During the French Revolution the abbey was almost deserted. It was closed down and converted into a prison - mainly for political prisoners of the clergy. In this period the mountain was often called Mont Libre - a taunting name for a jail for 15,000 to 18,000 political prisoners. Raspail and Barbès were only two of the many jailed high above the Atlantic Ocean. A movement around Victor Hugo later was successful in saving and restoring the architectural heritage of the abbey. The prison was closed down in 1863 and Mont-Saint-Michel was declared are national monument in 1874.
This linkage was used to transport supplies for the prisoners to the abbey. The mechanism worked like a sleigh on the outer wall of the foundation.