A noted “wonder of the west”, this isolated islet stands in the
midst of vast sandbanks off mainland Normandy.
Connected to the mainland by a
causeway that is submerged at high tide, Mont Saint Michel has
been a site of religious pilgrimage as early as the 8th century.
Gothic spires jut from the rock to the heavens as you approach from
the mainland, the formation rising out of the morning fog like
something from a fairytale.
Truly from another time, Mont Saint Michel was named a UNESCO World
Heritage site in 1979 and has captured the imaginations of writers,
artists and travellers for centuries.
When to go
Attracting over three million visitors each year, Mont Saint
Michel is a hotspot for tourists in the summer months. For a unique
experience of the city, make your trip between November and March
when the cobblestone streets are all but deserted.
Who to take with you
A history buff. From archangels, bishops and battle strategy,
this rocky island has been coloured by centuries of legend and lore
– take someone who will appreciate what the island has on
Most likely to bump into
With steep staircases and winding cobblestone streets, you never
know what’s around the next corner.
A visit to the abbey is a must. Situated at the top of the
island, the abbey is reachable by a 350-step staircase that begins
at the end of the Grand Rue. Wind between the columns and catacombs
that support this massive structure; you’ll soon see why this has
been a site of religious practice for centuries. A mingling of
stunning bay views and the unique high tide will make you feel far
from home in the best way.
An essential to bring with you
A sense of adventure. Mont Saint Michel is best explored by
wandering the streets; getting lost would prove a difficult task as
the island is so small and those tiny side streets are well worth
the detour from the abbey at the top.
How to get there
Drive from Paris for an easy day
trip or take a train from Rennes to Pontorson where a bus will
carry you the remaining 9km to the rocky island spot.