A day trip to Mont Saint Michel is very accessible from Paris. Check my quick guide to Mont Saint Michel and book an extra day for discovering Rennes and the local cuisine, the Brittany’s galettes and cider.
When I was little and started French classes, our teacher also introduced us to the French culture, geography and awesome places from France. Beside the Parisian attractions, an intriguing place was Mont Saint Michel, both an isle or a peninsula, at different moments of the day.
Many years later, I’ve arrived in France for my engineering studies, and stayed to work as an engineer. One of the first places to see in France was Mont Saint Michel, a beautiful cliché you have to see it too.
Without further do, here’s how, in my quick guide for:
A day trip to Mont Saint Michel
Going in a day trip to Mont Saint Michel
Whether you want to spend the whole weekend, or just go in a day trip to Mont Saint Michel, you still have to go via Rennes. If going from Paris, the train takes 3h30 with a change at Rennes, where a shuttle will take you to the Mont Saint Michel.
- If you have an extra day, I suggest you visit Rennes too.
By train Paris-Rennes and then by shuttle: 3h30.
What to do on Mont Saint Michel
Well, here I can’t help you. You may want a guided visit, or you prefer just rambling by yourself, in both cases, you should stop at the Tourist Office (not far from the entrance) and pick at least the map of the place.
If you take a tour, they will present you some of the historic or religious buildings inside the fortified little city of Mont Saint Michel, which is a UNESCO heritage since 1979. In 708 a bishop built a sanctuary on top of Mont Tombe as the Archangel Michel had repeatedly appeared to the bishop urging him to build a church on the rocky islet.
Entrance fees may be asked for the museums, or other attractions. Check with the Tourist Office.
Wait for the waters during the flood
While on the platform view spot of the abbey, you can admire the tide about 2h before the tide schedule brochure. You can see the waters coming, rapidly engulfing the sands around Mont Saint Michel.
Note that it is also possible to take a walk on the sands around Mont Saint Michel, but ALWAYS with a guide, and not during the tide, obviously. NEVER go without a guide. NEVER follow other persons/tourists.
We waited for this experience, but the weather went crazy, and within minutes, the strong winds started blowing, ravaging at least my hair. We decided to go back, as we were constrained also by our departing bus. To do so, we had to traverse the ramparts. A shower like rain started pouring onto us and we hadn’t any umbrella or raincoat. When we found refuge on the other side of the abbey, the moment we stepped inside, the rain had stopped. We started taking off our clothing layers and wring them, while everybody laughed at our mischance.
Food during a day trip to Mont Saint Michel
We preferred to take sandwiches and picnic on Mont Saint Michel. The restaurants seemed expensive and overcrowded. Nevertheless, after the rain episode, we still had half an hour until our bus departure, so we decided to get in a pizzeria, where we ordered a hot tea. Best decision ever!
So, you see, a day trip to Mont Saint Michel is very accessible from Paris, but if you have some time ahead of you, one day visit in Rennes will give you the chance to discover the local cider and the galettes, a Brittany variety of crêpes. As we visited off-season, the place was not really full of tourist, but the weather was a little against us. We had a three days weekend for Rennes and Mont Saint Michel, and rain became our friend.