Here’s Your Guide To Visiting Mont Saint-Michel

Doable as a day trip, but recommended overnight to soak up all its true ambience.

If you’re staying more than a few days in Paris, seek out a fascinating getaway in Mont Saint-Michel. This location is the perfect mix of civilization and nature, and the proud icon standing out from the serene bay will leave you in awe. Scroll below for all the information you’ll need to make the best out of Mont Saint-Michel.


In 708, when Archbishop Aubert of Avranches was visited by the archangel St. Michel in his visions, he came up with the impossible idea to build an abbey on the island of Mont Tombe. The location was set almost 1 km off the mainland and required significant manpower to carry all the bricks and stones to construct it.

The monastery became a popular site of pilgrimage, due to its possession of translated texts of Aristotle and collected relics of St. Michel. Making the trip on foot was an act of devotion itself, in which visitors braved the possibility of being assaulted at any point by riptides and quicksand.

Over time, Mont Saint-Michel would also be used as a fortress because of its strategic location, and during the French Revolution, it would function as a prison for political dissidents. It was not until 1966 that pilgrimages resumed in Mont Saint-Michel. Currently, there is a neat boardwalk that connects the island to the mainland, and tourists are able to make a leisurely walk to the long-standing monastery.

Mont Saint-Michel at dusk
Mont Saint-Michel at dusk. Photo by Andre Ouellet on Unsplash


Situated 4 hours away from Paris by public transport, a day trip to Mont Saint-Michel is technically possible. The SNCF trains depart in the morning (at 7:32 AM) from Paris Montparnasse and requires you to transfer to a bus to take you the rest of the way. This will drop you off at a short distance away from the boardwalk leading to the island. From there, you can take the free shuttle bus to the island. It will be around noon when you are ready to explore. You will have about six hours to do everything if you’re on a day trip. The return bus departs at 6:04 PM, and you will take the same route to get back to Paris Montparnasse station.

We recommend staying one night in Mont Saint-Michel if you schedule allows. It will give you the space to truly enjoy the stunning views at daytime and nighttime. The surrounding natural scenery is something you simply can’t make the most out of if you’re checking your watch. Scroll below for some of our hotel recommendations.

One important thing to note is that buses to and from Mont St. Michel only run once every day. Be sure not to miss it, as you will have to resort to taking a taxi to the train station which will be significantly harsher on your wallet.

Mont Saint Michel
Photo by Rita Burza on Unsplash


The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel

L'Abbaye, 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel

If you only do one thing in Mont Saint-Michel, you have to visit the Abbey. The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is the whole reason everything else is there and it is a cultural spectacle in its own right. A Gothic structure, the Abbey was consistently built starting from the 8th century all the way to the 16th century. To reach the entrance, you have to do a little of an uphill climb of 200 meters through the narrow streets of the surrounding town. The highlight of the Abbey is on the second floor, also called the Marvel (La Merveille). It hosts the Cloisters, dining hall, and the Abbey Church. The Cloisters is a small garden closed off on all four sides by beautiful arched hallways and 220 iconic granite columns.

Grand Rue

Association Les Amis du Mont-Saint-Michel
FACEBOOK Association Les Amis du Mont-Saint-Michel

Take a slow stroll along the cobblestoned passageway flanked by shops, restaurants, and hotels — where all of the fun stuff happens on the island. Despite the variation of gifts and food offered in every corner of this street, you should expect Grand Rue to be packed with tourists, especially during the daytime when day-trippers from Paris are there.

The Bay

Walk down the hill and to the bay, which when on low tide, is a beautiful strip of sand that blends into marshland and grass. Sit with your buddies and watch the sunset in picnic style or race each other around the medieval ramparts — if you’re from the city, it’s sure to be a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Mont Saint-Michel bay
Mont Saint-Michel bay. Photo by Bas van Breukelen on Unsplash

The Boardwalk

The boardwalk — the walkway connecting the mainland to the island — deserves a mention by itself. The silhouette of the island against the sky is a marvel in any weather or time of day and will probably be the strongest image in your memory long after your trip. If you have the luxury to stay overnight, you can’t pass up stargazing from the middle of the boardwalk where it’s the least polluted by light. Most people will choose to take the shuttle bus at night, so there’s a high chance you can have the boardwalk all to yourselves and imagine being stranded in the middle of an exotic marshland.

Mont Saint-Michel bird's eye view
Mont Saint-Michel bird’s eye viewMont Saint-Michel bird’s eye view. FACEBOOK Ch Bgs


La Mère Poulard

BP 18 Grande Rue, 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel

The omelette is a staple of Mont Saint-Michel. Their omelette was first concocted by Anne Boutiaut Poulard, a local of the island in the 19th century, and is a simple yet elaborate fluff of egg that doesn’t contain any other distractions, like the vegetables and meats you would find in your everyday omelette. You can try it out for yourself in Poulard’s very own restaurant, La Mère Poulard, or in any of the numerous eateries on Grand Rue.

La Sirène Lochet

Grande Rue, 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel, France

It would be borderline tragic to leave Normandy without tasting local crêpes paired with refreshing cider from Normandy. One of the best places to go is La Sirène Lochet, where the ambiance is just as charismatic as its buckwheat galettes. From savory to sweet, the delicious treat is accompanied by the charm of a vintage 15th century building.


L’Ermitage Mont Saint Michel

14 Rte du Mont Saint-Michel, 50170 Beauvoir


The upscale hotel is situated 4 km from the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site. L’Ermitage Mont Saint Michel has seven gorgeous and cozy suites inside a 19th century architecture, making it the smallest five-star hotel in Europe. This is ideal for those looking for a luxurious stay, so don’t forget to try its resident restaurant La Table de L’Ermitage which features oysters from Normandy and its signature foie gras.

Mercure Mont Saint-Michel

Route du Mont St Michel, 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Accor Mont Saint-Michel Hotel Mercure
Accor Mont Saint-Michel Hotel Mercure. Credit: Accor Hotels

Hotel Mercure, part of the All Accor hotels, is one of the accommodation options that are located in the mainland instead of on the island of Mont Saint-Michel. The rooms of Mercure are spacey and full of natural light, and the lounge, terrace, and restaurant serve as extended spaces to unwind from a full day on the island. At night, you can head out to the boardwalk or the marshes to take in the beauty of the island’s skyline from afar — something that can’t be done if you’re staying overnight on the island. Click here to redirect to its website.

Auberge Saint-Pierre

Grande Rue, 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Auberge Saint Pierre Mont Saint-Michel
Auberge Saint-Pierre. Credit: Auberge Saint-Pierre

A traditional French inn sitting in the heart of the island, this wood-framed house is registered as a historical monument and dates back to the 15th century. Staying in a hotel located within the island, you have the luxury of spending a quiet night surrounded by its indescribable air of mystique. The restaurant serves traditional cuisine including omelettes. Click here to redirect to its website.

Lyon Nishizawa


Lyon is a lifelong traveler, who looks at each destination as her next classroom and playground. She is fascinated by the stories, music, and languages of the world. Her parents are Japanese, but she spent her childhood in multiple cultures and identifies as a third culture kid.

Jetset Times in your inbox

Sign-up for our newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy and European users agree to the data transfer policy.