The Guide to Mont Saint Michel Magical, Magnificent!
Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a magical island commune in Normandy, topped by a gravity-defying monastery and counts among France's most stunning sights. They are ranked Top 10 most visited places in France.
We went on a 2 Days Trip, covering Mont Saint Michel and Etretat. Certainly awesome and a place to go in Normandy region.
Mont Saint Michel
The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name (Mont). The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: on top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers.
One of France's most recognizable landmarks, visited by more than 3 million people each year, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. [More]
FROM 2 JANUARY TO 30 APRIL
Open every day
FROM 2 MAY TO 31 AUGUST
Open every day
FROM 1ST SEPTEMBER TO 31 DECEMBER
Open every day
FROM 11 JULY to 27 AUGUST 2016
Evening show on said period
- January 1st
- May 1st
- December 25
Entrance to Mont Saint Michel is free. However, you are required to pay to enter the Abbey, which is situated on the top of the island. 20-30 mins to climb up.
Rates to Enter the Abbey
- Below 18 Years Old: Free
- 18 - 25 Years Old : 7 €
- Older than 25 Years Old: 9€
- No Special rates for Senior Citizens
Where is Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint Michel is located at 50170 Mont Saint-Michel.
However, you may not be able to navigate by car to this location. You can park your vehicle at the mainland and take the Free Shuttle Bus in.
How to Get There?
Travelling by car will be the more affordable way to travel to Mont Saint Michel.
- From Saint-Malo: exit n° 2, D 155 and D 797 or N 176 to Pontorson, then D 976.
- From Caen: exit n° 8, N 175 direction Rennes to Pontaubault, then D 43, D 75 and D 275 to Le Mont-Saint-Michel.
Driving from Paris will take roughly 4 hours, 380km using A84 Highway. Ample parking space but will be a long walk from the shuttle bus point. There will be signs leading you to the shuttle bus pick up.
Recommended Driving Stopover
If you have no meal plans during your driving break, we recommend a stop at Avranches for Macdonalds or other options for a quick bite before starting your tour. It is along the way to Mont Saint Michel, 20mins away.
By Public Transport
The trip between Paris and Mont St Michel via train plus coach will cost from about €35 to €100. To get the best prices for the TGV trip, we recommend you buy your tickets as early as possible (you can buy these up to 3 months in advance of your trip).
Option 1 - Rennes ( From Paris)
From the Paris Montparnasse station to Rennes, and then take a bus from Rennes to Mont Saint Michel (about 60 kilometers).
Once you’ve arrived in the Rennes train station, take the escalator up from the TGV platform to the next level, and then follow the signs for the North Exit. You will also see signs for the Bus Station. Take the escalator down one level and exit into the plaza, where you will see the bus station to your right. You can purchase both your train and bus tickets in advance on this website.
Option 2 - Pontorson (From Paris)
Trains from Paris Saint-Lazare to Caen, then a TER train from Caen to Pontorson, then the shuttle bus from Pontorson to Mont-Saint-Michel.
Trains from Paris Montparnasse to Granville, get off in Folligny and get another train to Pontorson, then the shuttle bus from Pontorson to Mont-Saint-Michel.
Pontorson – Mont-Saint-Michel shuttle bus
(€2.80 a Trip)
The nearest rail station is located in Pontorson, and so you can take a regional train from Paris. From Pontorson, you can take the shuttle bus to Mont Saint Michel (approximately 9 kilometers). You will need to purchase your bus ticket onboard.
The direct shuttle bus will take you from Pontorson train station to Mont-Saint-Michel. It stops at Pontorson, Beauvoir, the hamlet of Mont-Saint-Michel (previously La Caserne) - the shopping area located on the mainland
You can also get off just before the town of Mont-Saint-Michel to visit the dam or some eatery places.
Mainland Tourism Office
At the tourism office, you can get a map of Mont Saint Michel, the carpark, Shuttle Pick Up location etc. Open from 9am to 7pm.
4 Ways to Get to Mont Saint Michel
There are 4 ways to get to Mont Saint Michel. All requires the use of the causeway.
- Walking - 10 mins
- Shuttle Bus Service - 10 mins
- Horse Carriage - 25 Mins
- Coach Services from Pontorson
Abbey of Mont Saint Michel
The Mont Saint Michel Abbey is located in the island of Mont-Saint-Michel, situated on top of a 20mins climb.
The abbey is an essential part of the structural composition of the town the feudal society constructed. On top God, the abbey and monastery, below this the Great halls, then stores and housing, and at the bottom, outside the walls, fishermen and farmers housing. - Wikipedia
At 7pm, there is already a queue forming for the 7.30pm evening show.
Going Up the Abbey
There are 3 routes going up to the Abbey. Take a map from the Tourism office and navigate your way up.
- From the Center Gate - Passing through all the souvenir shops and restaurants
- From the left before entering the Monastery - Some winding slopes before a flight of stairs and more stairs along the way to the Abbey
- After the Gate where La Mère Poulard is - There is a flight of stairs on the right leading up and you can also view the causeway from there.
We didn't have the chance to sit down and eat over at Mont Saint Michel. However, you can check out the reviews at Tripadvisor.
On the island, some famous restaurants but average reviews
On the Mainland, these have better reviews.
Reviews from Tripadvisor on the restaurants on the island itself is less than 3/5. Unless you are super hungry, if not it is recommended you eat on the mainland. There are alot more positive reviews. Check this out.
Along the route to the island there are quite a few hotels for you to choose from. Check out Agoda on the list of hotels in Mont Saint Michel.
If you are planning to visit other places the next day, it is best you stay on somewhere along the route to cut short your travelling time the next day.
As we are going to Etretat the next day, we booked an Airbnb stay along the route and turns out to be really awesome. - Read our Blog here
Mont Saint Michel is quite Pet Friendly except for on the shuttle Bus and in the Abbey. So if you are thinking of bringing your furkids, do take note. You will have to walk down across the causeway.
Wheelchair / Elder Friendly
Mont Saint Michel is not a wheelchair friendly tourist spot. As there are many stairs leading up to the Abbey. It will also be a challenge for Elderly with difficulty in climbing stairs.
Best Time to Visit Mont Saint Michel?
Mont Saint Michel are opened practically all year round. It is only the Abbey that is subject to the opening hours.
- Early in the morning - 9am (You can rest a night before at the hotel nearby)
- Late Afternoon - 4pm onwards (You will be going against the day crowd whom are leaving the place)
- During summer, the crowd is monstrous and especially on weekends. So if you are coming during summer or weekends, visit early in the day or late afternoon.
Please note, the Abbey cease sales of ticket at 5/6 pm for the day show depending on the time of the month
Tips for Visiting Mont Saint Michel
Here are some tips to make your trip more enjoyable.
- For budget travellers, you may want to grab a bite before entering Mont Saint Michel, or you can prepare sandwiches to munch along the way. Restaurants in Mont Saint Michel are value for their price.
- Sandwiches are sold in Mont Saint Michel, so no worries if you have no time to prepare
- Clear your bowels at the tourism office before entering Mont Saint Michel. It seems like there is only one toilet at the foot of the hill
- If need be, bring hiking sticks to help you climb the stairs.
- Mont Saint Michel is not wheel-chair friendly at all. It is a challenge for personnels with difficulty climbing stairs.
- As it is usually crowded, travel light and avoid carrying alot of stuffs.
- Don't venture too far out to the sea, as the soil might be too soft.
Our Review On Mont Saint Michel
Awesome and magical
What We like
- The Magnificent View
- Convenience of Shuttle bus Service
What We don't like
- Alot of Stairs
- Toilet Entry is €0.50
Definitely a very positive experience we had. The tourism office was helping in planning the route for my mother in law whom has difficulty walking up the stairs. But she still managed to conquer it.
We took quite a fair bit of pictures around the island and it certainly looks like Walt Disney Logo.
The ticket cost €9 to visit the Abbey. Very worthwhile for such a historical Monument. Parking charges is consider reasonable at €11.70.
Cost of Experience (For 4 Pax)
if by 2 Pax
€34.74 / Pax
*Toll & Petrol information from www.viamichelin.com
We highly recommend any travelers to visit Mont Saint Michel at least once when they have a chance. It is the top 10 most visited spot in France. You will be missing out if you didn't come here.
These are our experience and research from various links. Hope it will hope you on your visit! Voila!