Mont Saint Michel

Top Tips for Visiting Mont Saint Michel

Here are my 10 top tips for visiting Mont Saint Michel.

  1. Factor in time to get from the car park on the mainland to the island. It could take half an hour depending on where you park. Try and park as near to the shuttle buses as possible. Check out the Mont Saint Michel Tourist Information Centre leaflet which has a map of the car park. It could also take another 20 to 30 minutes to climb the steps to the abbey.
  2. The shuttle buses run very frequently so although there may be a queue you shouldn’t have too long to wait. The shuttle buses are free. There are 4 drop off/pick up points – the car park, the shops, the dam and the island.
  3. Some ticket machines for the car park only take cash and others only take credit card. Take your car parking ticket with you and pay for it before you return to your vehicle. Parking ticket machines are near the Tourist Information Centre and the main walkways to the car parks on the mainland.
  4. Dogs aren’t allowed on the shuttle bus or in the abbey. They are permitted to go on the island and possibly in bars and restaurants depending on their policy.
  5. Check the island tide times and opening times of the abbey. Book your tickets in advance. You can do this via the Mont Saint Michel abbey website. During the summer the abbey is open late. As Saturday is often a day when people start or end their holidays, it can be a good day to visit. The island is always open so if you arrive early before the abbey or shops open, you can still wander round enjoying the views. Lunchtime can also be a quieter time to visit the abbey.
  6. There are a lot of steps on the island and in the abbey. Taking a pushchair or wheelchair isn’t recommended due to the steps and cobbled streets.
  7. Restrooms are located near the main entrance to the island (before you reach the Tourist Information Office) at the top of La Grande Rue and at the top of the first staircase in the abbey.
  8. Refreshments can be purchased before you get to the island in the shops near the car park or in the bars and restaurants on the island. Food and drink shouldn’t be consumed in the abbey. There are kiosks selling sandwiches, ice creams etc on the island as well as restaurants and bars.
  9. If you are going to go to the abbey, plan your route up to it. During peak season, the island is very busy. The main entrance leads to a narrow cobbled street (La Grande Rue) with bars and restaurants that leads up to the abbey. Most people take this route. There is a staircase immediately after the post office (La Poste) which is on the left near the main entrance. Although it’s a lot of steps to climb it can be preferable to the narrow main street. A better option is to avoid the main entrance completely. Instead, as you approach the island, look over to the left where there is a turreted structure and an archway. It’s not always accessible during the high tides. This is a gentler and quieter route.
  10. Take your time in the abbey as doubling back isn’t easy. Pick up a leaflet in the ticket hall that gives a map of the abbey’s layout as this will help you to get your bearings.

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