Visiting Mont Saint-Michel - everything you need to know

Visiting Mont Saint-Michel: everything you need to know

Mont Saint-Michel is one of the biggest tourist attractions in France. Is visiting Mont Saint-Michel high on your bucket list? Prepare yourself before you go!

About the Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island in Normandy with a medieval abbey. Because of its photogenic site and history, this is one of the most popular sights in France.

The island lies about a kilometer off the coast at the mouth of a river called Couesnon. The bay in which Mont Saint-Michel lies has the largest tidal range in Europe. The difference between low and high tide is ten to fifteen meters.

Therefore, the island used to be accessible only at low tide, then you could walk across the mud flats to the island. In 2014, a bridge to the island was built, so now the island is always accessible.

The access road to Mont Saint-Michel.

Clergy have lived on the island since the eighth century, and initially, only a small church stood there. Construction of the present abbey began in the thirteenth century. It was strengthened and enlarged in later centuries.

Mont Saint-Michel and the surrounding bay have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

Would you like to visit Mont Saint-Michel? Keep on reading to learn more about accessibility, Mont Saint-Michel attractions, and the best places to stay.

How do you get to Mont Saint-Michel?

Mont Saint-Michel is easily accessible by (rental) car, train, and guided tour.

By car to Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel is easily accessible by car.

  • From Le Mans, turn off at Laval toward Fougères and then follow the signs to Mont Saint-Michel.
  • From Caen, follow the A84 and take the exit for Mont Saint-Michel at exit D40.

The last stretch to the parking lot can get a little crowded because it is a fairly narrow road.

TIP! Need a rental car for your tour in France? Check Rental Cars or Discover Cars to find the best deals.

The Mont Saint Michel as seen from the car

Parking at Mont Saint-Michel

Just before Mont Saint-Michel is a huge parking lot. There are different parking rates. For a regular car, it is €9.80 per 24 hours in the low season (October to March) and €15 per 24 hours in the high season (April to September). Prices in 2022.

Shuttle buses (free) leave from the parking lot to Mont Saint-Michel, but you can also walk to the island (about 3 kilometers, so about 30-40 minutes).

Getting to Mont Saint-Michel by public transportation

How to get to Mont Saint-Michel by public transportation? Take the train to nearby Pontorson. From here you can take a shuttle bus to Mont Saint-Michel. It costs €3.10 (one way, price 2022).

However, the bus does not go very often, so if you want to get to the island quickly you can also take a cab or opt for Bla Bla Car (rideshare).

🚂 Book your train tickets through Rail Europe.

🚘 Make a reservation for Bla Bla Car through Omio.

Go on a guided tour to Mont Saint-Michel

Are you staying in Paris and want to make things as easy as possible for yourself? Then book an organized tour to Mont Saint-Michel. This way, you don’t have to think about transportation and also get information from a knowledgeable guide.

There are many different tours to Mont Saint-Michel. Here are a few recommendations:

Would you like to check out all tours and prices? Check Get Your Guide and Viator for more options.

What to do on Mont Saint-Michel?

You now know how to get there, so what to do when you’re visiting Mont Saint-Michel? Here are some tips & the most beautiful sights.

Uitzicht vanaf de Mont Saint Michel op het wad

Visit the Information Center

In the middle of the parking lot is a large modern information center. Here you can view exhibits about the island and ask questions. The information center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are also restrooms at the building which are open 24 hours a day. A good place to start your visit to Mont Saint-Michel!

Abbey La Merveille

The abbey (La Merveille) is the highlight of your visit to Mont Saint-Michel. It is highly recommended to visit the abbey. It is a very big complex and you also have beautiful views of the island and the bay.

Buy your tickets for the Abbey here

Chapelle Saint-Aubert

Chapelle Saint-Aubert is a small chapel behind the abbey and is a bit hidden. It is very photogenic and it is not crowded here at all. A great place to find some peace and quiet.

Chapelle Saint-Aubert op de Mont Saint-Michel

The four museums

Would you like to learn more about Mont Saint-Michel and the surrounding area? There are four small museums you can visit:

  • Maritime museum – here you will learn more about the tides.
  • Musée Historique – learn more about the island’s history here.
  • Logis Tiphaine – historic house from the fourteenth century. Here you can see how Bertrand du Guesclin (a knight) and his wife Tiphaine de Raguenel (astrologer) lived.
  • Archéoscope – kind of movie experience about the history of Mont Saint-Michel.

Buy your combination ticket for the four museums here.

Wander through the medieval streets

Around the abbey are several beautiful medieval streets that are great fun to discover. Here you will find several restaurants and many (souvenir) shops. One of the most famous restaurants is La Mère Poulard, this used to be a well-known place to order a special omelet.

Don’t forget to walk up the steps, then you usually arrive at a quieter part of the island and you’ll discover some beautiful vistas.

Trappen op de Mont Saint-Michel

Mudflat hiking around Mont Saint-Michel

At low tide, you can go mudflat walking around Mont Saint-Michel, and this is a special experience! Be very careful because of the tides, the water rises quickly.

Would you like to do some mudflat hiking, and do you like to be on the safe side? Make sure to book a guided tour. This way you can enjoy this special activity with peace of mind.

Wadlopen bij de Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel tickets

Do you need tickets for the Mont Saint-Michel? No, you do not need tickets if you want to visit Mont Saint-Michel.

If you want to see the abbey and the museums, you will need tickets. It is best to order these before your visit, this way you can skip the lines.

Good to know: up to the age of 18 you have free access to the abbey. You can also enter for free if you are under 26 years old and have a resident of the EU or a valid visa. So bring your ID or passport with you. Visitors with a disability (and guidance) can also enter the abbey free of charge.

One last budget tip: the abbey is free to visit on the first Sunday of the month from November to March.

Best Mont Saint-Michel hotels

What are the best places to stay near Mont Saint-Michel? A few recommendations:

  • Hôtel la Croix Blanche (3⭐) – There are a few hotels and inns on Mont Saint-Michel and the cozy Hôtel la Croix Blanche is one of them.
  • Mercure Mont Saint Michel (4⭐) – There are also several hotels near the parking lot. The Mercure hotel has modern and spacious rooms. The restaurant at the hotel serves delicious fish dishes.
  • Etoile des Grèves – Waking up with a view of the Mont Saint-Michel? That is possible in Etoile des Grèves! This is a Bed & Breakfast in the meadows with a beautiful view of the island.

Check Booking.com for more options, availability, and prices. Book early, the rooms in this region sell out quickly.

Frequently asked questions

What else do you need to know before visiting Mont Saint-Michel? These are some frequently asked questions.

When is the best time to visit Mont Saint-Michel?

It can get very busy at Mont Saint-Michel. The island is visited by no less than 3.5 million people every year.

How can you avoid the crowds? Come outside the high season. May, June, September and October are good months to visit Mont Saint-Michel.

Are you stuck with the high season? Go as early as possible or in the late afternoon when the day trippers are gone.

How much time do you need to visit Mont Saint-Michel?

Want to get the most out of your visit? Then your visit to Mont Saint-Michel will take about three to five hours.

However, it is advisable to spend the night on or near the island. At the end of the day and in the morning it is nice and quiet. In addition, the island is very beautifully lit at night.

What are the opening hours of Mont Saint-Michel?

The Mont Saint-Michel is open 24 hours a day. The abbey has different opening times throughout the year, but is open daily from 9.30 am to 6 pm. The abbey is closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25.

Can you visit Mont Saint-Michel with a dog?

Yes, you can visit the island with a dog, but it must be on a leash. Dogs are not allowed inside the church or abbey unless they are a guide dog.

Read more about a vacation in France

These were all my tips for the Mont Saint-Michel! Would you like to visit more beautiful places in France besides Mont Saint-Michel? Here are some great travel guides full of tips:

Moon Normandy & Brittany: With Mont-Saint-Michel

Fodor’s Essential France

You can also find more information about a trip to France on this website. You might also like to read these articles:

I also regularly share fun travel stories, and tips for the most beautiful destinations in my monthly newsletter. Subscribe now.

Visiting Mont Saint-Michel - tips France

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Co

Hi! I'm Co from The Netherlands and slightly addicted to travel. I leave my home country at least six months a year to hike a long-distance trail, explore amazing European cities by train, or for an unforgettable USA road trip.

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