It’s safe to say there’s nothing in the world quite like this magical island, topped by a medieval monastery that rises out of the bay like a heavenly apparition. It’s said that, early in the 8th century, a bishop in nearby Avranches was visited by the archangel Michael, who told him to build a church atop an island out to sea. From 966 onward, the dukes of Normandy, supported by French kings, oversaw the development of a major Benedictine abbey on Mont St-Michel. Massive buildings were added throughout the Medieval period, and the abbey became a renowned center of learning, attracting some of the greatest minds in Europe. To access this UNESCO World Heritage site, you must park in an off-site lot and take a shuttle or walk over a footbridge. Recent improvements have made the process much easier, but you should expect crowds in most seasons, as Mont St-Michel is the third most-visited monument in France. After touring the abbey, head to La Mère Poulard restaurant for the signature omelets and butter cookies. There are also several hotels on the island, though most visitors tend to spend the night elsewhere.
Le Mont Saint Michel
This must-see spot in Normandy is a little city on an island just off the coast that gets cut-off by the tide on a daily basis. At the peak of the town (is nice walk up!) is the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel where you can see a view for miles, once you step in and begin exploring the church there is so much to see and depending on the time of the day there is gorgeous light for extraordinary photos. There are restaurants and hotels, stores and homes on this tiny little spot. If it is a nice day, sit at one of the terraces and enjoy the local speciality, an omelette, although it will cost you a pretty penny! Go as early as you can in the morning, as this spot is very popular and gets quite crowded!
Le Mont Saint Michel
When in Normandy do not miss the marvel that is Mont Saint Michel. One of France’s most recognisable landmarks, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. This place has it all, great architecture, fantastic food and shopping.
The Cloister at Mont Saint Michel
When in Normandy do not miss the marvel that is Mont Saint Michel. One of France’s most recognizable landmarks, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. This place has it all, great architecture, fantastic food and shopping.
Mesmerized by architectural beauty
We arrived at Mont Saint Michel in the evening after driving half the day with two small kids in the car. I was tired, hungry and yet, when I saw Mont Saint Michel in the gorgeous blue hour light I was in love forever. This is the very first picture I took there and my absolute favorite. I look at it and it always reminds me how seeing it took my stress, tiredness and hunger away. There are a few places in the world that have this power over me. Mont Saint Michel is truly a masterpiece. Walk inside and explore the little shopping street, visit the abbey and see the beautiful Cloister. The few restaurants inside serve very good food and the prices are pretty reasonable. Right now they have some very nice events happening like a night time tour of the abbey and a few concerts. Check out their website and go if you are in the area.
Like A Fairy Tale Castle
Le Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island in Normandy, France and is a sacred site. The mount has been a fortification since ancient times and since the 8th century, it was the site of the monastery of St. Michel. It starts at the top with the church (the statue of St. Michael sits atop the spire) and the monastery and museums. Next are the Great Halls. The next level has the stores and homes. And the bottom level and outside the walls the fishermen and farmer’s homes are located. The mount has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and there are over 3 million visitors a year. Early in the morning, I shuttled over to the mount from my hotel and saw the sheep feeding on the surrounding salt marshes (this lamb is an area speciality). The mist cleared and I gasped as I beheld Mont St. Michel. What a dramatic landscape! I marveled at even the ability to construct it. I was able to walk the sands as it was low tide. Be careful - there is quicksand. The stores were filled with chocolates, area calvados (hard cider), wool products...all wonderful goodies. I ate at the world-renowned LA Mere Poulard famous for its OMELLETES. Yummy. (Pricy). The abby was spectacular, ditto the church. The views made me feel like I was floating on a cloud. I stared into space I drank in the history of the abby and the mount. Many enjoyable hours were spent on Mont Saint-Michel for two glorious days. This is something you want to do in Normandy. Tourist Office: on left inside town gates
Monastery of Mont Saint Michel
A UNESCO sight, the island of Le Mont Saint Michel has held strategic fortifications since ancient times. Le Mont Saint Michel looks like a wedding cake from a distance – but the top down design was for religious purposes. On top God/church, the abbey and monastery (pictured), below this the Great halls, then stores and housing, and at the bottom, outside the walls, fishermen and farmers’ housing. This is one of the most visited sights in France and also probably one of the most photographed. Unfortunately – they are doing a great deal of construction around the pathway leading to Mont Saint Michel which left it a little less picturesque, and to top it off we had a some pretty gray weather, but we made the most of it by touring through the indoor abbey and monastery buildings.
Yes there are hotels. But most travel agents do not want to put you there. We stayed there and it was lovely. In the evening all the day trippers go away and you have the place pretty much to yourself.
Spend the night
While expensive, it is worth spending the night here. During the day there are a million people bustling about. However, in the late afternoon almost everyone leaves and it becomes a quiet little row of shops and restaurants. After dark you will not be able to explore all the abbey but you can walk the ramparts and appreciate the place without the crowds. Upon leaving, be sure to exit the tram BEFORE you reach the parking lot or you will not be able to reenter via auto. As one of the reviewers mentioned, if you drive be VERY mindful of the signs for cars and buses! We visited in September, a little chilly but fewer crowds.
Mont St. Michel had been on my “bucket list” since I learned of it while getting my degree in Art. Let me begin by saying that “pictures in an art book, magazine, travel site.....do not compare to the majesty of this magical place. Few places have brought me to “tears”, but as we neared in our drive & I saw it’s imposing majesty in the distance....a dream of mine had been fianlly fulfilled. And yes, I did climb the 400 steps to the top. But, something they don’t tell you is that it’s a long uphill incline walk just to get to the area where you traverse that climb. Don’t let that stop you because every inch of this is a wonder.....
Twilight the lighting seemed perfect and I was able to capture the fading light somehow. The feeling as if this could be both modern or enchantment in scope appeals to my sense of art. A magical location not to be missed. we were able to stay on the island and enjoyed the more quite times that afforded us. You can just make the outline out of my friends in the foreground.
Sunset in Mont Saint-Michel
Another stop on my recent photography workshop was Mont Saint-Michel, France. Located about 1/2 mile from the NW coast of France in the Normandy area, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is not to be missed.I highly recommend visiting this little island and touring the magnificent abbey.
Touching a Mirage: Mont Saint-Michel
The mere outline of this feudal city, abbey, monastery, impenetrable fortress of the Hundred Years’ War, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and current home to less than 50 people, is unmistakable and unforgettable. To be honest, my visit to the sight itself would have been disappointing, as the the main street is rather overrun with shops selling touristy trinkets, were it not for the hour I spent with my fiancé walking across the thick, silty sand behind the Mont at low tide. The views of the abbey reflecting in the slowly rising tide and the feeling of being the only ones out there for many meters was truly magical.
France // An 8th Century Castle Monastery Island
Accessible only during low tide, this 8th century monastery on a tiny island was virtually impenetrable for thousands of years. It was the highlight of our trip to the shores of Normandy, France, and was a time-traveling experience to walk through the rock walls of the fortress. For a mini-book story with more pictures, check out the link.
Why you should pay attention to parking lot signs in Mont Saint-Michel
Because you will be really, really sorry if you don’t.