Mont St Michel in France is a magical place that enchants tourists from around the world. No doubt is a destination you can’t miss! Its location is privileged, sometimes surrounded by water, like an island other times accessible by foot. This spectacular difference of the landscape happens because it’s situated in a bay where occurs the biggest difference between the low and high tides in Continental Europe: 49ft!
1) THE FAMOUS TIDES – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
Besides being a place of religious pilgrimage, the other big reason for the huge amount of visitors at Mont St Michel in France, is to watch the famous variation between tides. When it’s low tide, the sea water goes back 10 mi away from the coastline. French people say that when it starts to fill, it is so fast as a galloping horse.
TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE: TO WATCH THE CHANGE OF TIDES, YOU MUST GO IN SUMMER OR SPRING!
Ask at your hotel or take a look at the official website, to find out the best hours to watch this very interesting phenomenon, because it changes every day. It’s indispensable going in Spring or Summer. I recommend the end of August, when the busiest time is over and the difference of tides is still huge. That’s what we did last time. My first time in Mont St Michel in France was in December. The sightseeing was great, I loved it, but was frustrated by the fact that the sea was away from the shore all the time.
2) ELDERLY PEOPLE AND YOUNG CHILDREN – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
Take in consideration that Mont St Michel in France is not of easy access to anybody.
You will have to walk long distances and climb a lot of stairs to visit Mont St Michel in France. First of all: parking. If you are travelling with people who have limited mobility, arriving at the parking lot, drive until the end of it, next to the village in the continent, to let everyone get off the car. Now you park your car wherever you find a spot and walk.
Nevertheless, you will have to walk a short distance to the bus stop, where you will take the bus to Mont St Michel in France.
From the last bus stop until the entrance of the fortress, where you can find shops and restaurants, it’s about 437 yd, that you can only reach by foot.
Furthermore, if you decide to enter the abbey, that is paid, you will have to climb up and down lots of stairs…
3) THE FREE PART – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
The free part of Mont St Michel in France includes the entrance with the drawbridge, the pedestrian street where the shops and restaurants are located and I would say half the mountain climb, where you can still have a beautiful view.
4) THE PAID PART – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
You have to pay to enter the Abbey of Mont St Michel in France. The ticket booth is in the first room you reach after the upper gate. From there, you will get access to the terrace where the views are amazing, the church and the cloister.
These are the highlights, but there many more rooms with different purposes that are worth the visit.
5) CURIOSITIES – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
The River Cuesnon dam is next to Mont St Michel in France and can be visited by foot. It’s role is, when opened, letting the sea water get inside. Yes, that’s it. Go up the river. The level arises around 40cm and floods the pastures. The butter, naturally salted, made with the milk of the cows that live there, is used to bake cookies typical of this region. You must try them!
6) A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
Since 1979 classified as UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, Mont St Michel receives more than 3 millions of tourists per year. The long history of Mont St Michel has begun in the year of 708, when archbishop Avranches ordered to be built there a sanctuary honoring the archangel Miguel, transforming the Mont St Michel in France in a destination of pilgrimage.
Later, in the X Century, the benedictines made the abbey their home, while a village was growing around them. With the walls and fortifications, it resisted the English attacks during the 100 Years War. This way, Mont St Michel became a symbol of the French identity. Some years later, with the dissolution of the religious communities, during the Revolution, it turned out to be a prison.
7)SUMMER FESTIVAL OF MUSIC – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
Check the board of tides and, if possible, visit Mont St Michel in France in a beautiful summer afternoon.
Maybe you can combine the tides with the music. In several rooms, you will have the opportunity to watch very good musical performances of artists playing different instruments like harps and cellos. Wonderful. Magical atmosphere in a magical place.
8) THE SUNSET IS AMAZING – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
We watched the beginning of the sunset at the upper terrace of the abbey and the end, at a staircase in the small garden getting off the cloister. These are 02 privileged places. Tip: Take a picture as soon as you arrive at the terrace. Enjoy the views. Later, while you wait for the tide to rise, visit the church and the cloister. Return to the terrace to see the difference of the landscape with the higher level of sea water and the magnificent sunset.
9) WHERE TO EAT – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
The most famous options are the oysters of the restaurant La Vieille Auberge (take a table at the second floor to have a beautiful view) and the omelets of the restaurant Madame Poulard. At the last one, there is a window to the street, where you can watch them working in the kitchen, preparing the omelets. I had never seen someone beat eggs like they do…
TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE: IF YOU ARE STAYING TO WATCH THE SUNSET, HAVE DINNER BEFORE IT, TAKE A SNACK OR EAT LATER AT THE CITY, BECAUSE THE RESTAURANTS CLOSE EARLY AT MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE!
Pay attention to the hours of operation of the restaurants, because they close early. If you are staying to watch the sunset, you will have to eat before entering the abbey, because they will be all closed when you leave. Believe us. We went through this.
10) WHAT TO WEAR – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
As in almost all the tourists attractions in France, dress casually. Very important: Even in summer, take a jacket with you, because the wind is very strong up there, letting the real feel very low. Especially after sunset.
11) AT THE PARKING LOT – TIP OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
Pick the ticket up at the entrance and take it with you. When returning, you will have to pay it at one of the automatic machines next to the building that is located at the beginning of the parking, close to the village. The parking is huge. Be prepared to walk a lot.
12) WHERE YOU CAN PICK UP THE FREE BUS THAT WILL TAKE YOU FROM THE VILLAGE TO MONT ST MICHEL
Do you know the distance between the parking lot to the gates of Mont St Michel? It’s 1,5 mi ! That’s why you should take the bus. The bus stop is in front of the souvenir shop, in the main street of the village. Pay attention: It won’t pass by the covered stops in the parking lot. These are for the buses that go to the cities nearby.
13) WHERE TO STAY – TIPS OF MONT ST MICHEL IN FRANCE
Pay attention: There are only 03 hotels at Mont St Michel itself. The rest is in the continent, next to the parking lot. Most of them don’t even have a view of Mont St Michel.
At the 02 times we went to Mont St Michel in France, we stayed at the Bed and Breakfast Auf Fief des Amis du Mont em Roz-sur-Cuesnon. Reasons to stay there:
• Excellent cost/benefit;
• The owner, Madame Hildegard, is a very sweet and helpful lady;
• She speaks french, german and english;
• The rooms are very clean;
• Breakfast is delicious;
• Private parking;
• Free wifi;
• You can see Mont St Michel from every window of the rooms and bathrooms, including from inside the bathtub of the family room;
• The location is very good to visit Mont St Michel, Cancale, Dinan and St-Malo. All these cities will have their specific posts and deserve to be visited.
A great idea is to come from Paris to Mont St Michel. About Paris, we have already published 5 DAYS IN PARIS ITINERARY : BEST ATTRACTIONS! PART I and 5 DAYS IN PARIS ITINERARY : BEST ATTRACTIONS! PART II . Places for everybody: museums, nice views, gardens, luxury, gourmet food and much more.
Another option is CHRISTMAS IN PARIS ; WONDERFUL . Of course, you can visit the attractions in other seasons!
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