So if you want to save time, you can stop off at Mont Saint Michel on your way to Dinan from Bayeux. That’s what we did to break up the day. If you have never heard of Mont Saint Michel, chances are you have seen images of the monastery built on a causeway in France. The cathedral is located between two regions of France: Brittany and Normandy. While many people want to stay in Mont Saint-Michel, to escape the day trippers, you have to keep in mind that there is no easy way to access the island. Once you get there, it is not really mobility friendly. There are a lot of steps and the walk up to the monastery is quite hilly. For that reason, many people prefer to stay in a town nearby and make the visit a day trip.
Our family parked in one of the many lots near the ticket booth entrance. I would advise anyone to procure tickets in advance for the monastery.
In order to access the town, you can get there 3 ways from the parking lots: 1) take a shuttle bus (relatively frequent and free); 2) walk (free, but takes a little bit of time – 40 minutes or so when you are walking with kids); or 3) take a horse-drawn carriage (costs more than the bus, and takes longer than the bus).
Once you have arrived near the island of Mont Saint-Michel, you will be let off and have to walk 5 minutes to enter the walled city. Before heading up to the church, we had a late lunch with beautiful views of the causeway. If you couldn’t get tickets for the monastery or your family doesn’t want to visit it, I would still walk up as close as possible to get the best views from Mont Saint-Michel. During our short trip, we got the kids gelato or crepes a few times to bribe them to walk up the hill. (Mom trick.)
Note: There are certain dates of the year when the causeway can get flooded, so you have to plan in advance of when you plan to arrive and depart from the island.
Mont Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important medieval pilgrimage site. This designation protects the Bay of Saint-Michel and the Abbey of Saint-Michel, dating from the 11th to 13th centuries.
The Abbey of Saint-Michel stands more than 100 meters above sea level and has a mythological feel. As the location begs tourists to traverse the ominous Bay of Saint-Michel, the awe-inspiring Gothic spires appear to rise towards heaven.
During low tide, visitors would complete a “traditional crossing,” a guided trek to reach Mont Saint-Michel. Mont Saint-Michel transforms into an island with just one road access during high tide.
The Abbey Church, accessed by ascending a 200-meter pedestrian route and then 350 stairs to the highest point of Mont Saint-Michel, is one of the attractions of a visit to Mont Saint-Michel. The Abbey Church dates from the 12th century and has a calm Romanesque sanctuary and a magnificent Gothic choir.
The “Escalier de Dentelle” (staircase) leads to a terrace with stunning panoramic views of the sea from the Abbey Church.