Set in the bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, Mont Saint Michel is a fantastic place to enjoy day tours from Paris thanks to its charming settings and breathtaking beauty. Mont Saint Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most picturesque places in the whole of France, if not Europe.
Mont Saint Michel was once a place for pilgrims and monks. Today, it’s a Medieval city with a stunning abbey, eye-catching streets, and maritime character. A day trip to Mont Saint Michel from Paris includes taking in the local scenery of Normandy and a chance to learn about the varied history that surrounds this magical place.
Here's all you need to know about Mont Saint Michel, one of the most exciting day trips from Paris.
There are multiple ways to get from Paris to Mont Saint Michel for a day tour, including car, train, and bus. Most Mont Saint Michel tours from Paris include a bus ride, which takes around four hours. During the journey, you can expect to see some of the scenic sights of Normandy — such as its picturesque coastlines. The train is a slightly shorter journey, taking around three hours. Trains leave from Paris Gare Montparnasse station. The distance between Paris and Mont Saint Michel is just under 365km.
You can also join a 2-day tour or 3-day tour to see more of the surrounding sights, including Normandy and the D-Day battlefields, Honfleur and Loire Valley.
Expect to pay between €100 and €200 for a day tour to Mont Saint Michel from Paris, depending on the type you choose. Most tours include transportation to and from the island, a guide who will tell you all about the history, and an inclusive lunch. During the tour, you will visit the Abbey and the rest of the island, including local villages and museums. Tours for longer than one day are more expensive, ranging between €250 and €650.
The Abbey is the star of the show at Mont Saint Michel. Ascend the long, winding cobblestone pathways and lay your eyes on one of France’s most beautiful sites. Enjoy the medieval architecture and learn about the history that includes tales of how it was impenetrable, despite many attacks from the English. Once inside, soak up the atmosphere of the church and be a part of history that has stood since the 9th century.
The western terrace, known as Terrasse de l’Ouest, is located on the island and provides some of the best views available — including panoramas over the bay. Head to Porte Échauguette, which is located on the left of the main entrance gate. Here, you will be rewarded with stunning vistas of the coast. The ramparts are the best places to be for the majestic views of the island.
With so much history all around you at Mont Saint Michel, it’s no surprise to find out that there are several museums dotted around the island. Learn all about the maritime history of Mont Saint Michel, as well as the pilgrims who have occupied Mont St Michel for centuries.
Many who go on one of the Mont Saint Michel day tours from Paris don’t realise that people actually live on the island. Around 40-plus inhabitants call Mont Saint Michel their home, including monks and nuns that live in the Abbey. The local village, which you will pass on your way up to the Abbey, provides plenty of gift shops to buy some memorabilia as well as a smattering of restaurants. Most Mont Saint Michel tours from Paris include lunch. But there are a few restaurants just in case you work up an appetite.
The Bay of Mont Saint Michel has the most extensive tidal range in continental Europe, especially during the spring tides. When the waters disappear, The Bay of Mont Saint Michel comes to life. Expect to find flora, fauna, streams and mudflats. As the light reflects across the land, it uncovers reflections of a stunning natural environment. For those who want to cross the bay on foot, it’s recommended they go with an experienced tour guide - someone who knows how long the tide will be out for.
While history and unimaginable beauty are the main attractions of Mont Saint Michel, there are a few fun things to do just a couple of miles away from the island. One of those activities is Alligator Bay, where you will find the largest group of alligators in Europe. There are also 700 animals from five countries to see, including turtles and lizards. All of the action at Alligator Bay is just five minutes away from Mont Saint Michel.
Tombelaine is a small tidal island just off Mont Saint Michel and can be reached when the tides are low. Apparently, the name means “the tomb of Helene” after a princess called Helene who was said to be buried on the rock. The island was the neighbourhood of a chapel and a priory, then a village and finally a castle.
Spring is the best time to enjoy Mont Saint Michel tours from Paris, as you can walk to the nearby islands and maximise your tour. As a rule of thumb, the months between March and October are best for making the most of the spectacular island and all it has to offer.
July and August are the high seasons, which means the crowds will be at their peak with lots of tourists. Low season runs between November and February. It’s much quieter at this time of year, but the weather is generally poor, and tides are typically high.
Yes, there are tours departing from another city in France: