Le Mont-Saint-Michel, France

Mont St Michel Normandy France

If you’ve never been to Mont-Saint-Michel, it’s definitely worth the trip!!!
And even if you have been there, it’s worth a re-visit. It really is such a magical place and they’ve been working hard to improve the visitors’ experience.

Mont-Saint-Michel is an iconic landmark abbey in France.  It’s located on the country’s Northwestern coast in the region of Normandy, where the closest city is Avranches, about half an hour away by car.  This island commune is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites and receives more than 3 million visits per year.

Why to go:  It’s unique!  The abbey, alone, is incredibly beautiful but it’s the location that sets this site apart.   The Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel has remarkable tidal ranges throughout the day.  At high tide, the town is an island.  At low tide, the beaches are expansive and even stretching up to 15 miles out from the shore.  In fact, visitors are told to be very careful if they decide to take a walk on the beach at low tide because the waters rush back in very quickly and you could find yourself stuck in quicksand.

When to go:  Summer is the busiest time of year but it’s also the best season for enjoying the local activities.  The key, especially if you’re visiting in the summer, is to visit either early in the morning or later in the evening in order to avoid the largest crowds.  Also, since the tides are so important to the access of this site, make sure to keep in mind that the strongest tides occur in March and September.

Where to go:  There are parking lots about 1 ½ miles down the peninsula that leads to the site.  From there, you can either walk or take the shuttle busses that run regularly all day long.

What to eat and/or drink:  Not surprisingly, the local specialties include seafood.  Mont-Saint-Michel Bay is known throughout France for its mussels and oysters. You will also find no shortage of French “pancakes” – the savory kind, called galettes and the sweet version, called crêpes.  Cider is the local specialty beverage.

What to see/do:  There are so many great options for activities in this area.  If you’re adventurous, you can do a hike or walk in the Bay – only do this with a guide, though, as it could be very dangerous.   There are also opportunities for cycling, horseback riding and sea-kayaking among many other options.  And why not try out the unique sport of sand yachting?  It’s a cross between go-karting and windsurfing that is done at low tide across the vast beaches.  Regardless of the way you choose to spend your time at Mont-Saint-Michel, I guarantee that it will be a memorable visit with the image of this beautiful landmark imprinted in your mind.