Visiting Mont Saint-Michel - 5 Things You Should Know
When most people dream of visiting France, they imagine going to Paris. But France has much more to offer than just that one city. Even if your trip centers around Paris, there are several day trips you can take to get out of the city. Mont Saint-Michel is just one of the many fabulous locations you might want to visit. What is Mont Saint-Michel, and what should you know before you visit?
What is Mont Saint-Michel?
Mont Saint-Michel is one of Frances most recognizable and visited landmarks. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Naturally higher than the surrounding land, St-Michel appears to float above the water when the tide comes in. Because of its height and location, it has been strategic in wars in the past. It has also been a place of worship for various religions throughout the centuries. As you wind through the cobblestone streets, you'll find shops, restaurants and ultimately at the top, an abbey. How do you get to Mont Saint-Michel?
From Paris, you can take a train or a short 1 hour flight to Rennes. The flight we chose only cost 60 dollars per person. From Rennes, you take a 1-hour bus ride to Mont St-Michel. The bus will eventually cross over a causeway that floods in times of the extremely high tide. After our trip, what did we learn that could help you? Scroll down to find out.
1. It's crowded
The first thing you should know is that Mont St-Michel is incredibly popular and crowded. It's especially packed in the summer months around midday. You should plan to arrive early and stay late after people start to filter out. Also, since it's so popular, it's very tourist-focused. The economy of the entire area is centered around visitors. As such, food and products are costly. We paid six euros for a bottle of water, so be prepared.
2. Plan To Stay The Night
There are a few hotels on the Island. We stayed at the Hotel Mouton Blanc, and while the room was tiny, we had a pleasant enough stay. There aren't any luxury accommodations on the Island, but what you're paying for is the ability to be there when no one else is. We recommend you stay a night to get the most out of the place if you can. One day and one night are enough for most people to see everything. Bring earplugs though because the Island is loud. There are birds everywhere, and in the morning, supplies are brought in on forklifts. The wheels pounding against the cobblestones make for a rude awakening.
3. Check The Tide Schedule
Every day the tide comes in all around St-Michel. It's very cool and makes the Island appear magical and isolated. Check the times at the information center, so you know when high tide is for the best view. When the tide is low, you can walk around St-Michel. They don't recommend you go far though because there are spots of dangerous quicksand and the tide can rise unexpectedly leaving you stranded. You can plan a guided tour that takes you out into the wet sand if you want to explore.
4. There Are Lots Of Stairs
You will walk a lot on Mont St-Michel. The abbey that everyone tours is at the very top, so you have to climb steep stairs. Even when the pathways are flat, you're walking on uneven cobblestone. Pack comfortable shoes and know that if you have mobility issues, what you can see will be limited.
5. Skip The 40 Dollar Omelet
They sell huge 40 Euro omelets La Mere Poulard. Imagine the best omelet you've ever had. Was it even close to being worth 40 Euros? No? Then skip the eggs and save the Euros.
Mont Saint-Michel is crowded and touristy, but it's also gorgeous and fantastical. The crowds and prices can be overwhelming though so prepare yourself or visit in the off-season. Even if you have to deal with hordes of tourists, its worth it to visit this magical place.