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MONT SAINT MICHEL FAQ`S

Where is Mont St. Michel?

Mont St Michel stands just off the Normandy and Brittany’s coasts in northwest France. Le Mont-Saint-Michel is an island and mainland commune in Normandy. The island is located about a half mile off the country’s northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches. It occupies 17 acres of land. The mainland part of the commune is 971 acres.

How do I get to Mont Saint Michel?

You can no longer drive along the causeway. A car park has been built on the mainland (about €14 per car and is good for 24 hours) and access to the mount is either on foot across the causeway (about a mile), or by one of the free Passeur shuttle buses which run frequently from 7:30am to 12:00am. However, there is quite a long walk from the car park to the shuttle stop and at the mount end there is a walk of several hundred feet to the entrance. The causeway has been completely demolished and the buses are now crossing to the mount via a bridge.

How do I get to Mont Saint Michel by public transportation?

There are no direct train services between Paris and Mont St-Michel, but you can travel by train to Pontorson and then take a bus for the last leg of the journey, the bus ride takes about 20 minutes. The best option is the TGV from Gare Montparnasse to Rennes, where a bus run by Keolis Emeraude offers a 90-minute transfer to the island - there are 4 departures from Rennes per day. Most of the departures are scheduled to match the arrival of the TGV in Rennes but it is always best to check the timing for last minute changes. The bus station is located just outside the Rennes train station. The bus is about €12.70 (children under 12 are free). Bus tickets can be purchased with the driver when boarding the bus, and in advance at the bus terminal.

All buses stop at the car park, where you can transfer to the free Passeur shuttle to get close to the base of the mount. Intercity Illenoo buses at the Rennes train station allow you to connect to other cities and towns in the region.

Taxis are extremely expensive for long journeys, unless you can split the fare with other travelers. A one-way taxi trip from Mont St-Michel to Rennes will cost around €135+. A cheaper option is to take a taxi to the Dol De Bretagne station and change trains at Rennes to get to Paris.

Can I take a day trip excursions from Paris or Bayeux?

Yes, both cities offer day trips to Mont Saint Michel, however, taking a bus tour from these cities may not be the most economical way to visit because you will be arriving when all the other tours arrive, so expect crowds. It is a convenient and stress-free way to visit if you do not have a car.

Once I’m on the island of Mont St Michel, what is the best way to get around?

The only way around Mont St Michel is on foot, and there are two gates into the walled city. The Porte de l'Avancée, the main gate at the end of the causeway, leads straight to the Grande Rue, which is packed with souvenir shops and tourists. Escape right up the stairs to the ramparts which are a little less busy and offer great views of the mudflats. The lesser-used Porte Échauguette to the left of the main gate, is the quietest route up. All three routes connect at the abbey on top of the island.

What is the best time to visit Mont St Michel?

The best time to visit Mont St Michel is March to October when the weather is at its best. Try to avoid July and August when it gets overcrowded with tourists, it also can get very hot. Low season runs November to February when the weather is the coldest. The best time to visit during the day is early in the morning before tourists arrive on the island. It gets crowded around 9:30 a.m. Then in the late afternoon, things get quiet again.

We do recommend staying overnight to enjoy the night and morning time before the tourists arrive in droves. Even around 9:00 am, the streets are still relatively quiet, making it a great time to wander without having to fight the crowds. Evening is another good time, once more of the day trippers start heading home.

Sunday is a good day to avoid visiting the mount as it tends to be the most popular day of the week.

What are some tips to know before visiting Mont St Michel?

Be prepared for mud. When the island isn’t surrounded by water, the area can be a muddy mess, so pick your shoes wisely. We suggest bringing a pair of old flip-flops or be prepared to walk barefoot while traipsing around the island when the tide is low.

Guided walks across the bay are available during low tide to explore the sands. Tours are required if you plan to venture far from the mount, as it can be dangerous with the rapidly changing tides. Walks are best done barefoot, and in shorts due to the muddy ground and potentially knee-high water. Foot-washing stations are provided at the mount to clean muddy feet. Most guided walks are conducted in French, so check carefully before booking.

You’ll also want to be prepared for an uphill climbing/walking, so pack your walking shoes. The island has a lot of steep stone steps and uphill walks. The highest point of Mont Saint Michel is 302 feet above sea level with winding streets lined with stone and half-timber buildings.

The water level can change up to 46 ft between high and low tides. At certain times, the island may be inaccessible due to an extreme high tide. You don’t want to arrive only to learn you can’t get to the island for 2 hours! There are also times of the year when the tide hardly changes.

What is the food like?

Wandering the charming streets offers plenty of restaurants to choose from, however keep in mind that they are pricey. The culinary specialties of Mont Saint-Michel are omelets, whipped until frothy and light, and saltmarsh lamb (agneau de Pré Salé) dishes from the sheep that wander around the coast. None of the eateries on the island are particularly good (and they are all vastly overpriced) so if you are planning on staying on the mount, you might prefer eating in a town in the surrounding countryside.

The old town at the base of the abbey hosts a wide selection of restaurants, cafés, fast food outlets and other food venues. We recommend checking a number of places to find the best deal before ordering.

On the mainland and on the approach road to the mount is a small area of shops, restaurants and supermarkets. Although these are not cheap, they are less expensive than the prices of food on the island.

Can I attend a service at the Abbey?

Yes, visitors may attend a religious service to discover the spiritual ambience of Mont Saint-Michel. Mass is celebrated in the Abbey Church from Tuesday through Saturday at 12 noon and on Sunday at 11:15 am. Vespers services take place Tuesday through Saturday at 6:2 0pm in the crypt of the Abbey Church.

Is Mont Saint Michel a safe place to visit?

The tidal mudflats surrounding the island contain areas of deep mud and quicksand. Visitors to the island are advised not to attempt crossing the flats by foot. However, if you decide to attempt the crossing, be prepared to take off your shoes and clean up your feet afterwards, as the flats are extremely muddy. The tide here is one of the fastest-rising in Europe, you should never attempt any walks on the sands without checking the tide tables. It is also advisable to only attempt the crossing with a qualified guide.

The mount has several steep staircases, sheer drops, and uneven ground. Keep your children under close watch and ensure that you pay due attention at all times.

What should I do if I need medical assistance?

In an emergency dial 112 is the general emergency services number or 114 for hearing assistance.