If you want to see Mont St.-Michel on a day trip from Paris, don’t waste time worrying about train schedules or renting a car. Just book this round-trip transportation by comfortable coach that gives you four hours of free time on the island to explore independently.
You’ll leave central Paris in the early morning (departing from 2 rue des Pyramides) for the drive through the Normandy countryside. When you arrive at Mont St.-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed village perched on a small rocky island, your driver will give you a brochure with information about sights to see, and then you’re free to wander on your own.
Most visitors make their way up to the top of the hill to visit the Benedictine abbey, once a pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages. Legend says the Gothic abbey was founded in the eighth century when the bishop of Avranches received a visit from the Archangel Michael in a dream. The copper statue of Michael slaying a dragon that crowns the abbey is said to symbolize the victory of good over evil. Other features of the abbey to see include the refectory, cloister, and ramparts.
Make your way back downhill into the village to check out shops, eateries, and museums that line the narrow lanes, or wander to a lookout where you can watch the tide going in or out. This fascinating natural feature of Mont St.-Michel varies from extreme low tide when the island is surrounded by sand to high tide when the sea rushes up to enclose the village. Some of the restaurants in town tend to close mid-afternoon, so consider eating lunch on the earlier side before exploring.
When it’s time to return to your coach, relax on the drive back to Paris, where you day trip ends.