Hi, it’s me Marimonda!
Today, I’d like to introduce you one of the most touristic areas in France, the Mont Saint-Michel! Located in Normandy, this place is loved by people from all around the world unique geographical characteristic. I’ve been there three times already, but I can’t stop wowing whenever I see it.
Mont Saint-Michel used to be a fortification due to its location. It is said that the archangel Michael instructed Aubert of Avranches who was the bishop of that region in 708 to build a church there. You may probably notice many sculptures inside Mont Saint-Michel describing this legend.
Later, the cathedral and abbey were added to the original church and the island has modified according to the architect style as time flows. It took 800 years to have today’s feature. During the French Revolution, it was served as a prison. Mont Saint-Michel and its bay were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979.
I’ve been to Mont Saint Michel three times so far, and I always find new things to appreciate inside. I went there by myself(self-guided tour), with a group tour, and with an official tour provided by the monument. Each visit was unforgettable since all of them were so different.
When I went there by myself, I was surprised to see the town. Seeing all that medieval structures, I felt as if I were a character in Game of Thrones. Since I didn’t get any tour, I couldn’t have any opportunities to understand better on this.
For the second visit, I took a day trip from Paris. It was easy since I didn’t have to calculate time for the transport nor line up to enter. Plus, the tour was included visiting other places Honfleur, a harbour city in France. It cost about €100 (only for the transport and the guide), including the entrance fee and the lunch, I spent around €130 excluding souvenirs. Plus, the guide explained the stories about Mont Saint-Michel, thus it helped me to get to know more about this place.
The last time I visited there, which was 1 week ago, I went there by train and participated une visite conference, an official guided tour provided by Mont Saint-Michel. I am not sure about English tour (there are visite conferences in different languages ) since I took a French one. I guess that it would be the same or similar. It cost me €13 and if you can I really recommend this. Since the tour guides are approved by the French government, I could access to hidden parts where is not open to public. The tour takes about 1 hour ~1 hour and half depending on the circulation inside of the Abbey.
How to get there?
Since Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most popular places in France, there are many ways that you can visit there.
Joining a day group tour would be the easiest way to get there. The tour usually takes a whole day ( about 14 hours on average) and it costs around €120~180. The price varies depending on the conditions such as admission or lunch.
If you go there by yourself, you can drive and it takes about 4 hours from Paris (one way).
You can also go there by bus such as flixbus it takes about 5 hours or a bit more (one way) and it costs around €50 for a round trip.
Travelling by train and then taking a bus can be an option. The combo ticket costs from €54 (the cheapest but the best time slot if you go there for a day trip) from Paris. The train leaves at Montparnasse 3 Vaugirard early in the morning everyday( 7 : 38 a.m.). Then you transfer to a bus offered by SNCF at Villedieu les Poêles. When you take off the bus, you can ride a shuttle (free) to get to Mont Saint-Michel, walk (about 40 mins), or by a horse-carriage ride.
What to eat?
Since it’s a touristic place, most restaurants in Mont Saint-Michel are busy and expensive. There, I found a creperie <La Sirène Lochet> and it was one of the best crepes I’ve ever tried in France with reasonable price. The restaurant is on the second floor (1er étage in French style), you should use stairs in a souvenir shop on the first floor. The service is a bit slow but the staffs are friendly and most of all, the crepes are delicious. You can customize your dish with the ingredients you want. Each crepe costs about €7~9, thus including the drink €12~15 would be enough per person. We ordered four crepes, one bottle of cider, and four coffees, and we paid less than €50 in total.
Salt lamb is the local specialty. You can try them out at <Le Pré Salé> or <La Rôtisserie>. Those are well-known restaurant for salt lamb (€30~). You can also try <La Mère Poulard>, it cost €40~ for one main dish which seems quite high to me. You can also find cookies from <La Mère Poulard>, but since you can get them from almost everywhere in France, I don’t think it’s necessary to buy them there.
Hope you enjoyed the visit to Mont Saint-Michel with Marimonda. See you soon 🙂
Practical Info. (websites)