The Majestic Mont-Saint-Michel
by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | June 3rd, 2018
France is definitely one of my favorite countries in the world, I just can't get enough of it. The culture, the sights, the language, the cuisine - everything French resonates with my soul. During my latest visit I wanted to explore France more off the beaten path. I wanted to get outside of Paris and see smaller towns and places I had never been to before.
Mont St-Michel was my first stop. I have to say, it is one of the most impressive sights I've ever seen. I was blown away by the beauty of this majestic monument.
How to Get There
Located in France's Normandy region, Mont St-Michel is about 350 km / 220 miles outside of Paris. The best ways to get there are by car, train, or bus.
I found it to be an easy, hassle-free 4 hour car ride straight from the Eiffel Tower to Mont St-Michel's car park. The car park charges a fee depending how long you stay. I was there for a good three hours and I paid around 7€. From the car park, attendants guide you towards the free shuttles. Hop on a shuttle, and five to ten minutes later, arrive at Mont St-Michel. If you prefer to walk, it should take you around thirty minutes. Another option is a horse drawn carriage, which charges around 6€ / per person each way.
If you arrive by bus, then you will be dropped off at the car park area. From there, hop on the free shuttle or walk to Mont St-Michel.
If you want to take the train to Mont St-Michel from Paris these are your best options...
TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes or Dol de Bretagne, then a coach from Rennes or Dol de Bretagne to Mont-Saint-Michel.
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.
What to Do
Explore! You'll find shops, restaurants, houses, and one gorgeous Abbey on Mont St-Michel. The best way to see the island is just to wander around. Grab lunch at one of the tiny restaurants, pop into some shops, and view the Abbey's stunning medieval architecture. If you visit during low tide, you can walk along the mudflats that surround Mont St-Michel to get a completely different perspective.
Where to Stay
Mont St-Michel is an easy day trip from Paris but if you're looking to spend the night, I recommend the Hotel Croix Blanche or Auberge Saint-Pierre. Both are located on the island and get great reviews on TripAdvisor.
When to Go
The best time to visit Mont St-Michel is from May to September when temperatures are sitting comfortably around 60°F and 70°F. It is a very rainy and windy area, so be sure to pack an umbrella and jacket even during the nice weather days. The months of October to April can be cold, rainy, and blustery. The crowds are very light during this time of the year, so if you don't mind the frequent damp, chilly weather this can be a wonderful time to visit.
Another thing to check before heading to Mont St-Michel is the tide schedule. During low tide, visitors are able to walk around the monument and explore the mudflats. During high tide, Mont St-Michel becomes an island and visitors can only walk along the raised boardwalk. Both high and low tide have their advantages and disadvantages so, if possible, I recommend seeing this gorgeous sight during both.