“Have we not all fantasized about embarking on a voyage to the legendary Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy? This medieval marvel reigns as the second most frequented structure in France, trailing only the illustrious Eiffel Tower in Paris. However, for those brave enough to stray from the conventional path, the Mont-Saint-Michel offers a chance to bask in its magnificence without the throngs of tourists. “But how?” you may inquire. When is the ideal time to visit? Can one stay overnight? Fear not, dear explorer, for we have a trove of exclusive insights to share, igniting your journey to this esteemed Unesco World Heritage site!”
“Prepare to be pleasantly amazed if it has been a while since your last visit to the breathtaking Mont-Saint-Michel. In recent times, a remarkable transformation has taken place: the once bustling parking lot at the base of the Mount has been replaced by a stunning bridge that seamlessly blends in with the picturesque surroundings. And when the tidal coefficients exceed 110, the Mont-Saint-Michel reclaims its true essence as an island, revealing a truly magnificent spectacle that will leave you in awe.”
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO VISIT THE MONT-SAINT-MICHEL? OFF-SEASON OF COURSE !
“For those seeking a tranquil visit to the stunning Mont-Saint-Michel, consider planning your trip on weekdays rather than weekends, during the less busy seasons of autumn or winter. Avoiding holiday periods and long weekends will also help you steer clear of crowds. It’s worth noting that high tides can attract a large number of visitors, especially when the tidal coefficient is above 110. If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of tourist hotspots, it’s best to avoid Mondays and Tuesdays. And for a truly peaceful experience, it’s best to avoid the peak season of July and August. The tourist office recommends avoiding the busiest times between 11 am and 3 pm, so plan your itinerary wisely to fully appreciate the serene moments at this magnificent destination.”
EMBRACE THE TRANQUILITY OF THE MONT-SAINT-MICHEL AFTER THE CROWDS HAVE LEFT
“Exploring the Mont-Saint-Michel at dusk, whether for a delectable dinner or a leisurely promenade along the ramparts, offers a chance to truly immerse yourself in the enchantment of the place, away from the hustle and bustle of tourists. Moreover, parking in the designated visitor parking areas on the mainland is complimentary from 6:30 pm onwards, during the low and mid seasons. For further details on parking at the Mont-Saint-Michel, please consult the tourist office’s official website.“
CROSSING THE BAY OF THE MONT-SAINT-MICHEL ON FOOT
“In the footsteps of devout travelers, traversing the bay on foot is a thrilling escapade that grants visitors a chance to fully immerse themselves in the natural splendor of Mont Saint-Michel Bay. Depending on the ebb and flow of the tides, guests can journey across the bay at daybreak, dusk, or during the day, under the careful guidance of seasoned experts, and bear witness to the famed quicksands of the region at low tide, also known as intertidal flats or mudflats. Each step taken on this expedition reveals the awe-inspiring magnificence of the bay!”
TRY SOME FAMOUS PUFF OMELETS
“Did you know that nestled on this petite 240 acre island is a Michelin-rated restaurant? Well, perhaps you would have guessed – after all, it is located in France.
La Mère Poulard is renowned for their exquisite Normandy style omelets, which are expertly prepared over a crackling woodfire. This establishment first opened its doors in 1879 and has since welcomed a plethora of illustrious guests, including the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, astronaut Alan Shepard, and even the literary legend Ernest Hemingway!
For around 50€, you can indulge in their delectable omelets. And if you’re not in the mood for a taste, you can still marvel at the artistry of their omelet-making from the entrance.”
TOUR THE ABBEY
“The Abbey stands tall as the star attraction of Mont Saint Michel. Its rich history dates back to 966 AD when Benedictine monks first settled within its walls, with the ambitious goal of constructing a magnificent monastery.
Over the centuries, the Abbey evolved into a revered Christian pilgrimage site and a center of knowledge, where religious texts and manuscripts were meticulously created and preserved.
However, the Abbey’s fate took a dark turn during the French Revolution, when it was transformed into a prison for priests who resisted the regime. But in 1874, a new chapter began as the Abbey was declared a historical monument and underwent extensive restoration. And in a remarkable turn of events, it was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status just over a century later!
Today, visitors can climb the majestic Mont and explore the Abbey’s historic structures, marvel at its awe-inspiring architecture, and delve into its intriguing past as both a religious sanctuary and a prison.
For a truly immersive experience, I highly recommend using an audio guide during your visit, as there are no informational signs to guide you. Without it, you may feel like you’re missing crucial pieces of the puzzle (or at least, that was my experience). So, let your curiosity be your guide and embark on a journey through time at the magnificent Abbey of Mont Saint Michel.”
VISIT A MUSEUM
“Despite its diminutive size, this locale boasts a surprisingly abundant collection of museums, such as the Maritime Museum, where one can delve into the bay’s rich history and ecological wonders. The Historical Museum offers a glimpse into the lives of monks and prisoners of the Abbey, complete with medieval relics and artifacts. For a taste of 14th-century life, the Bertrand Du Guesclin and Tiphaine house showcases period furniture, rooms, and attire. The Archèoscope offers a captivating journey through the island’s past. These museums exude a charming local charm, though some tourists may express disappointment, having expected Smithsonian or Louvre caliber establishments. Let us travel with reverence and an eagerness to learn, or perhaps these museums may not be the ideal destination for you.”
GRAB SOME ICE CREAM
“One aspect of Mont Saint Michel that may have escaped your attention is its vast expanse of hills. These rolling mounds seem to stretch endlessly, requiring a strenuous climb (or rather, a huff and puff) to reach the Abbey. But fear not, for a delectable reward awaits you at the top – a refreshing serving of ice cream! You’ll find this delightful treat near the entrance to the Abbey, conveniently located next to a sign displaying a map of the island and a list of its museums. And if you need any further guidance, just look out for the prominent ice cream cone sign that stands proudly outside.”
SPOT LOCAL WILDLIFE
“The exceptional allure of Mont Saint Michel lies in its unparalleled environment, encompassing a harmonious blend of ocean, swampy bay, beach, and marshes. These diverse ecosystems serve as a haven for a wide array of wildlife, including the rare and remarkable salt-meadow sheep. These unique sheep, solely reliant on the grasses of the marshland for sustenance, may appear similar to their fellow breeds (apologies, sheep), but encountering them is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to be missed.”
HOW TO GET TO MONT SAINT MICHEL
“It is highly unlikely that you have had the opportunity to explore the stunning Mont Saint Michel for an extended period of time. Therefore, you may be interested in making a day trip from Paris or simply passing through the area. Fortunately, there are several guided day tours available from Paris that can easily be arranged. This will alleviate any stress of navigating to Mont Saint Michel on your own. Additionally, relying on organized tours is a wise decision since public transportation becomes increasingly complicated as you approach the destination. My personal recommendation is to utilize Rome2Rio, a fantastic resource for finding transportation options. The top choice from Paris involves two trains and a bus, which can be a bit cumbersome and takes approximately 5 hours. However, you can view the routes here. Alternatively, from Rennes, the nearest major city, you can take a train and bus, which will only take an hour and a half. If you prefer to drive, it will take approximately 4 hours via A13 and A84. I suggest downloading Google Maps in offline mode to avoid any potential loss of service.”
WHERE TO STAY IN MONT SAINT MICHEL
“The diminutive size of the town may have caught your attention, resulting in limited lodging options. However, fret not as Mont Saint Michel boasts a handful of hotels within its charming walls.”
La Mere Poulard for $115 a night
Les Terrasses Poulard for $110 a night
Owning a vehicle grants you the opportunity to explore further distances. At the iconic Mont Saint Michel, ample parking awaits for your convenience. Alternatively, you may opt for the bus service that will transport you to the Mont, or you can choose to embark on a 2-mile trek from the parking areaBooking.com