The Mystical Abbey of the Mont Saint Michel!

The mystical abbey perched on a small rocky island in the midst of vast sea radiates its magic to entice pilgrims and tourists to be bewitched by its surreal location. Located in the region of Lower Normandy in France Mont Saint Michel is one of the most alluring castles in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before modernization, the abbey was accessible only at low tide and stayed isolated at high tide which made it unconquerable during the wars.

To Reach the Island
There are no direct train connections from Paris to Mont Saint-Michel. One has to take a TGV to Pontorson-Mont St Michel train station or to Rennes and then travel by bus to the destination. One can also drive to Mont Saint Michel from Paris which should take around 4 hrs.

We were in Caen for our planned trip to Etretat a marvelous pebble beach and yet another wonder in the Normandy region and we had a year old kid with us so to make our trip comfortable we booked a group tour with BayeuxShuttle from Bayeux which is around 10 minutes from Caen by train. We planned to take a train to Bayeux, but, fortunately, our host offered to drive us all the way to Bayeux.

We along with 6 more couples started from Bayeux at around 9.30 in the morning. We drove through few pretty towns most of which were entirely rebuilt after been destroyed during the world wars. Later we drove through the long stretch of the highway. On either side of the highway were the dense bushes vibrant with fall colors, believed to be used by the soldiers during the world war to hide.

Mont Saint Michel

The journey took us around 90 minutes and as we started approaching the island we could see the surreal edifice of the castle with its soaring gothic spires afar against the blue skies and a carpet of verdant meadows with the cows grazing at its foot. The fantasized backdrop was mesmerizing while we couldn’t just take our eyes off the magnificent castle others could not just stop snapping the grandeur of castle.

Mont Saint Michel

We woke from our reverie when our guide drove into the parking losing sight of the castle. Our guide handed us our entrance tickets and briefed on things to do around the castle. We were to explore the wonders of the castle and the abbey on our own for next 3 hours.

The island is at a km distance from the parking. There are free shuttle buses to drop tourists to the island. One can hop onto one of the horse carriages and ride to the fantasy island like the bygone times or simply walk.

Mont Saint Michel

The only way to explore Mont St Michel abbey is on foot. There are two gates into the walled city. The main gate is at the end of the causeway and leads to the top of the island through a narrow winding lane packed with souvenir shops and tourists.

Mont Saint Michel

The other gate to the left of the main gate is the quietest route up.

We strolled through the packed serpentine alleys past the restaurants and souvenir shops. We bought some tasty cookies packed in colorful Mont Saint Michel collector boxes.

The ornate interior and the spiritual aura of the glorious Eglise Saint-Michel (Abbey Church) at the top of the island is remarkable.

Mont Saint Michel

The church terrace is a vantage point for some of the awe-inspiring and stunning panoramic views of the mudflats and the causeway. We could spot ant-sized figures of people stirring along the bay.

Mont Saint Michel

After spending some peaceful time in the cathedral, we started to descend, occasionally stopping by the ramparts for stunning views of the flats.

Mont Saint Michel

One can take up a guided horseback ride along the bay at low tides for astounding vistas of island and abbey from a different perspective.

We decided to walk all the way to the parking lot, which was the best decision. There are several benches along the curving esplanade to stop by and marvel at the nature wonders.

Mont Saint Michel

We could spot herds of sheep grazing on the salt marsh meadows.

Mont Saint Michel

Every time we turned around the grandiose of the castle never ceased to amaze us. And we would stand there perplexed, take a deep breath and continue our walk.

Mont Saint Michel

We finally reached the parking area where our guide was waiting to drive us back to Bayeux. The tourist information center at the center of parking area hosted an impressive multimedia show providing insight on Mont Saint Michel.

Mont Saint Michel

An important pilgrimage center, an island at high tide and a popular tourist destination – Mont Saint Michel is a fairytale structure standing splendidly in the midst of the sea with a wondrous backdrop of perpetual blue Sky. And as the night falls the enchanting image of the floodlit island is sure to leave an indelible mark on one’s mind and soul.

Mont Saint Michel

Have you visited the magical abbey of Mont Saint Michel? How was your experience? Do Share with us in comments.

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34 Comment

  1. Paola says: Reply

    It’s indeed a wonderful place to visit. I love walking up along the narrow streets crowded with souvenir shops; they are so pictoresque!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree Paola the abbey is picturesque indeed!

  2. When I visited it was low tide and rains, the results were grey pics. Yours are so good. I liked the greenery and life all around.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes it was a sunny day which was definitely rewarding 🙂

  3. This is such a big dream of mine to visit Mont Saint Michel! I didn’t know though that there isn’t a direct train to it from Paris!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Hope you visit soon Veronica 🙂

  4. You were able to take some amazing shots, the weather and the lighting was really on your side. At first I was like what is a TGV??? Then realised it was the train/rail in France right? A horse and carriage ride is always fun, but the poor horses have to work all day 🙁 I would want to visit this Abbey one day.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Sheri!

  5. Mont Saint Michel sure has a great history and looks so wonderful in each of the images you have shared

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Prasad

  6. I loved Mt. St. Michel! I’ve been there years ago and still dream about it!

  7. Evanne says: Reply

    I’ve always wanted to go here! It just seems so majestic. I love your photo with the cows in the foreground. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one form that perspective beofre!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Evanne the vistas around the castle were truly stunning.

  8. Sona says: Reply

    Europe has so much to offer that the time is never enough to see everything. We didn’t have time to go to Mont Saint Michel but am sure it is as awesome as you have described.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree Europe is brimming with many breathtaking wonders!

  9. This is another place in France that I’ve yet to see. I’m fascinated by the church and its surrounding areas. I would be totally lost in that big mudflats but the scenery are all absolutely amazing!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree with you one can easily spend hours to be lost in this amazing backdrop!

  10. Andra says: Reply

    I have always wanted to visit Mont Saint Michel but somehow missed it each time I was in France. Now I definitely have to go there. The sheep look so sweet 🙂

  11. Ana says: Reply

    Mont Saint Michel looks absolutely beautiful and seems like you guys had so much fun out there! I loved your pictures. It looks like a perfect postcard! Have pinned your post for my future France trip whenever I’ll go in my life! 🙂

  12. Komang Ayu says: Reply

    Mont Saint Michel looks like a grand castle and with a very beautiful scenery. I love this place. I can not wait to get there. I am completely bewitched Hehehehe.

  13. Lance says: Reply

    Mont st Michel looks tempting to visit after seeing your wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing this post. The whole scenery seems magical.

  14. This looks like a beautiful place. Even though this is a pilgrimmage place, I like how its beauty has been preserved and unspoilt. Pardon my ignorance but couldnt figure out what TGV meant? 🙂

    1. I am glad to see so much of the Mont Saint Michel abbey area must be traveled on foot. A great way to explore any place. What a lovely place to visit.

    2. TGV is the French high speed train.

  15. Isn’t Mont St. Michel beautiful? I have a friend from Normandy and he is very proud of it. You took great photos of the flats. I took the train to Pontorson and then the bus which was worth it because I got to see MSM all lit up at night. It really looked like a fairytale castle!

  16. It’s all so green and pretty! The castle looks surreal in the photos you took! I loved them. I will try to visit next time I go to France!

  17. I always wonder how much Europe has in store… beautiful pics of the abbey, castle and aerial view of the flats…

  18. This Abbey is so amazing! Would love to see the views from up top, plus exploring history-rich places is one of my favorite things. Those horse carriages though! Those are such an amazing idea.

  19. Ami says: Reply

    Have not been there but your virtual tour has got me longing for more. I love your pictures. They are so bright and vibrant. Hope to get there soon.

  20. Those low tides give way to some amazing views. I would have also had to take many a deep breath before continuing on my travels with a castle that grand!

  21. I really wanted to visit Mont Saint Michel on my last trip to France. But there was so much to see in and around Paris that I never got a chance. Just another reason to go back. It really does look like a fairytale castle.

  22. Mont Saint Michel is on my list! It reminds me of Beauty and the Beast’s castle. I think that is right. I have been wanting to go there, but with an 8 hour car drive I don’t know if I can make it. Eventually! I only have a year left in Europe!

  23. Liz says: Reply

    Mont Saint Michel looks amazing! You took some really great pictures. I missed this when I last went to France — it’s definitely worth a visit next time I’m in the country. 🙂

  24. Blair Villanueva says: Reply

    Indeed this place is quite mysterious and yet it exudes its unique beauty. Great location for wedding photoshoot (if they allow).

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