Mont- St.- Michel

Mont- St- Michel


Location: Manche department, Lower Normandy  Map

Train: to Pontorson, then bus


Tel. 02- 33 89 80 00

Open: May- Sep: 9am- 5:30pm, Oct- Apr 9:30am- 5pm, night visits during summer months

Closed: Jan 1, May 1, Nov 1 & 11, Dec 25

Service 12:15 pm Tue- Sun


Description of Mont- Saint- Michel or Mountain of a Saint Michael

Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel From May 2 to August 30, open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last admission at 6 p.m.). September 1 to April 30, open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last admission 5 p.m.). visit (without guide): € 9 per adult, free for 18-25 year old citizens of the European Union (€ 5 otherwise) and free for children under 18. - From May 1 to December 25, it is possible to use an audio guide (French, English, Spanish, Italian) for € 4. Mass is celebrated every day except Monday at 12:15 p.m.


Mont- Saint- Michel or Mountain of a Saint Michael is a former Roman Catholic monastery of the Benedictine order. Mont- Saint- Michel or Mountain of a Saint Michael is located in Manche department, Lower Normandy in France.
The mountain that was first settled by the monks in the 8th century turns into an island during high tight when water drowns the land around the abbey. It is not advisable to take walks during rising waters. In spring the tight might flood the land with a speed of 10 km/h (6 mph). Mont- Saint- Michel reached its height in the 12th and 13th centuries. It was a center of Medieval culture and education. Many Christian pilgrims (known as miquelots) came here to honour Saint Michael. During Great French Revolution this monastery along with many religious buildings were nationalized by the Revolutionary government. It was turned into a prison. Today the monastery is turned into a museum and added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. A small community of Benedictine monks continue to live here.


History of Mont- St.- Michel

Mont Saint Michel was first settled by the Galls who lived in this part of France that was known as Armorica province. Their fortress was constructed in the 6th century, but it was destroyed by the invading Franks. The current abbey started in 708. According to a legend the Archangel Michael first appeared to Saint Aubert, bishop of Avranches. He instructed to construct an abbey on the mountain outcrop. The bishop apparently initially assumed he went crazy and simply ignored the suggestion. Than the story goes that the Archangel burned a hole in the man's skull with his finger. The bishop changed his mind and ordered a construction of a small monastery on top of the mountain.
In 1067 the monastery of Mont- St- Michel gained large lands in England after they supported invasion armies of William of Normandy a year earlier. The monastery reached peak of its importance in the 12th and 13th century. During Hundred Years' War the English armies tried to capture the castle. But despite their 1423–24 siege the mount remained in the French hands. Defenders added Towers and walls at the shore to further increase defenses of the abbey.
During French Revolution Mont- Saint- Michel was nationalized, closed and turned into a prison for high- profile political prisoners. In 1863 the prison was closed and turned into national historic monument due to extensive campaign that included famous people like Victor Hugo.


Getting here

Since April 2012, it is no longer possible to drive to the foot of Mont- Saint- Michel. A new parking lot has been built on the mainland (12 € per car) and access to the mountain is done either on foot via the new footbridge completed in 2014 (about 2.5 km) or via one of the free shuttles (bus ) or paying (horse-drawn carriages) which provide a regular connection between 7:30 a.m. and midnight. However, the parking lot is relatively far (about 800 m) from the departure point of the shuttles and on arrival, there are still a few hundred meters to walk to the entrance.

By car
Driving is probably the easiest and cheapest way to visit Mont Saint-Michel, although the line at the entrance to the parking lot is often long. From Caen, take the A84 motorway, exit at exit 34 towards Saint-Brieuc on the national 175. It is then possible to exit to join the D43 which allows you to reach the mountain along the coast and follow the signs that point to Mt. Or, you can leave the 4 lanes by joining the D80.

From Paris, allow 4 hours by road.

Car park
Mont-Saint-Michel car park from € 4.5 for light vehicles. - Since the end of the implementation of the Saint-Michel project, parking is compulsory before arriving in the town of Mont-Saint-Michel. 4,000 parking spaces are available before crossing the footbridge, a work of art that connects Mont-Saint-Michel on foot or by shuttle bus.

Public transport
There is no direct train line between Paris and Mont Saint-Michel, but it is possible to travel to Pontorson by train and then complete the journey by bus. The best option is to take the TGV from Montparnasse station to Rennes or Dol-de-Bretagne. The Rennes - Mont-Saint-Michel and Dol-de-Bretagne - Mont-Saint-Michel express line of the regional council takes you to Mont Saint-Michel. Five round trips are offered during the day and are connected to the TGV from Paris. Remember to check the train times, they can change. It happens that out of season, the connection is not assured from Rennes; check it before you go. Also note that traffic can be very heavy around the mountain (there is only one road). So it is possible that you miss your train. During the summer, the wait at the exit of the mountain can reach an hour or more. The bus stop is located directly at the “north” exit of Rennes train station, at the bus station on the right. In Dol-de-Bretagne, the bus parks in front of the station exit.

Keolis Emeraude +33 2 99 26 16 00 - Information on Rennes - Mont-Saint-Michel - Dol-de-Bretagne bus timetables and prices.
Count € 15 for a one-way ticket from Rennes and € 8 from Dol-de-Bretagne. Reductions exist for people under 26 or over 60 (25% reduction). It is possible to buy tickets directly on the bus, via SNCF at the same time as the purchase of your train ticket or at the bus station in Rennes. On arrival, the bus drops you off at the car park. From there, it is possible to take the shuttles that connect the parking lot and the entrance to Mt.

Another option is to take the train to Pontorson - Mont-Saint-Michel station which is on the Caen - Rennes railway line. Buses from Pontorson are available and leave several times a day in accordance with the arrival of trains. Count € 3.2 per trip (free for children under 4).

By bike
Parking for bicycles is free and the road from Pontorson to the mountain is not particularly difficult (beware of the wind though).

By taxi
Taxis are extremely expensive for long journeys, unless you can share the cost with other travelers. A one-way taxi ride from Mont Saint-Michel to Rennes costs around € 135. A more economical option is to take a taxi to Dol de Bretagne and then take the train to Rennes from where you can reach Paris.

Rennes Taxi +33 7 87 91 71 49 100 € day / 150 € night or Sunday and public holidays. - Taxi company providing the Rennes - Mont-Saint-Michel route.


Around the town

The only way to get around inside the mountain is on foot. There are two gates in the walled city. The Porte de l'Avancée, the main gate at the end of the causeway, leads onto the Grande Rue which mainly contains souvenir and tourist shops as well as restaurants and cafes. Climb the stairs to reach the ramparts which are a little less crowded and which offer a beautiful view of the bay. The less used Eschaugette gate to the left of the main entrance is the quietest of the roads. All the routes converge towards the abbey at the top of the island.



On the mountain
The culinary specialties of Mont-Saint-Michel are the omelette, whipped to obtain a fluffy and light consistency, and the salted meadow lamb whose meat comes from the lambs which graze along the coast. None of the restaurants on the island are particularly good (and they're way overpriced) so if you decide to stay on the Mt, be aware that you might prefer to eat in a town in the surrounding countryside.

The old town at the base of the abbey has a wide selection of restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets and other places to eat. Keep in mind that Mont Saint-Michel is a big tourist trap when it comes to refreshment and travelers' needs; check a lot of places to find the best price before ordering. However, don't expect good service.