Easy to be Parisian

MONT SAINT-MICHEL : A STUNNING WORLD HERITAGE SITE


 

MONT SAINT-MICHEL

A mysterious island floating on the sea, Mont Saint Michel. This small island, of only 1km, brings a large number of visitors every year. 

 

HOW TO GET TO MONT SAINT MICHEL FROM PARIS 

From Paris-Montparnasse station, it takes about 3 hours to Mont Saint Michel. If the train ticket on your travel date is a bit expensive, you can also take Flixbus or Ouibus, which will take 4.5-5.5 hours but at a cheaper price.

 

 

 The history of Mont Saint Michel dates back to 708, when Saint Michael appeared in the dreams of Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, three different times. After these dreams, Saint Aubert decided to build an abbey here in Mont Saint Michel, previously known as 'Mont-Tombe'. The abbey is situated in the middle of Mont Saint Michel, surrounded by a small village with restaurants and souvenir shops. To access the island, you must cross an old bridge. This bridge was built in 1879 to make it easier for the pilgrims. 

 

HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND

1) On foot : From the starting point of the bridge to the island, it takes 30minutes by foot. 

2) Free Shuttle bus : It runs every 5-10 minutes which takes only 5 minutes to the island. 

3) Bicycle : Depending on the hotels you stay, you can borrow the bicycles for free or at a very low cost. As you cannot bring it on the island, you have to leave it on a bicycle rack. 

 

ABBAYE DU MONT SAINT MICHEL

After being built as an abbey, it was then used as the prison to hold those who were against the government during the French revolution. Starting in 1922, it began to be recovered as the abbey. Built with romanesque style, two three-story buildings were added to create a more confortable place for the monks. Atop of the 156m long abbey, you can see the golden statue of Saint Michael.

 

Address: 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Opening Hours: May 2 - August 31 9:00-19:00, September 1 - April 30 9:30-18:00 (Closed on January 1st, May 1st, and Christmas)

Admission Fee: 10euros 

 

 

The island is quaint and cozy. Along the main road you will find bustling souvenirs shops, restaurants, and cafes. Taking a step back in time to the renaissance, walking among a magical castle.  

 

If you want some fresh air away from crowded street, go up the stairs and walk around the rampart. There are also some cafes and restaurants up here accompanied by a cool normandy breeze. 

 

LA MÈRE POULARD

You cannot go to Mont Saint Michel without trying the world famous restaurant, La Mere Poulard, which opened in 1888. Many famous celebrities including Ernest Heminway and Yves Saint Laurant have visited here. Inside the restaurant, there is a wall filled with the autographs of celebrities who enjoyed this restaurant. 

 

In the past, pilgrims were forced to wait on the bay until the tide was low enough to leave. During this time, Annette Poulard developed this soufflé omelette which is fluffy, creamy and melts in your mouth. With a recipe that was kept secret for nearly 130 years, La Mere Poulard, became one of the most famous restaurants in France. Later opening branches in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Philippines.

 

Address : Grande Rue, 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Opening Hours : 7:00-21:30

 

ÉGLISE SAINT-PIERRE

On the way to the abbey, you will encounter a small church. Joan of Arc is featured on the gate as well as impressive stained-glass windows representing the dream of Aubert. When you exit through side door, you will see the cemetary where inhabitants of Mont Saint Michel are resting, including Annette Poulard, 'La Mere Poulard'. 

 

Address : Grande Rue, 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Opening Hours : 9:00-22:00

 

After being listed as the national historical monument in 1862, Mont Saint Michel, was also registered as UNESCO World Heritage in 1979. Many dolphins, seals and more than 100 kinds of birds inhabit Mont Saint Michel, making it a special protection zone. Not far from the island, you can see herds of sheep roaming in fields.

 

O'BON PARIS' NOTE

In the Normandy area, the high tide can reach up to 15m, making the island unaccessible by the bay. It is mandatory to check the time of tides as the speed of the tide is very fast. We recommend staying one night at Mont Saint Michel, especially during the summer, to see the night view of Mont Saint Michel with its lights on. This fairytale castle is worth the visit. 

 


Author and Photographer : Yuna Lee

Translated by Claire Wilmink