The island abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, crowned with strong ramparts and thin spiers – is one of the iconic views of France. Despite the huge number of tourists, the monastery on the top of the rock and its narrow lanes will take you to the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. Mont’s main rue, the Grande Rue, leads up the hill past stairs and tiny passageways to the main attraction – the medieval abbey. Be prepared to walk a lot on spiral staircases. Reaching the top you will have an incredible view. Exposed cliffs rise from the sea itself and tower above the shimmering sand, exposed by the counter wave. The breathtaking view of the tides on this island is magical and mysterious. According to Celtic mythology, this is a sea grave into which the souls of the dead were sent. Mont Saint-Michel is rich in legends and stories that are keenly felt as you cross the bridge or walk barefoot on the flowing sand to this stunning architectural ensemble. Walk around alone, or better yet, with a guide from nearby Genêts for an exciting day hike across the bay.
The tidal road led to Mont Saint-Michel for centuries until the bridge was opened in 2014.
How to get here
The nearest international airport is in Paris. In addition, there are airports serving the UK, Ireland and other European and domestic destinations in Brest, Quimper, Rennes, Dinard and Nantes. Ferries link nearby Saint-Malo with the Channel Islands and the English ports of Portsmouth and Poole, while the city of Brittany is linked to Plymouth.
Pontorson is the main railway center of this area and is connected to Mont Saint-Michel by local bus. Direct flights to Pontorson run from Bayeux, Caen, Cherbourg and Rennes. Intercity buses stop next to the car park at La Caserne, from where buses run to Mont Saint-Michel.
The 62-bed Auberge de Jeunesse Center Duguesclin in Pontorson offers rooms for four to six people and a kitchen.
Stay at the friendly, family-run Vent des Grèves B&B with five modern rooms that are simply furnished and have a magical view of Mont. A kilometer to the east there is a bus stop to La Caserne.
La Jacotière is another popular family hotel, built in 1906 as a farm, with five comfortable rooms and one studio. It offers stunning views of Mont Saint-Michel.
The excellent creperie Crêperie La Sirène is located near the beginning of the Grande Rue in Mont Saint-Michel. Climb the 15th century stairs. from the gift shop and enjoy delicious pancakes.
Les Terrasses Poulard, bright and bustling with cast-iron chandeliers and copper pots, serves classic bistro dishes and buckwheat galettes.
Duration: 3 – 4 days
Arriving by train from Paris, Rouen – the capital of Normandy, will be your first stop with a sky-high Gothic cathedral, a beautifully restored medieval quarter, excellent museums and a lively cultural life. From here, you can drive to Les Andelys and Monet’s famous garden at Giverny, and then continue your exploration of Mont Saint-Michel.
Duration: 10 days
If you have an extra week, follow the same itinerary, but leave more time for extra trips. The port of Honfleur, the medieval town of Bayeux with its famous tapestry, and the beaches of the Normandy landings, are a must-visit that attracts artists from all over the world. Explore the Côte d’Albatre and Le Havre, as well as beautiful Trouville and Deauville. Then, get lost in pastoral Normandy, famous for its cider and Camembert.
When to go
It is not uncommon for Mont to be completely surrounded by the sea – when the tide coefficient is above 100 and the high tide is 14 m. Check this information online before you travel.
In the second half of the summer, there are illuminated night visits “nocturnes” that take place from 19:00 to midnight from Monday to Saturday.