France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France
Mont St-Michel in Normandy has a mystique that has fascinated pilgrims and travelers for over 1000 years. It's a very popular destination, so plan your visit carefully in advance. You can even visit on a day-trip from Paris.



Mont St-Michel attracts over 3 million visitors each year from around the world (all of them with cameras, so here are tips on photography).

Like all "bucket-list" sites, the island can be uncomfortably busy at times, but with planning you can avoid some of the crowds. Here's what you need to know:

Planning Your Visit

With careful planning and the right transportation, you can visit Mont St-Michel from Paris in a single day, though to enjoy some peace and quiet it's best to stay overnight.

Best Seasons to Visit

The narrow Grande Rue, the island's main street, is lined with shops, restaurants, and hotels. Tour buses and cars pour into the mainland parking lots, and during the day the mountain's narrow streets are packed, especially in summer and on weekends. If possible, plan your visit for a weekday in spring or autumn, avoiding the high summer throngs and winter's unpleasant weather.

Plan for the Tides!

You must also plan for the tides. If you arrive just as the tide is reaching its peak, you may have to wait an hour or two before going to the island.


Note that you can no longer drive across the causeway to the island. Parking is now at new parking lots 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) south, on the mainland, and the island is reached on foot or by shuttle bus. More...


Hotels, inns, B&Bs and farm guest houses are all available, some on the island itself, most nearby on the mainland. Each choice has its advantages. More...

About the Island

Mont St-Michel is located on the Bay of Mont St-Michel, site of the most dramatic tidal ranges in Europe.

In the early 2010s, the government carried out a large project to restore Mont St-Michel's maritime character. A new causeway allows the sea to flow in and out as in most of history, and anew dam on the River Couesnon helps control the flow of water, reducing silt. More...

The mainland salt marshes (marais) facing the island are pastures for local sheep, the meat of which takes on a salty tang to become agneau de pré salé, a delicacy. More...

The Bay of Mont St-Michel is also known for its delicious mussels.

Early morning fog, Mont-St-Michel, France
Early morning fog surrounds Mont St-Michel.

Abbey of Mont St-Michel

The Abbey has been an important religious and defensive site for centuries. History has it that the first small church was built on the mount in the early 700s, "at the request of" the archangel Michael. In 966 Benedictine monks settled there, building a pre-Romanesque church later in that century. More...

Around Mont St-Michel

Although the Abbey and the location itself are the main attractions, there is plenty to see and do at Mont St-Michel. Nearby towns of Pontorson and Avranches also offer accommodations, restaurants, and other attractions.

Mont St-Michel was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

The Offices du Tourisme, can provide detailed information and maps of the region. More...

Hotels at Mont St-Michel

Mont St-Michel Restaurants

What to See & Do

Photos at Mont St-Michel

Abbey of Mont St-Michel

Tides at Mont St-Michel

Transport to Mont St-Michel

Tourist Information



About Normandy


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Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

A new (2012) causeway leads
to Mont St-Michel, Normandy.


Maringote horse-drawn wagon, Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France
Ride to Mont St-Michel in a maringote...

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