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Guide to Mont Saint Michel + 2D1N Mont Saint Michel Itinerary

Mont Saint Michel has always been in my bucket list since 18. Perhaps it was during French 101 or was it on the national geographic channel? I’m not too sure but what I’m very sure that Mont Saint Michel has awed me.

When we were planning our one-week trip to Paris, I told H that we should do a trip to Mont Saint Michel since we have so many days in Paris and it would be more than enough. Nope, I’m sorry, I was wrong. Even with 5 full days in Paris, there’s so much that we didn’t cover! Don’t Worry Paris, I will be back sooner than expected. 
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Mont Saint Michel is a massive abbey and monastery that is located on a tidal island. In the past, visitor cannot access MSM during high tide as it will be an island on its own. Visitors can only access to the abbey during low tide. Thankfully, a bridge was built accessibility, was improved. The impressive architecture has indeed inspired many. Some may even find that Waltz Disney logo is similar to Mont Saint Michel. Since 1979, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a religious site for many.

Day Trip or 2 Day 1 Night to Mont Saint Michel
The first question that pops up in our mind is how long should we visit Mont Saint Michel? One-way bus journey would take us 4 hours and doing it in a day means we had to spend 8 hours on the bus. So, we ended going with the second option – 2 Day 1 Night Trip to Mont Saint Michel.

When to visit Mont Saint Michel ?
The fun part of Mont Saint Michel is watching the tidal change. We were pretty lucky to witness this during our stay unplanned. Thus, if you are planning to visit Mont Saint Michel, I highly recommend you to check the schedule and book on dates with the tide change! Tide Schedule here

Getting to Mont Saint Michel from Paris
By Bus
Travelling by bus is the cheapest way to get to Mont Saint Michel. Although there is no public bus route, private bus Flix and Ouibus have routes travelling from Paris to Mont Saint Michel. Seats are not the most comfortable seats but it does bring you there safely. Check out the bus schedule and ticket on Flix & Oui.

Price: One-way from 23 Euro/Pax
Duration: 4 hours
Tip: Price fluctuates so do purchase it in advance! 

By Train
Taking the train is the fastest way from Paris to Mont Saint Michel. The train ride from Paris to Rennes is estimated to be 2 hours. Afterwards, transit to a coach bus from Rennes to Mont Saint Michel. Check out train schedule and price here 
  • TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes or Dol de Bretagne, then a coach from Rennes or Dol de Bretagne to Mont-Saint-Michel. 
  • Trains from Paris Saint-Lazare to Caen, then a TER train from Caen to Pontorson, then the shuttle bus from Pontorson to Mont-Saint-Michel. 
  • Trains from Paris Montparnasse to Granville, get off in Folligny and get another train to Pontorson, then the shuttle bus from Pontorson to Mont-Saint-Michel

Price: One-way from 71 Euro/Pax
Duration: 3 hours
Tip: Price fluctuates so do purchase it in advance! 

By Car
After the 8-hour bus ride, both H & I feel that the best option is to self-drive! No doubt it is going to be tiring and more expensive than the bus but I’m sure the stops over is going to make the trip worth it! If you are planning to stay a night there, remember to get the code from the hotel you are staying. The parking area is located next to the tourist centre. More information on parking in Mont Saint Michele here

Mont Saint Michel parking fee for 24 hours - 9 Euro (off-peak), 14 Euro Peak Season
Price: 150 Euro/car + Toll
Duration: 3h 50 mins

Note: Remember to set your google map to avoid toll if you want to save some money but drive will be longer.

Where to Stay in Mont Saint Michel

Although one can stay in Mont Saint Michel, we would highly recommend a visitor to stay at the main island because it’s a lot more affordable and the shuttle to Mont Saint Michel service is free. We stay at Hôtel Vert and no doubt it has one of the best locations with shuttle service at the doorstep.  The layout is dated but reasonably clean and simple. For $150 SGD, this is a reasonable price for a tourist location like Mont Saint Michel. Alternatively, a top-up for an international hotel brand like Hôtel Mercure Mont-Saint-Michel which is located at the street across Hotel Vert. 

Getting around to Mont Saint Michel from Main Island
Although Cars are not allowed on Mont Saint Michel except for resident, there are a couple of ways to get to Mont Saint Michel. If time permits, I highly recommend you to take a stroll to Mont Saint Michel from the tourist centre or carpark

Free Shuttle from Tourist Center 
The commonly used method is the free shuttle that starts from the tourist centre and does a return trip to MSM. The frequency of the shuttle is every 10 to 15 minutes. Expect to see more during peak hours. Find sign like the ones below and you can hop on the free shuttle bus at different stops on the main island. 

Shuttle from Pontorson station to Mont Saint Michel
Visitors travelling from the trains station will need to take a shuttle service from Pontorson station instead of taking it from the tourist centre. One way transportation is 3 Euro. You can check the shuttle service from pontoon station here 

By Horse Drawn Carriage Maringote 
Pulled by 2 workhorses, passengers will arrive at the mount in 45 minutes. Travelling by Maringote is used very frequently in the past. One way trip is 5.30 Euro and payment can be accepted by cash or credit by the carriage driver. You can check the schedule below
Things to Do in Mont Saint Michel
Most attraction can be completed in a day even if you are here for a day trip. Even though there are limited activities in Mont Saint Michel, watching the world go by with Mont Saint Michel as the backdrop is one of my favourite things to do in Mont Saint Michel.

Explore La Grande Rue
Walking along the streets in La Grande Rue definitely brings you to back to the 15h century. The narrow lane and pathway made of stones along houses and restaurants made La Grande Rue beautiful. From the top, one can catch great views of the town and people walking on the mud! If you are lucky you can even spot seals during high tide! We weren’t too lucky with the second one!

Visit the Abbaye du Mont Saint Michel – Mont St Michel Abbey
Walk up to the grand abbey and be amazed by it. Since the early days, the Abbey has been the place for a medieval pilgrimage by many worshippers and I see no reason why it shouldn’t. The bold architecture and location gothic design gave off the majestic vibe. Plus, one can get panoramic views of the sea and sky from the Abbey. More information on the Abby here

Drink Apple Cider
Famous for its apple cider in the region, one should not leave without trying the Normandy Apple cider even if you are not exactly in Normandy. In Mont Saint Michel, you can find locally made apple cider in souvenirs shops as well as restaurants. The climate in Normandy makes it deal to grow apple. Being Normandy’s neighbour sure has its perks.

Mud Walk
Source: Credit 
During low tide, many took off their shoes and take a walk along the muddy beach. During the walk, one can view Mont Saint Michel from a different angle and discover the different living creature beneath. Do note that this can only be conducted by licensed and is dangerous for tourist to explore on their own.

Eat the Giant soufflé-style Omelette at La Mère Poulard
The most popular restaurant in Mont Saint Michel is the giant omelette by La Mère Poulard. We didn’t because paying 50 euro we thought 50 euro per person can get you a decent meal in Paris. Thus, we give it missed. Let us know if you tried and how it tastes like!

Barrage du Mont St-Michel

Source: Credit 
The Barrage is built to improve the irrigation of agricultural land in Mont Saint Michel. As the tidal change, the gates help with the flow of water and prevent silting up of the estuary. Plus, one can enjoy the view of Mont Saint Michel from far.

2D1N Mont Saint Michel Suggested Itinerary

Take a stroll to Mont Saint Michel &Watch the sunset over Mont Saint Michel 
Take the late morning Bus and arrive Mont Saint Michel in the late afternoon This is the best time to explore Mont Saint Michel without the crowd. Take a walk to Mont Saint Michel from the main island. Enjoy the view of Mont Saint Michel from far and all the little things that make it magical. Entrance to the castle is village free so it’s going to give you a glimpse of what you are going to do the next morning!

Have dinner at Restaurant La Rôtisserie
At night, hop onto the free shuttle and have your dinner at Restaurant La Rôtisserie. We must warn you that they are under-staff and the wait could be long. Nonetheless, the food is great and at a reasonable price. They even have options of having a pot of mussels as a starter!

Explore La Grande Rue before the crowd
Take a walk in the old town and experience the charm. Although the street is lined up with touristy shop and inns, one cannot deny that the place is stunning. The stone-pavement and wall make you wonder if you actually walk into a time machine and arrive in the 15th century. Definitely visit in the morning and before the crowd!

Visit the Grand Abbey
Beat the crowd and explore the Abbey. Built-in 11th century, The Abbey is a medieval pilgrimage for many Christian. Even if you are not a Christian, this place is a piece of art on its own. H&I Spent some time at the roof and enjoyed the panoramic view of the sky from the abbey! & skip the queue by purchasing advance ticket here.

Have lunch at La Mère Poulard
Pop by La Mère Poulard to try famous egg soufflé and how the 50 Euro Egg taste like. We didn’t and decide to save the money for a decent meal in Paris. Otherwise, head back to the main island for a lunch or quick bite before heading back to Paris.

Stop by Barrage Du Mont St Michel
Source: Credit

Stop by Barrage Du Mont St Michel if you have some time to spare. Watch Mont Saint Michel from far and understand how the mechanism works. The Barrage is built to improve the irrigation of agricultural land in Mont Saint Michel. As the tidal change, the gates help with the flow of water and prevent silting up of the estuary. 

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