Mont St Michel travel guide

About Mont St Michel

Mont St Michel in Normandy is a granite tidal island just off the coast, famous for its majestic abbey.

One of France's main tourist attractions, the Mont St Michel captivates the 3 million visitors every year who come to experience the magic of this sacred place.

The incredible 11th century abbey rises out of the mists, a calling to today's visitors just as it has been to the pilgrims of the past. Known in France as La Merveille ('The Marvel') the Mont is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. The first church here, on which the abbey is built, was created by St Aubert after a vision of the Archangel Michael.  

Access to the Mont is across a bridge through the Baie du Mont St Michel, an area of mudflats known for its extreme tides that sweep in quickly. Take the walk to the abbey at the top of the Mont, wandering up stone stairs and through the Mont's one street, the Grande Rue where you'll find créperies, restaurants and gift shops full of souvenirs to remember your journey to the Mont.

Stay overnight to truly enjoy the beauty of the Mont St Michel when it is quieter and floodlit - the illumination makes the architecture even more striking as you sample some fantastic seafood in the Mont's restaurants.

There is also the Mont St Michel Marathon most years in May that runs from nearby Cancale to the Mont itself, the competitors not only racing each other but also the bay's infamous tides.

Getting to the Mont

Much work has been done in recent years in and around the bay, including the building of a dam on the river, to remove sediment so that the island can remain an island for the foreseeable future. The 19th century paved causeway has been removed, along with the old car park, and a new bridge has been built to access the island.

Take one of the free, all-modern Passeur shuttle buses direct from the car park, or, if you want a taste of the Mont's historic character, enjoy a 25-minute ride in a Maringote horse-drawn carriage! It's the best way to arrive at the Mont in style and as the pilgrims would have. Or if you want to stretch your legs and get to the Mont at your own pace, you can follow the wooden walkway and walk all the way out to the island. It takes approximately 50 minutes during which you can really appreciate the beauty of the island's abbey as you approach.

Why visit Mont St Michel?

  • The Abbey
  • The Architecture
  • The Churches
  • The Museums


  • Country: France
  • Region: Normandy
  • Department: Manche
  • Population: 40
  • Coordinates: 48.636369,-1.511822

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Holidays in Normandy

Sail & stay with us to save time and money! Pack your car with everything you need - even the family pet, and enjoy the fun of travelling on board.

Holiday Search

Getting to Mont St Michel

Sail to destinations in France from a choice of UK ferry ports.

Book a ferry

Places to visit nearby

Avranches in Normandy is an historical city that was once a royal city under Louis IX, and saw an important battle during WW2, overlooking the beautiful bay of Mont St Michel.

Dol-de-Bretagne in Brittany is a quaint medieval town close to the rugged Mont Dol that overlooks the bay of Mont St Michel.

Villedieu-les-Poêles in Normandy is known as the 'city of copper', because of it's talented copper artisans, and is a beautifully preserved medieval town.

Nearby attractions

The Archéoscope is a multimedia sound and light show based on the history and legends of the Mont.

The History Museum on Mont St Michel contains lots of artefacts to understand the Mont's long and vibrant history.

The Mont St Michel abbey is a Romanesque and Gothic masterpiece of design and a phenomenal work of architecture.