Plan Your Visit to Mont Saint Michel: Timings, Directions & More
An islet connected to the mainland via a bridge, Mont Saint Michel is a must-visit destination in France. This unique tidal island has a long, rich history. Once an important site of pilgrimage, thanks to the stunning Mont Saint Michel Abbey, today, the island and its surrounding bay draw in millions of visitors annually. Over 300 km from Paris, it makes for a wonderful day trip destination. All in all, Saint Mont Michel offers a day of fun for the family. Read on to learn more about visiting Mont Saint Michel.
Mont Saint Michel Abbey Timings
- May 19 to August 31: 9 AM to 7 PM
- September 1 to April 30: 9:30 AM to 6 PM
Please note that Mont-Saint-Michel remains closed on 1 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec.
Best time to visit Mont Saint-Michel
The best time to visit Mont Saint Michel is between May and September when the weather is beautiful and mild. While this is also the peak season to visit it is rightly so as a number of events also take place during this time.
If you are looking to avoid the crowds you can visit before or after this period which is when the tourist season is at a low.
Mont Saint Michel Location
Mont Saint Michel is a commune in France, which is 360 kilometers away from Paris. It consists of a tidal island and mainland both connected through a causeway. Visitors can use a shuttle bus to commute between the two. They can also cross the Mont Saint-Michel bay during the low tide.
The connection between the island and the mainland has changed throughout the years. Initially, pilgrims visiting the Mont Saint Michel abbey could only cross the bay at low tide, before the first raised bridge was constructed in 1879. In 2014, a new bridge was built connecting the two.
A part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the islet is situated between Normandy and Brittany, but is considered a part of the former. Many buildings within the area are protected as 'monuments historiques' due to their historical and cultural significance.
How to get to Mont Saint Michel
Take a TGV (Train A Grand Vitesse) from Gare Montparnasse in Paris to Rennes. Once at Rennes, you can take a Keolis bus to Mont St. Michel. The buses operate 4 times a day.
At Rennes, you can also change trains and head to the Pontorson-Mont St-Michel train station. Once you're at the station, you can either walk across Pont Passerelle (the causeway) or take the shuttle.
You can drive down to Mont Saint Michel by car. There is a dedicated parking lot on the mainland, from where you need to walk 800m to Place des Navettes. At Place des Navettes, you can board the shuttle to the mainland or walk across the causeway.
This is hands down the best way to visit Mont Saint Michel. A guided tour takes care of your transportation, and is especially convenient if you are visiting all the way from Paris. You will have round-trip transfers in a private air-conditioned bus, ensuring that you don't have to worry about transportation. You will also be accompanied by an expert guide will give you insight into the island.
Mont Saint Michel has a dedicated passenger shuttle that connects the island to the mainland. This free shuttle will drop you about 350 m away from the main island and operates between 7:30 AM - 8 PM. The shuttle is accessible with ramps on each entrance and dedicated wheelchair areas. It is only open to guide dogs and other assistance animals.
Mont Saint Michel Events
Run in Mont Saint Michel: This annual marathon takes place during summer. Run along the coast and take in the scenic beauty of the bay. You can choose from half-marathon, 10km Run, or the advanced Archange Trail.
Jazz en Baie: An hour's drive from Mont Saint Michel is Jullouville, home to the Jazz en Baie annual jazz festival. This year's edition will occur between July 24 - August 1, 2021. Enjoy the soothing tones of jazz as you look out at the Atlantic Ocean.
High Tide Evenings: As home to some of the highest tides in Europe, one can enjoy watching the English channel cover up the bay.
Christmas Lights: Every year, visitors flock from across the country to watch the streets light up during Christmas in what can be described as a fairytale. Note that the dates vary each year.
- Wear comfortable shoes as Mont Saint Michel requires a lot of walking.
- Don't miss out on eating a delicious meal at one of the restaurants in La Grande Rue. You can also opt for a guided tour with an included lunch.
- When visiting the Abbey, ensure you are quiet and respectful.
- Purchase your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment, as tickets to this stunning venue are quick to sell out.
- If you are able to, walk across the causeway instead of taking the shuttle. The views are breathtaking.
- While the shuttle and causeway are accessible, do note that due to how old it is and the many steep steps, the island of Mont Saint Michel is not fully wheelchair-accessible.
Visit Mont Saint-Michel: FAQs
You can drive down there or take the train to the island. You can also visit in and see Mont Saint Michel from Paris as part of a guided tour where transportation is included.
The timings between May 19 to August 31 are 9 AM to 7 PM, and between September 1 to April 30 are 9:30 AM to 6 PM.
Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey is closed on 1 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec.
The best time to visit Mont Saint Michel is between May and September.
While some parts of the island, along with the shuttle, are wheelchair-accessible, the rest of the island features steep steps and cobblestones streets, which are not wheelchair-friendly.
While you cannot drive up to the island you can park in the mainland. A dedicated parking space is present about 1.5 miles away from the island.
Yes, storage is available near the car park area, near the Tourist Information Center.