Mont Saint-Michel is a French village of Normandy, located on a small hill where an abbey dedicated to Saint Michael, the Archangel, was built. A day trip to Mont Saint Michel from Paris is a must and you can easily experience most of the attractions in one day.
The beauty of the place is unquestionable: a charming, walled medieval village with an abbey at the top. Discover how you can make the most of your visit to Mont St-Michel.
A GUIDE TO VISITING MONT SAINT MICHEL FROM PARIS
Mont Saint Michel is France’s second most visited monument, only after the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It belongs to the United Nation’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
But what makes the France castle island so interesting and popular for tourists goes beyond history and architecture.
It is the living tidal event that really sets Mont St Michel apart, with abrupt rising and falling tide around the hill. The tidal phenomenon is an attraction in itself. Many travellers stop to see the waters reaching the village walls and transforming the mainland into an island.
If you like visiting historical sites combined with breathtaking nature, a day trip from Paris to Mont Saint Michel is a must!
Spending some time in Paris? Here are the Must See Paris Attractions
Things To Do In Mont Saint Michel
Walking through the narrow stone streets of a small medieval citadel at the base of the Abbey is the main tourist attraction in the Mount Saint Michel.
Besides the mandatory walk that visitors and monks have done throughout the 1000 years of existence, there are many other interesting things to see and do during your visit:
1 – Visit the Abbey
A real gem of medieval architecture, the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, which culminates at the top of the Mont, was a place of pilgrimage sacred from the eighth to the eighteenth century.
The Abbey comprises a superb ensemble of clerical buildings. It includes the abbey church, the cloister, the refectory, the monks’ ambulatory and the gardens known as the “Merveille” (Marvel), since the 12th century.
2 – Walk the Bay in the afternoon
You can take a bay walk tour with a local guide. This is a one and a half hour tour around the mount during low tide.
During the walk, the guide will share stories and explain the variation of the tides. As there is a lot of mud and some quicksand in places, you either need to go barefoot or wearing boots.
Note: It is not advisable to walk the bay on your own.
3 – Taste Normandy culinary
Finally, do not commit the heresy of leaving Mont Saint-Michel without trying at least one of their culinary specialties. Try one of their most famous dishes, the “Omelette de la mère Poulard”, a specialty of the Mère Poulard restaurant.
Other options are “Agneau de pre-salé” (lamb meat) or crepe, typical of Normandy in general.
You can easily see most of the main attractions in Mont St Michel unless you want to visit Saint Mallot city.
Things To Do In Mont Saint Michel With Kids
A day trip to Mont Saint Michel is a family-friendly adventure, and there are many activities the kids will enjoy while visiting this Normandy island village.
1 – Visit the Historical Museum
There are 1000 years of history in the exhibition in the Historical Museum.
You will learn about the monks who built the Abbey, the Mont Saint-Michel prisons, the famous periscope to discover the Bay. There is also a collection of ancient weapons, Middle Ages torture instruments, a person sinking in the quicksand, the iron cage of Louis XI, and the oubliettes. It’s all there.
If your children are older, they may enjoy their visit to the Historical Museum more. For younger children, you can purchase medieval swords and shields at souvenir shops for a little extra fun.
2 – Visit the walls
You can visit the walls, have lunch at one of the village restaurants and stroll down the bay. Make sure to be aware of the tidal schedule.
Afterwards, you can visit the little St. Peter’s church from the 15th century.
Tips for Visiting Mont Saint Michel With Kids
It is not impossible to explore the Mont and climb the stairs with kids pram or stroller.
However, if your child can walk themselves, it may be a more comfortable visit for your family. You can go on your own pace, and let the kid explore the corners of the walled city.
Alternatively, for younger children and babies, consider using a baby carrier instead.
Best Time To Visit Mont St Michel
If you have a hard time with low temperatures and freezing wind, I would recommend visiting between April and October.
In any case, Mount Saint-Michel is open year-round and some prefer to visit in winter when the place has a particular charm and fewer visitors.
Tip: Mont Saint-Michel receives more than 3 million tourists a year and is one of the most visited monuments in France. If you can avoid it, skip visiting on the weekends when crowds are largest.
How To Get To Mont St Michel From Paris
You have many options on how to get from Paris to Mont Saint Michel.
You can take a train, rent a car, bus or book through a Travel agency. As I only had one day, I booked a Mont Saint Michel tour through a travel agency. This saved the trouble of renting cars or taking public transportation.
For a Mont St-Michel day trip from Paris, you leave your Paris accommodation around 7:30 a.m. and you are back in the city around 7:30 p.m.
How To Visit Mont Saint-Michel On Your Own
The train to Mont St-Michel takes approximately 4 hours from Montparnasse station. Take the train to the city of Rennes, then catch a bus to Mont Saint Michel.
Tip: Purchase your ticket in advance to guarantee the best prices.
If travelling from Paris to Mont Saint Michel by car, the time it takes to arrive will depend on the road you choose. It is possible to go through cities such as Giverny or Caen, which will change the time it takes for the drive.
The Paris to Mont Saint Michel drive time is approximately 4 hours each way.
The bus to Mont Saint-Michel is the cheapest option, but it is also the longest. The trip takes around 4 hours and 45 minutes.
You can book with the bus company OuiBus.
Planning Your Mont Saint-Michel Visit
Opening Hours: The Mont Saint-Michel abbey is open every day except 1st of January, 1st of May and 25th of December.
Ticket Prices: Full price 10€; Reduced price for 18-25 years old non-residents of the EU 8€. The Abbey has free entrance for anyone under 18 years of age visiting with their family.
- Museum of history: Old collections (weapons, paintings, sculptures, watches), prisons and dungeons, the 19th-century periscope which reveals the bay.
- Maritime and ecology museum: Discover the tides, the bay and the massive building site to restore the maritime character of the Mont Saint-Michel.
- Tiphaine’s house: Discover the 14th-century residence that Bertrand Duguesclin had built-in 1365 for his wife Tiphaine (furniture, paintings, tapestries).
- Archeoscope: A show to discover the construction of this fabulous monument and its sacred history.
Rates to visit Mont Saint Michel and Museums:
- Prices for 4 museums: Adults from 25 years old: 18 €; Adults between 18 and 25 years old: 12€.
- Prices for 2 museums (valid during winter closure): Adults from 25 years old: 12€; Adults between 18 and 25 years old: 9€.
- Price for 1 museum: Adults from 18 years old: 9 €; Adults between 18 and 25 years old: 4 €.
- Under 18 years old: Free of charge
- Tickets available at the entrance of the museums or buy online.
Adding a visit to Mont Saint Michel will enrich your trip to Paris and France. You can take a day trip, or you can extend your visit to the Normandy region.
Mont Saint Michel Hotels
If you want to stay longer, check out the best Mont St Michel hotels on the island and explore further into this unique Normandy village and surrounds:
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