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The Mont-Saint-Michel: One of the Most Visited Sites in France

The Mont-Saint-Michel was classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1979. It is located between Brittany and Normandy and is 3 hours 30 minutes from Paris. Surrounded by a unique bay and founded on a magnificent granite rocky island, it is the most visited site in France.

The origins


The granite rock of Mont Saint-Michel was initially been called Mont Tombe. In 708, the archangel Michael appeared in a dream to Saint Aubert, bishop of Avranches, and asked him to build a sanctuary in his name. In 966, a community of Benedictines established itself and built the first church. At the same time, a village began to develop below to welcome the first pilgrims.

The archangel Saint-Michel

As you may have noticed, the islet is named after the archangel Saint-Michel. This extraordinary islet was previously called the Mont Tombe (before 709). But after the archangel appeared there (three consecutive times), the place changed its name.

A spectacular place


If you plan to visit the region of Normandy, don’t miss the greatest spectacle of Mont-Saint-Michel. It is the theater of the largest tides in Europe: the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. Indeed, nature offers an exceptional show. It is to witness this breathtaking natural phenomenon that most tourists or vacationers choose to visit the Mont-Saint-Michel.

In addition, Mont becomes an island again for a few hours. This often happens when the tidal coefficient exceeds 110. This phenomenon occurs especially between March and April. You can find out about the tide times of the Mont-Saint-Michel online.

Several places to observe the rising tide

If you want to attend the high tide show, you have to arrive at the place two hours before the show’s beginning. This way, you will have plenty of time to find the best observation point. In any case, you can have a fantastic view from:

  • The new footbridge
  • The West Terrace or the square in front of the abbey
  • The ramparts
  • The Mount

Make yourself comfortable, because it is not every day that you can see the sea rising at a very high speed. If none of these places suit you, you can always choose the bay. Indeed, this one has several observation posts, like:

  • The Grouin du Sud: located in Vains-Saint-Léonard
  • La Roche Torin: located in Courtils
  • Le Gué de l’Épine: in Val-Saint-Père.

Various means of transportation

There are different ways to get to Mont-Saint-Michel: via horse-drawn shuttles, foot, or motorized reversible shuttles.

The horse-drawn shuttle


The shuttle is also known as “la Maringote”. It is an original means of transportation, and its departure point is at the foot of the parking lot. It is the best way to discover the landscape, especially Mont-Saint-Michel’s site. Horses usually pull the shuttle.

On foot

It is formally forbidden to carry pets (like dogs) in the shuttle, for your information. On the other hand, you can bring them, provided that you use the pedestrian paths and the footbridge.

The Motorized Reversible Shuttle


Better known as the “Passeur”, the motorized reversible shuttle is an alternative way to get to Mont-Saint-Michel. The departure point is located near the parking lot and next to the Tourist Information Center.

Unlike the horse-drawn carriage, the Passeur is equipped with a motor and is, therefore, more comfortable and faster. Indeed, 12 minutes are enough to reach the destination, i.e., Mont. This more modern shuttle is at your disposal every day, from 7:30 am to 11 pm.

But the transport of pets is also forbidden in the shuttle, except for those transported in a basket or an adapted bag.

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