France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Photography at Mont Saint-Michel
With a bit of planning you can take spectacular photos of this much-photographed monument.

 
   

 

Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France

1. Stay Overnight!

But you know this. Best might be one overnight on the island, another in Les Portes de Mont St-Michel on the mainland. Overnight has the advantage of being able to experience all different lights throughout the day (and night), while staying out a ways can provide some lovely long distance vistas.

2. Sunrise & Sunset

Check the times of sunrise and sunset, and plan to be shooting 30 to 60 minutes before sunrise and up to two hours thereafter. Just before dawn can be among the most atmospheric times of day at Mont St-Michel. The early morning fog gives a sense of mystery, and as it burns off the beauty of the island and the Abbey can be appreciated.

As for sunset, set out about 90 minutes before it, and plan to keep shooting until at least an hour afterward.

Dusk—about 30 minutes after sunset—can yield excellent shots, with some light still in the sky, but the electric lights coming on.

Colonnade in the Abbey of Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France

3. Moon & Tides

Determine the phase of the moon during your visit, as this controls the tides.

Full moon = highest tides, new moon = lowest tides.

Find out if and when you'll be able to walk all the way around the island to get other angles on it. Or, determine when the high tide will be and position yourself to watch the waters rise around the island. You'll have to decide ahead of time if you want to be on the island or on the causeway when the tide peaks. Once it starts, the entrance to the Grande Rue is flooded.

Walking on the sand at low tide, Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France

You can also get some lovely long distance photos from the nearby town of Avranches and along the route between Mont St-Michel and Avranches. Going the other direction into Brittany, you can even see Mont St-Michel from Cancale (map).


Mont St-Michel Hotels

Overnight on the Island

Mont St-Michel Restaurants

What to See & Do

Tourist Information

Mont St-Michel Transport

About Mont St-Michel

About Normandy

About Brittany

About Avranches

 

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Shadow of Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France

Late afternoon sun yields
dramatic shadows of Mont St-Michel.

 

Abbey Arcade, Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France

   
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