Mont St-Michel is a small rocky island just off the coast of Normandy, close to the border with Brittany. This tiny, tidal island is linked to the mainland by a 2km long causeway.
One day in the future the causeway (built in 1879) will be replaced with a bridge….but this has been in the planning for a number of years, so who knows when it will be built.
The rocky island is only around one kilometre in circumference, and rises to a height of 80 metres (not including the height of the buildings on it). The majestic Abbey of Mont St-Michel sits atop, and is visible from many miles away.
Entrance to the island is via the small gateway, the Porte de' l'Avancee. On the left, as you enter, you can visit the tourist office and buy an expensive map of the island. Take a walk along the islands only street, Grande Rue, bypassing the endless souvenir shops and over-priced restaurants, until you get to one of the vantage points to check out the fabulous views across the bay.
Keep walking to the top of the island and you can visit the Abbey. It is quite a steep walk, with plenty of stairs, which helps to justify some ice cream after your visit!
A narrow street, one shop next to the other, souvenirs and gadgets, a paradise for people who like to spend their money on all sorts of trash and useless souvenirs.
Don't worry about food, we smelled waffles and hot dogs everywhere.
Every 10 meters a Medieval torture musem (we saw them all over Europe), and a man proclaiming loudly what you can expect when you pay the entrance fee.
A place wich gives you the good feeling of being on vacation!
From the continent, Mont-Saint-Michel looks like an amazing structure, standing out of nothing. I feel it actually looks as if it was the huge turret of a gigantic submarine. On a cloudy day, the sun comes and goes away and can, like on this photo highlights the Mount alone, the foreground remaining in the shade, which makes it even more dramatic.
To admire the full beauty of the Mont, this is about the best distance. However, the weather can be cloudy and then the sight remains dull (second photo). Fortunately, like everywhere along the sea, the weather changes very fast and most of the time, if you are patient and wait for a while, you will get enough sun for a good view (first photo)
Mont Saint-Michel (Saint Michael's Mount) is a rocky island surrounded by perilous waters one kilometer (0.6 miles) off the coast of Normandy. It was founded in 708 by the Bishop of Avranches who built a chapel there after the Archangel Michael appeared to him in a dream. Construction of the spectacular Abbaye du Mont Saint-Michel (Mont Saint-Michel Abbey) started in 1023 and finished some 400 years later. Fashioned from granite, its delicate contours are an extension of the shape of the island and encompass a range of architectural styles, from Norman to Gothic. For centuries, the Abbey was a place of pilgrimage but it has also variously served as a prison, a fortress against the English and a monastery.
OK, I know that this is far too obvious. However, some information may be useful: Take around 2 to 3 hours to visit the abbey buildings. The abbey church, the cloister and the scriptorium are the three main parts to visit, afterwards you can walk a little in the cloister garden and hope that it is not too crowded...
Rent an audioguide (4,40 EUR) , it is also possible to share an audioguide (two headphones an one guide) for just 5,50 EUR. And don't forget to bring comfy shoes - the way up to the abbey is quite steep.
And don't forget to have a look at the tide (see warnings and dangers)!
Take the tour through the old Fortress and church of Mont St Michel. be warned though once you start the tour you have to complete it and it takes about 2 hours. As you go form on are to the next the doors behind you are locked by the tour guide. This was not the tour to start when your freinds were already in the car wating to drive to Cherbourg to catch a ferry for which you were already under pressure to make !
The tour is however very interesting if taken under less stressful conditions. Having to run from the last point to the car through the narrow streets of St Michel was very challenging so I didn't get time to stop at the stalls and restaruants etc that line the way.
Its a good climb to the top of the rock but the views are worth it. (photo to be added later)
This is the view from the road as your approach Mont St. Michel. At high tide, the roads are completely covered and the "island" is surrounded by water.
This small "island" is about one kilometer in diameter and 80 meters high. It is separated from the mainland by one kilometer of sand at low tide.
Is a mandatory visit the Mont St.Michel and its tidal island.
If you travel on february, you will have the chance to see it without many people. I think that in summer season, the place is full of visitors and is less impressive than in winter season.
Except a bus full of japanese and a one school trip, we were alone there.
And we had a very good time because is usual that in winter the rain and the cold weather it complicates the visit.
The Abbey is also mandatory to visit. Very intersting place and there's a very good views of the Bay from there.
walking into the MSM is done with a guide. the site tells you about the tides
come in now it will slowly change the welcome of visitors by 2015
I just drove near there today. and again tomorrow; enjoy it