I think Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most beautiful places in France, often missed by tourists with busy itineraries. This tidal island situated in Normandy at the mount of the Couesnon River near Avranches is so charming, you just have to spend enough time to explore and experience it in totality.
In my opinion, a minimum of 2 hours, but rather more towards 4 hours, would be enough. The reason is simply that you can do the tour in 2 hours if you go on your own, but if you love to spend some time in the restaurants or shops, you will need more. If you love to take photos, add a little more time and so it goes: All depending on how much time you spend wandering around and exploring. Just allow yourself enough time so you don’t rush your visit. If you do rush, you will definitely regret it later, or you’ll just have to come back again.
Mont Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This walled medieval town with the abbey church right at the top of the hill is definitely worth a visit. It is one of the biggest tourist attractions in France, apart from Paris.
It is said to be one of the top pilgrimage sites in the world, but it is also an actual residence for the people living there.
At times it can be a very busy village filled with shops, restaurants, and tourists.
Keeping in mind that Mont Saint-Michel normally receives more than 2 million visitors per year, you will understand that it can get quite busy at times.
The main street leading up to the abbey is filled with shops from corner to corner. It is a paradise for people (like me) who love snooping around in little interesting shops for souvenirs, but it can also get very crowded. Especially when the tourist busses start to bring in people for day visits.
The restaurants are famous for their French fluffy omelets, but they might not be to everyone’s liking. Although many tourists rave about the omelets in these fast food shops, the crepes served at some of the restaurants are another light meal that is a favorite amongst locals. The crepes are definitely worth a try.
Get ready to climb what seems like a thousand and more steps. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes and explore some of the side alleys as well. The architecture everywhere is just stunning. Stop to enjoy the beautiful vistas and take photos. The bay stretches from Normandy to Brittany and the views are spectacular.
The abbey church is quite impressive, especially if you think about when it was built and where it was built. It really hits home when you go inside. So I would say the abbey and the cloisters are definitely worth the visit, as well as standing at the top and enjoying the spectacular views.
Just do some leisurely strolling and allow yourself some time to take everything in without rushing your visit.
The best time to visit would be during less crowded seasons. Late November and early December (winter time) are more peaceful, but if you don’t mind the tourists and crowded spaces, summer is beautiful.
The most popular time for travelers is during August.
I would recommend going early morning. The large crowds usually come in from 10 am to about 4 pm. Late afternoon you can also enjoy the sunset on the water.
It is a great idea to spend the night. This will give you time to take awesome photos late in the day, at sunset and early morning.
Yes, you can, and there are actually some lovely hotels. Here are a few suggestions on where to stay in Le Mont Saint-Michel: