Paris

Everything You Need to The Perfect Day Trip From Paris to Mont St. Michel

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!

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.

paris to mont st. michel

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


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!

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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

paris to mont saint 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

paris to mont saint michel

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

paris to mont saint michel - 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


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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  


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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.
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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


paris to 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.

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