Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

In Europe, France, Our Journeys, Road Trips, Trip-Types, Unesco, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Don’t get caught by the tide

Another reason for visiting Normandy for us was to see the magnificent Le Mont-Saint-Michel. Which ranks quite highly as one of France’s most iconic landmarks, after the Eiffel Tower of course.

The view of Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

Mont-Saint-Michel is on the western reaches of Normandy, just under 3 miles/5kms from the Brittany border.


Back in 2008 Gary and I stopped at Mont-Saint-Michel, but unfortunately on that occasion, didn’t have time to complete the full visit.

Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

But that wasn’t a problem, we just drove nearby, parked up by the causeway and went for a stroll so that we could appreciate the wonder of it. After all, it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1979.

Roll forward

Nine years later, we thought we would go for a similar approach…..oh definitely not, gone are the days whereby you just park up nearby and wander along the causeway.

It’s now park and ride or park & horse and cart – your choice, but the horse ride you pay for.

The causeway to  Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

The service isn’t too bad, the buses are pretty frequent, although a bit of jostling does go on. But anyway, it drops you about 400 yards from the entrance.


We jump out and take in the splendour of the rocky island, and the Benedictine Abbey perched high above, then as we look across the bay, we saw a pilgrimage making their final steps before entering the mount.
I said to Gary “we’ve picked a busy day”!

Even without the pilgrimage, I think it would have been busy, as this captivating enclave attracts over 3 million visitors a year.

Our Tip

Take a supply of water, you’ll need it, and it’s a little pricey beyond the ramparts.

Grande Rue

It was crowded, but the narrow medieval “Grande Rue” is still quite intriguing, full of quaint shops selling medieval weapons (handy to pick up a crossbow or a battle-axe), and there are some lovely cafes & restaurants.

As you head up through the lanes, you can catch glimpses of the stunning landscape beyond. But this is nothing to what you will see from the top.

A busy  Grande Rue, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France


As the pilgrims started gathering at the abbey entrance, we all came to a standstill. This is where a little bit more knowledge of French would have been handy, as non-pilgrims should have headed straight in to join the next queue, yes, another queue, but actually, this one wasn’t too bad.

The walk up Grande Degre, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
The Gilded copper spire of Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

Your choice

Mont St Michel is free to stroll around and admire the views, but in my opinion, it is worth the €10 to visit the Benedictine Abbey.

Looking down on birds

Armed with our tickets rather than our longbow, we were in. We continued to climb to the top, and from the top of the mount the views are incredible, birds were soaring below us, and you could see for miles across the bay.

A view over the causeway, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
A view from the Mont, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

With the service about to start the clergy made their way into the abbey church and we continued our tour.

Waiting for the sermon, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

Inside the Abbey

Included here are some shots take en-route through the Benedictine Abbey

The Refectory, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
The Guests Hall, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
The Great Pillared Crypt, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
The ceiling in the Pillared Crypt, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
The wheel for hoisting provisions for the prisoners, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
The Knights Hall, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France


With our abbey tour complete we head for the ramparts.

Defensive Cannon, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
Enjoy the view, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

The walk back down was fantastic as it allowed you more time to appreciate this wonder, looking over the bay and back up to the abbey, across the medieval rooftops.

Along the Ramparts, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
Where were the crowds?, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

Rue or Ramparts?

We chose to take the Grande Rue up and the ramparts down, we found it gave us better opportunity to admire the views.

Much Quieter

It makes you grateful for the time and effort that’s invested in preserving these wonderful landmarks.

Birds circling below the abbey, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

I honestly think it was just bad timing on our part when we arrived as wandering back along the historic walls it was much quieter.

The Abbey and rooftops, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
The Tower and the Flag, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
Looking down on Grande Rue, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

St Michael’s Mount

Back 2002 Gary and I visited Mont-Saint-Michel’s little brother in the UK, St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, another unique tidal islet.

St Michael Mount, Cornwall, England, UK

Point to Note

Transport to Mont-Saint-Michel

If you are driving, you will need to park in the designated car parks
Free shuttle bus is available (5-10 minute ride time
Horse & cart is an option at a fixed price
Pleasant flat walk of 1.5mile (2.5km)
Parking a bit pricey but unavoidable (2017)
30 minute free
Up to 2 hours €6.30
2 hours to 24 hours €11.70
More information can be found here

Would you like a little more?

We have created a little YouTube video of our visit to Mont-Saint-Michel

Why not subscribe to our channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

Inspired to visit Mont-Saint-Michel?

It is a wonderful place to visit, and the views from the top are great on a clear day.

We visited from Caen which was a 160 mile/260km trip that took around 90 minutes each way.

However there are other places closer in both Normandy & Brittainy. You can even stay in Mont Sant Michel The choice is yours.

Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?

A visit to Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

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Have You

Visited Mont-Saint-Michel? Or its relative St Michaels Mount in the UK? What was the highlight of your trip – we’d love to know your experiences.

About the Author


Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight.Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France was last modified: August 27th, 2017 by Janis