Mont Saint-Michels are related: they were two of the seven sacred hills of ancient Armorica, spreading from Brittany to Normandy, before the name fell out of use at the arrival of the Vikings during the IXth and early Xth centuries. 

The St Michel chapel itself on top of the mount, is believed to have been built during the XVIIth century, succeeding an ancient temple dedicated to the Sun. Originally, it was named “Menez Kronan” (in breton), from the god of Life in druidism. Later on, its named was Frenchified. Legend says that St Michael himself appeared to help the tired men carrying the rocks on top of the hill.

Arnaud de Montlivault
Arnaud de Montlivault

Arnaud was the one who picked the location of the shoot. I had never been there and I was extremely pleasantly surprised to find an isolated viewpoint over the whole region. He loved the mysteriousness of the place, brought in light by the chapel, the panoramic view of the peatlands and the fog that usually sets in in the early mornings: "I always feel like I'm out of time there.

Talent: Arnaud de Montlivault
Photographer & Production: Envela Castel
Stylism: Nolwenn Castel (Ar Vro Bagan)
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8

You can see the rest of the photographs on my Instagram.