Le Mont St. Michel is a fairytale island commune located off the coast of Normandy, France. The image of Le Mont St. Michel with its dramatic spires and abbey, majestically rising from the bare beach is quite famous – after all, Le Mont St. Michel sees nearly 3 million people each year and is one the most recognizable landmarks in France.
Built in the 8th century AD by Bishop Aubert of Avranches as a devotional chapel, following his vision of the Archangel Michael, the island has held strategic fortifications and has withstood many sieges and attacks. Located just over three hours from Paris, visiting this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site is the perfect way to spend your day!
Quick Jumplinks to Navigate the Guide
- Why You Must Visit Mont St. Michel
- Paris to Mont St. Michel Tour Tickets
- Going From Paris to Mont St. Michel
- Exploring Mont St. Michel - Don't Miss Out On These!
- Mont Saint Michel Abbey Reviews
- Choosing Between Self Visits & Guided Tours
- Best Time to Visit Mont St Michel
- Tips for Your Visit to Mont Saint Michel from Paris
- Other Day Trips from Paris
Why You Must Visit Mont St. Michel
It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes Mont St. Michel special – is it the location, set in the bare sand with the receding tide with its marvelous spires brushing the sky? Is it the Bay of Mont St. Michel, across which pilgrims used to make the arduous journey to visit the chapel by foot during low tide? Or is it the abbey, its interior adorned with arches and cloisters, once a renowned centre of learning that attracted the greatest minds from all over Europe? Maybe it's all of that and more that makes this religious and military masterpiece one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places in the world.
Visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an experience that can’t be compared with any other. Walking along the footbridge connecting the island to the mainland, and looking out to the glimmering water is an experience you will cherish forever. Depending on the time of day you visit, you'll either be welcomed by a low tide and exposed sands or a high tide with the abbey jutting dramatically out of the sea. There’s lots to explore and experience here - you can walk along the cobblestone lanes and discover an abbey, museums, restaurants and a charming village. More than 60 buildings on the island are protected in France as monuments historiques.
A Brief History of Mont St. Michel
The treasury of history and enigma that is Mont St. Michel has a special place in the hearts of the French, not only for its architectural and symbolic significance but also for the cultural and historic importance of the Abbey. The Abbey of Mont St. Michel was even used as a prison at one point of time by Louis XI, and housed high-profile political prisoners. It is the story weaved through the structures of this island that make it a must-visit.
Paris to Mont St. Michel Tour Tickets
Mont St. Michel's Abbey Full Day Trip from Paris with Optional Audioguide
Stroll through the picturesque streets of the Medieval city and gain entry to the Abbey to see the cloister, galleries and refectory. With round-trip transportation in a bus with air conditioning, a tour assistant to help you along the way, and an optional audio-guided tour, this day trip is the perfect way to explore Mont St. Michel!
- Travel from Paris to Mont St. Michel and back in a luxury air-conditioned coach.
- Enjoy free time for lunch at the foot of the village before taking a shuttle to Mont St. Michel.
- Gain entry to the famous Abbey and admire its medieval architecture, cloister, galleries and refectory.
- Go on a self-guided tour or upgrade to an audio-guided tour, available in 8 languages (French, English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).
- Duration Of Tour : 14 Hours
- Tour start time : 7:15 AM
- Nature of Tour : Audio Guided Tour
Mont St. Michel Full Day Guided Tour from Paris
Explore the magical city of Mont Saint Michel off the shores of Normandy and learn more about the Medieval roots of the city from your expert English speaking guide. Visit the famous abbey of Mont Saint Michel and marvel at the elegant ancient architecture.
- Travel to/ from Paris to Mont Saint Michel and back in a luxurious air-conditioned bus.
- Gain express entry into the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel.
- An expert English-speaking guide will accompany you on the tour and point out all the interesting aspects of the island.
- Audio headsets will be provided at all appropriate locations and groups will be restricted to 25 or fewer tourists to ensure a wholesome and immersive experience.
- Duration Of Tour : 14 Hours
- Tour start time : 7:00 AM
- Nature of Tour : Expert English Guide Lead Tour
Mont St. Michel Full Day Guided Tour with Lunch from Paris
Explore Mont St. Michel on a guided tour, available in 5 languages. Benefit from transport from Paris to Mont St. Michel and back in a luxury bus with air conditioning. Enjoy an authentic French lunch and gain entry to the island's famous Abbey, featuring a cloister, galleries and a refectory.
- Benefit from hassle free transport from Paris to Mont St. Michel and back in a luxury air-conditioned vehicle.
- Gain express entry into the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel.
- Gain entry to the famous Abbey explore its cloister, galleries and refectory with your tour guide.
- Relish traditional French cuisine during lunch at a local restaurant.
- End your visit with free time to explore the island and admire the views of the bay.
- Duration Of Tour : 14 Hours
- Tour start time : 7:15 AM
- Nature of Tour : Expert Guided Tour Available in English, Spanish, Italian, Portugese and Chinese
Going From Paris to Mont St. Michel
Distance From Paris: 360 km (224 miles)
Time Taken: 4 hours 10 minutes
Train From Paris to Mont St Michel
TGV or Train A Grand Vitesse – Take a TGV from Paris’ Gare Montparnasse to Rennes, from where Keolis buses travel to Mont St. Michel up to four times a day. The entire journey should take you around 3 hours and twenty minutes. You can also change trains at Rennes for the Pontorson-Mont St-Michel train station. Once you arrive at the edge of the mainland, you can either take a free shuttle or walk across the 900 m long causeway (Pont Passerelle) that connects the mainland to the island.The shuttle will cost you €2 shuttle one way.
Paris to Mont St. Michel by Car
For those arriving by car, there is a dedicated car park on the mainland, 1.5 miles away from the island to preserve the maritime beauty of the place. Once you have parked, you will have to walk to the Place des Navettes and board the free shuttle that will take you to the island. Place des Navettes is 800m from the car park and the shuttles stop 450m away from the island itself, so there is a fair bit of walking involved too. The shuttles operate evey day from 7:30 AM to midnight.
Guided Tours from Paris to Mont St. Michel
Most day trips to Paris begin with a pick up in Paris at the break of dawn. With round-trip transportation from Paris to Mont St. Michel and back, an organized day trip from Paris to Mont St. Michel allows you to skip the hassle of arranging your own journey to this popular destination. With an expert local guide giving you company through the day, bask in the knowledge they impart and visit the best of Mont St. Michel. Couple your experience with a traditional French lunch to top it all off, and you've had yourself a terrific day worth every penny and your while!
Exploring Mont St. Michel - Don't Miss Out On These!
While entrance to the island is free, you will require a ticket in order to visit the iconic Abbey at the crown of the rocky island. The island is the permanent home to around 50 people (including monks) but there are numerous hotels and restaurants in the commune that serve the 3 million tourists visiting the island every year. Most people prefer to explore the island during the day and return to the mainland. However, despite being an expensive affair (budget stays at €200), the experience of exploring the island and the surrounding areas at night and early morning away from the crowd is a magical experience in itself.
Most people set off on a day trip from Paris, which takes about 14 hours ( including travel to and fro) which gives one plenty of time to explore the town of Mont St. Michel and visit the Abbey. We'd recommend that too!
While you're in Mont St. Michel, here's all that you should explore.
Amble about the streets of Mont St. Michel
From afar, as you walk the causeway and approach the island, the emphatic views of the abbey will leave you wanting to reach the top. However, the moment you enter the walls of the commune and find yourself surrounded by medieval houses lining narrow cobble-stoned streets that wind their up the rocky island, you will immediately be transported to the magical worlds of ancient fairy tales. In fact, the streets of Mont St. Michel resemble Diagon Alley from Harry Potter more than any other place in the world. The main road up the entrance to the abbey is the Grand Rue.
Take the Grand Degré Steps
The Grand Degré is the name of the iconic set of stairs that lead up to the abbey from the Grand Rue. Like many who take the pilgrimage, climbing up the stairs to the abbey and the surrounding walls will provide you with stunning views of the monastery's grand architecture as well as beautiful panormaic views of the surrounding bay and countryside.
Step inside the Mont St. Michel Abbey
The history of the abbey is as varied as the tides that roll in and out every day. The Gothic abbey was built bit by bit. For example, the Romanesque style church within it was built around 1060, whilst Charles VI is believed to have been responsible for its fortification between the 13th and 14th centuries. Towards the end of the Ancien Régime, the Abbey was used as a prison, as by the French Revolution, most monks had moved out of the Abbey.
The prison closed by 1863, but it wasn’t until 1922 that the monks moved back in. Today, the Benedictine monks have been replaced by some from the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem. During the Medieval period, the Abbey was one of the main centres for Christian pilgrims. With over 1.5 million visitors a year, the Mont Saint Michel Abbey is one of the most popular cultural sites in France for tourists.
Mont Saint Michel Abbey Reviews
We went here as part of a day trip from Paris. It was a lot of driving but totally worth it and was one of my France highlights. The Abby itself is spectacular and the views are wonderful, Very easy access as there is a long road connecting the Mont to the mainland. We were bussed there and we walked back taking in the views
In pictures it's nice... but being there is amazing. take your time to climb it all and to see all the rooms and spaces of the abbey.
Choosing Between Self Visits & Guided Tours
While exploring Mont St. Michel by yourself may be liberating and fun, there are significant advantages to booking a guided tour.
Company of a guide: While the guided tour includes a friendly guide, a self-guided tour obviously will not. If you plan on learning more about the history and the intricacies of the Abbey and the island, it may be best to pick a guide who can ensure that you get the best learning experience.
History, facts and stories: The main disadvantage to not having a guide is that you may be at risk of missing out on exciting aspects of the Abbey. A guide will know what parts of the Abbey just cannot be missed, and will ensure that you pick up on all of its subtleties.
Hassle-free: While opting for a self-guided tour may seem cheaper, a guide will help you to plan your trip in a way that is most convenient for you. Also, since some tours include lunch, you will be saved the trouble of having to find a place to eat.
Safety: Safety is a priority for both variants of tours. However, picking a guide may ensure extra safety as the guide, a professional, can ensure that you adhere to all safety rules and regulations, and can advice against anything that may seem unsafe.
Meet like-minded travelers: Whether you're traveling solo or traveling with friends and family; it's always nice to meet other travelers who share the same interests as you. On a guided tour from Paris to Mont St. Michel, you're likely to meet more like minded travelers who might just make your visit to Paris all the more special!
Best Time to Visit Mont St Michel
The best time to visit Mont St Michel is in November, early December, late January, February and March, in order to avoid long weekends and the summer holidays. Make sure you visit the Abbey first thing in the morning orlate afternoon (post 3PM) to avoid crowds.
Tips for Your Visit to Mont Saint Michel from Paris
- If you’d like to stay on Mont St. Michel overnight, be sure to remember that hotels on the island can often be quite expensive. However, the advantage to doing this is walking around the island at night and early morning before the crowd comes in.
- Similarly, if you’re looking to save money on food, carry a picnic lunch or book a guided tour that has lunch included in it. Food is quite expensive in Mont St. Michel since it is quite the touristy town!
- Instead of taking the shuttle from the outpost of Mont St. Michel, walk! The journey should take you around 30 minutes, is on flat ground, and is quite a beautiful walk.
- Free luggage lockers are available at the tourist information center at the parking lots on the mainland.
Other Day Trips from Paris
Paris to Normandy
On June 6th 1944, The Allies stormed Normandy on the fateful day known as D-Day. Thanks to the incredible sacrifices of the allied forces, the Germans lost control of Utah and Omaha Beach, allowing for allied occupation. You will be able to view first hand an original B-26 plane at the Utah Beach museum located in an old German bunker; a 17th century barn in Normandy amongst the apple orchards; amazing views at the Pointe du Hoc; and even an American cemetery where soldiers are buried.
Start your tour in central Paris and travel through the French countryside in a comfortable air-conditioned coach as you learn from your friendly guide about the intricacies and tales of World War II.
Read all about taking a day trip from Paris to Normandy.
Popular Tours From Paris to Normandy
Paris to Versailles
Versailles is one of France’s largest palaces, and has an immense cultural and historic significance. Experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site at its finest via a luxury coach from Paris, with special skip-the-line access to both the Palace and its beautiful gardens. Not only was Versailles once home to Kings of France Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI as well as Queen Marie Antoinette, but it was also plays host to the Hall of Mirrors with its 17 windows and 350 mirrors. Explore all this with a friendly guide and handy headsets via this tour!
Read all about taking a day trip from Paris to Versailles.
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Paris to Giverny
Art and nature come together in the picturesque village of Giverny. The village made famous by the legendary impressionist artist Monet, is where he spent the last 40 years of his life and created his most iconic paintings. It is here that Monet lovingly created a home and studio, from where he would paint the vivid colors of his Clos Normand garden, the lotus pond, and the Japanese garden. Just 75 km away from Paris, Giverny is an ideal stop to explore the muse and inspiration of generations of Impressionist artists and Monet himself.
Read all about taking a day trip from Paris to Giverny.
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Paris to Reims
Explore Reims, and glance into its lavish history and royal traditions. Enjoy some of the best champagnes in the world during your tour, and get a brief history of the iconic monuments in Reims. The tour begins early and takes you through the Mumm Champagne house for a first hand experience of champagne making and tasting. Embark on a journey dominated by taste-buds as you explore Reims’ world-famous delicacies, including the White Pudding, during your tour.
Read all about taking a day trip from Paris to Reims.
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Paris to Loire Valley
If you looking for an extravagant getaway within France, Loire Valley is just a train ride away from Paris. This picturesque stretch nestled between the frontiers of Northern and Southern France was once best known for its strategic importance. Apart from its rich yesteryears, Loire Valley still attracts several visitors who wish to catch a first hand experience of culture, art and splendour in a single trip. Moreover, wine tasting in Loire Valley is quite the fad, and Loire Valley Wine Tours from Paris are immensely popular.
Read all about taking a day trip from Paris to Loire Valley.