Visit the Mont-Saint-Michel
An hour's drive from the town of Saint-Malo, Mont-Saint-Michel is on the border with Brittany. And you have to visit Mont-Saint-Michel once in your life. The island has the highest tide difference between ebb and flow in Europe. Mont-Saint-Michel has been a World Heritage Site since 1979 UNESCO. Together with the Eiffel Tower, it is the national pride of France. More than 3 million people come to Normandy to visit Mont-Saint-Michel every year. From our rental house in the municipality of Plévenon, it was an hour and 20 min drive.
Parking near the information office
You can visit Mont-Saint-Michel on foot about a 2.5km long pedestrian bridge (35min), counting from the visitor center near the parking. The parking is not for free. Parking in the low season costs 9.10 euros and 14.20 euros in the high season (2020). You may be there for a full 24 hours. There is a free shuttle service (the passeur) just in front of the tourist information office (Center d'Information Touristique) next to the parking leaves. It was not cold that day (12 degrees) and I actually regretted that we took the shuttle.
Shuttle bus to Mont Saint-Michel
The shuttle bus was quite full when we left but stopped at the souvenir shops again. About 30 people were waiting at the stop, some with mouth masks, all of whom still had to be taken on board. In times of the Corona Virus we didn't like the idea of being stuffed together like sardines in a can. Fortunately, I did not see any flu symptoms later. There is also the option of paying for a horse tram (the maringote) that also goes to the entrance gate. At the moment (June 17) it is quite quiet and during the week you are not obliged to wear a mouth mask. It is on weekends mandatory to wear a mouth mask. You can easily make mouth masks yourself. In most shops you will find disinfectant gel.
The dike (1877) to Mont Saint-Michel was recently renovated in 2014 and was successful. The wooden pedestrian path next to the road is in a bend. It offers a constant panoramic view of the island and the bay. The bus takes about 10 minutes and stops about 350 meters from the entrance. You may enter The Mont-Saint-Michel free via Porte de l'Avancée, but all sights such as the museums and the abbey are charged.
Visit the Mont-Saint-Michel during spring break
Tickets can be online and purchased online. Note: Free tickets can not be purchased online I suspect it might be interesting to buy tickets in advance in high season online, but we bought the tickets during this early spring break (late February) at the box office. Nobody walked in front of us and also there wasn't a Queue. There was someone in every room, but we certainly did not find it busy in the abbey. Visiting Mont-Saint-Michel during early spring break is therefore highly recommended.
Access to "Le Mont"
As you pass through the entrance gates “Porte de l'Avancée " and "Porte du Roi ”, You immediately enter a busy shopping street“Grande Rue and is full of souvenir shops. The Grande Rue used to be a narrow pilgrim road to the top of Mont-Saint-Michel, namely to the abbey.
Restaurants, tea rooms and cafes are also plentiful. I had read somewhere that the prices would skyrocket and it would even be up to 3 times more expensive than usual. Actually, we found the prices to be the same as those in other towns along the Breton coast, like on our walk to Cap d 'Erquy or Cancale. During our visit to Mont-Saint-Michel we saw prices such as for example mussels with chips at 19 euros. You will no longer find that in Ostend, Belgium. The prices for soft drinks or beer were too expensive everywhere in Brittany. In retrospect, instead of eating in our rental house, we had better planned a lunch during our visit to Mont-Saint-Michel.
Visit the Abbey
At the end of the steeply ascending street “Grande Rue” you come to a staircase that leads to the abbey church. Enter through the large gates and you will come to the cash registers after 200 meters. From there you follow the route through a tunnel and go up even more stairs to the abbey. Enjoy the view at the top left of the stairs. Through the gate at the top of the stairs you enter the large western terrace which offers a panoramic view of the bay. The terrace was created by demolishing part of the church. From the terrace there is access to the abbey church.
The name "La MerveilleMeans translated into English “The miracle, Which it actually is. The granite pieces of stone used to build the abbey and the “La Merveille” part must not have been an easy job. The difference at low and high tide, which is the strongest in Europe here, did not make it any easier to build an abbey of this size.
In this section you will find the lobby, the dining room, the knight's hall en the cloister. The result can be admired all year round, but it is best to go outside the high season.
Do you know: In the year 708, the archangel Michael is said to have appeared three times in the dream of Aubert, the then bishop of Avranches. Michael is said to have asked him to build a church on the island, which was then still connected to the mainland. After a storm, the peninsula would have become an island, as we know it today. Aubert first had a chapel built on the island in honor of Archangel Michael. Later the church, monastery and abbey were built.
Tip 1: Back entrance as exit
Exit through the back entrance. You not only have a unique view of the abbey, but also from the north terrace you can enjoy a magnificent view of the sea and the small island of Tombelaine (see tip2). At the foot of Mont-Saint-Michel you can see the small chapel from the terrace in the cloister garden down on the rocks. Chapelle St-Aubert..
Tip 2: Walk to Tombelaine
Walking tours in the bay are organized to the islet of Tombelaine north of Mont-Saint-Michel. You can walk around the Mont at low tide, but that is not recommended. In some places there is quicksand, in which you could get stuck and at fast-rising water (10km / h) drown. Walks with guide can be booked at Paths of the Bay are booked. If you want to visit the small island in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, it is best to do the tide chart .
Tip 3: Go back through the fortress wall
Via the back entrance you come back to the stairs that give access to the abbey. Do not go back via Grande Ruebut take the route on the fortress walls (13th-14th centuries). Start at the "Tour du Nord" viewpoint and walk all the way back to the entrance via the fortress wall. This route is less crowded then via Grande Rue and offers a nice view of the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. You will not regret it.
Abbey opening hours
The entrance fee for the abbey is 11 euros per person and free under 25 years old.
Openingsuren: Open every day from 9.30am to 18.00pm
Except from May 2 to August 31:
open from 9.00am to 19.00pm
Visit Fort La Latte 🏰
If you liked visiting the Mont-Saint-Michel, you will Fort La Latte on the Côte d'Armor love it too. We reached the fort via a beautiful walk along the coast from Cap Fréhel and leads along the beautiful Breton coast to Fort La Latte. You can also park your car at the free parking lot of Fort La Latte.