The slender towers and sky-scraping turrets of the abbey of Mont Saint Michel are one of the classic images of northern France. Rising from flat white sands, the abbey sits atop a small island encircled by stout ramparts and battlements, connected to the mainland by an old causeway. Legend has it that the abbey was founded in the 8th century, when Aubert, the bishop of Avranches, was visited by the Archangel Michael in a dream; to this day the abbey is still crowned by a gilded copper statue of Michael slaying a dragon, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.
The bay around Mont Saint Michel is famous for its extreme tides. Depending on the season and the gravitational pull of the moon, the difference between low and high tides can reach 50 feet (15 m), although the Mont is only completely surrounded by the sea during seasonal equinoxes. Regardless of the time of year, the waters sweep in at an astonishing rate; at low tide the Mont can be surrounded by bare sand for miles around, but at high tide, barely six hours later, the whole bay is often entirely submerged by the sea.
It was fantastic, I highly recommend it
Review by bruce a, May 2013
Doing what: 2-Day Mont St Michel and Chateaux Country Tour from Paris
We enjoyed this tour a great deal. Comfortable buses, well organized, knowledgeable guides. One suggestion. The guides might remind passengers to keep their conversations fairly quiet in respect to others on the tour.
The bus ride from Paris is long, but worth it. The lunch provided is okay. There is a shuttle bus to take you to the bridge. I took the guided tour rather than liberté (on your own). From the bus stop, you have to walk to the entrance of Mont Saint Michel and then through the medieval town — you roughly climb about 350 steps to the entrance of the abbey. The tour guide was very pleasant and made sure no one was left behind. She provided great history and answered all our questions. The trip was timeless!
Despite the huge tides, Mont Saint Michel is never cut off from the mainland - the causeway is always accessible but check which car park you should use. A local bus takes 15 minutes from Pontorson on the mainland to the Mont or one hour from St-Malo. Trains come up from Paris to Caen, then from Caen to Pontorson.