Mont Saint Michel: all you need to know

You’ve probably seen photos before: a dramatic-looking rock jutting out of the sea, with mythical Gothic buildings clinging to its sides… this fairy-tale setting is Mont Saint Michel, a tidal island located at the mouth of the Couesnon River on the Normandy coast. It is one of France’s most visited monuments and has been considered a sacred place for over a thousand years… are you ready to discover why?

 

Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint Michel

How to get there

Once you arrive by car you need to pay for the parking 24h = 9,80€, I suggest you to arrive late in the afternoon you will need a half-day to visit the area.

There is an exclusive parking lot on the mainland, from where you have to walk 800 m to the Place des Navettes. At the Place des Navettes, you can take the shuttle service to the mainland or cross the causeway on foot, is a very nice walk only 2km. Mont Saint Michel has a passenger shuttle service that connects the island to the mainland. This free shuttle will drop you off about 350 m from the main island and operates from 7h30 to midnight.

 

Free shuttle info
Free shuttle info

The best time to visit Mont Saint Michel is between May and September when the weather is mild and pleasant. However, this is also the high season to visit, and rightly so, as many events are also held during this time. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can visit before or after this period, which is when the tourist season is at its lowest.

Visit the island day and night too, is very nice! But maybe you will find all restaurants and shops close (in France they close very soon).

Mont Saint Michel Abbey

In addition to the historic church, which was only rediscovered at the end of the 19th century, the abbey houses yet another monumental complex: the “Marveille“, where the monks lived. Here, you’ll find the buildings constructed under Robert de Torigni, a 12th-century Abbot, as well as the cloister and the refectory, the monks’ dining hall.

 

Mont Saint Michel abbey
Mont Saint Michel abbey

We also recommend delving deep into the lower levels of Mont Saint Michel Abbey, where the crypts and Saint Martin Chapel are hidden. As you explore the mythical site, see if you can spot clues as to its occupation for several centuries from the 15th century onwards… it hasn’t always been home to monks!

Depending on when you choose to visit the monument, you may also have the opportunity to attend one of the regular masses held for pilgrims in the church. The abbey is open from 9 am to 7 pm. The final admission is at 5 pm, buy your tickets here.

Due to the movements of the tides, on certain days of the year access to Mont Saint Michel and its abbey are restricted for safety reasons. Consult the tide times and possible closure days via the following link: Tide times at Mont Saint Michel

 

View from the abbey
View from the abbey

Where to sleep

For my trip, I book a room at the Hotel Vert. The hotel is located 2.4 km from the center of Le Mont Saint Michel. They offer pastel-colored rooms with a private bathroom, TV and free Wi-Fi access. Guests can enjoy regional cuisine at the Vert’s restaurant, La Rotisserie. The hotel’s bar, L’Equinoxe, opens onto a private terrace. The Vert Hotel provides a 24-hour reception and private parking. There is also an on-site supermarket and souvenir shop. (Double room price 99€/night with breakfast).

 

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