Most tourists flock to Paris when visiting France and simply stay, never venturing out of the city. You can see why, but Mont Saint Michel is well worth the effort.
Often you can see it on lists of the most famous French or European castles, but, actually, it’s not a castle, but an abbey! Before you go you need to know that it’s a very popular destination no matter when you go – every year 3 million people visit this amazing abbey.
Its also very small – there’s less than 50 residents on the island itself!
If you want to avoid the biggest crowds, come outside the main season and hit it early in the morning. We got there at 9 and it was quite difficult to come back to the main land.
If you don’t care about going to the abbey itself, but just want to admire it from afar then consider going after 4 – after this time most of the trips from Paris have to be slowly coming back.
Around sunset time and at night it was almost empty. You can stay on Mont Saint Michel itself, but it’s really expensive. (we have pic somewhere!)
The food is also overpriced, if you care about every penny then take lunch with you – it’s France after all, you can definitely find a good bakery!
If you want to visit the abbey then buy your ticket in advance!
How to get there?
If you are coming from Paris you can buy a day long tour, go by bus or drive there in a rented car.
If you are, in fact, going by car, you have to remember that roads in France are paid – depending on the route you take you can spend more than 100 euros on tolls! And then you have to pay for parking too.
You don’t have to pay for the buses (navette) going from the car park to Mont Saint Michel, but sometimes its quicker to walk given the amount of people.
Once you’re there:
For sure you have the best view while you are walking towards Mont Saint Michel. The island itself is quite claustrophobic and really expensive. You have to queue to climb up on the Mont’s walls, to the abbey, to everywhere.
Is it worth it?
How we did it:
We went in early August, so in high season (don’t do it!) and drove there from London and stayed in some small place 40 minutes away from Mont Saint Michel. We got there at 9am and decided to walk from the car park to Mont Saint Michel – there was around 300 people waiting for a bus.
The walk is 2-2.5km long, depending on where you park. We had our lunch with us which we ate on the beach around Mont. We managed to catch the bus on the way back, but we suspect it’s because we didn’t stay too long – at least not long enough for the coach trips to start coming back.
In total we spent 3 hours, then went to Bayeux (via the hotel to feed our travelcat (links xd) and then for a small wander around and dinner.
After dinner we picked up Lukrecja from the hotel and went back to Mont Saint Michel for sunset. Sounds like a long day? Well, yes it was, but our holidays always look like a race.