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Mont St. Michel (France)
Idea About: place
Mont Saint-Michel (Saint Michael's Mount) is a rocky tidal island in Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy), France. It is located about half a mile (one kilometer) off the French north coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches. The population of the island is about 50 people. The island is best known for its well-preserved Norman Benedictine Abbey of St Michel at the top of the island, surrounded by charming medieval town.
What Makes It Special
Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The modern history of Mont St. Michel goes back to 8th century when a small church was built on the top of the island's rock, and in 10th century community of Benedictines settled on the island. For almost one thousand years the Abbey of St Michel was a great spiritual center and a famous place of pilgrimage for the Medieval occident. During French Revolution and Empire, the abbey become a prison. Later, the Abbey was restored and in 1966 a religious community moved back to abbatial dwellings, and the place re-established its spiritual presence. The medieval village surrounding the Abbey with its winding streets and medieval architecture is a nice place to explore.
Directions To Destination
The most convenient way to reach Mont Saint Michel is by car (about 4.5 hours from Paris). You should target route A84 south-west to Pontorson and continue to Avranches. Merge with route D43 and follow signs to Mont-St-Michel. Parking at Mont St. Michel is €5. To travel by train take TGV from Gare Montparnasse, Paris to Rennes and then by bus (from railway station square) to the island (take about 1.5 hours, ticket about €12). There are also two airports you can use to travel to Mont St. Michel: one is in Rennes serving local routes to French some cities; another is Dinard-Pleurtuit-Saint Malo Airport (about 40 miles or 70 kilometers from Mont St. Michel) with flights to London and several other cities in UK served by Aurigny and Ryanair.
Best Time To Go
It depends on your preferences: if good and warm weather is what you want, go there in July and August. To avoid crowds, come to the island before or after pick summer months. Anyway, the worst months to come are November, December, January and February
Where To Stay
Mont Saint Michel has a number of small hotels located within the island township. Inside walls, we recommend Hotel Du Guesclin, a small and inexpensive 10-room hotel, €70 - €90. On the mainland opt for Hotel Mercure Mont Saint Michel is hotel located 1.2 miles (2 km) from Mont Saint Michel Abbey near to the Couesnon River. It has 100 modern, spacious rooms with air conditioning, wooded park, car park, bar and meeting rooms. Rates are from €100 to €400.
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Main activities on the island include visiting the Abbey and its church and surrounding village. There are also several museums with Musée Historique and the dungeons of Mont St. Michel being the most interesting. You may also want to visit Chapelle Notre-Dame-sous-Terre, the Carolingian church built in 10th century.
Useful Visitor Information and Tips
Mont Saint Michel is always accessible as the causeway (about 1.2 miles or 2 km long) is never completely covered by the water. Some parking lots at the foot of the Mount can be covered with water during high tides; however, cars can be parked on the causeway. To observe the tide at Mont Saint-Michel, consult the tide time tables (available on the Mont St. Michel official web site) and be ready two hours before (when the water starts to rise up) the time indicated. The tide at Mont St. Michel is one of the fastest - never attempt any walk on tidal flats surrounding the island without checking the tide tables.. While planning your visit keep in mind that highest tides take place 36 to 48 hours after the full and new moons.
Tags: Aurigny; Avranches; Basse-Normandie; Benedictines; causeway (3); Chapelle Notre-Dame-sous-Terre; Couesnon River; Dinard-Pleurtuit-Saint Malo Airport; France (7); highest tides; Hotel Du Guesclin; Hotel Mercure Mont Saint Michel; Lillemer; Lower Normandy; Mont-Dol; Mont Saint-Michel; Norman Benedictine Abbey of St Michel; Pontorson; Rennes; Ryanair; Saint Michael's Mount; Tombelaine; UNESCO World Heritage Site (19)
Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel - Centre des monuments nationaux