Updated on 25 June 2020
Reading time: 3 minutes
Enjoy a tour of the Abbey of the Mont-Saint-Michel, marvel at the greatest tidal range in continental Europe, or even cross the Bay on foot – there is so much to see and do on and around this iconic landmark!
Abbey of the Mont-Saint-Michel: This Benedictine abbey sat atop the mount has always been the final destination for pilgrims and tourists alike. It is reached via the steep winding village street, lined with museums, restaurants, hotels and shops. The abbey’s imposing architecture dates back to medieval times, and still inspires awe, showing both military and religious strength.
Once inside, soak in the atmosphere of the church, cloisters and the wing of the abbey nicknamed the Marvel due to the gravity-defying way it sits upon the rock. In 1966, the abbey celebrated 1000 years since being founded, and ever since, part of the building has been re-occupied by a small religious community.
Far above the abbey’s spectacular buttresses and gothic pinnacles is a statue of St Michael, weigher of souls, marking the highest point on the mount. Sculpted by Emmanuel Frémiet in the 19th century, St Michael is a reminder of this monument’s long religious history.
On summer evenings, you can also tour the abbey as night falls, with music and lights adding to the special atmosphere. Several times a year, classical concerts are also performed at the abbey.
The Mont-Saint-Michel is to France what the Great Pyramid is to Egypt
Marvel at the greatest tidal range in continental europe
The Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel is subject to some of the biggest tidal ranges in the world, creating an ever-changing seascape. It makes for a sublime sight, watching the water patterns across the vast bay change hour by hour, minute by minute. The glorious Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel, like the holy mount itself, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With the largest tidal range in continental Europe during spring tides, the tides in the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel can withdraw as far as 25km from the shore. Following low tide, the local saying goes that the seawater rushes back into the bay “at the speed of a galloping horse”. The water certainly comes in fast, so don’t get caught out by the tide!
Cross the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel on foot
At low tide and especially during spring tides the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel unveils its secrets. As the hours pass and seasons change, visitors can witness the surprising array of flora, fauna, streams and mudflats, as well as the changing light and reflections of this exceptional landscape.
For a truly unforgettable experience, why not walk across the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel? Given the dangers of the tides and quick sands across the bay, it is very strongly advised that you go with an experienced guide. Find further information at any of the local tourist offices or find a guide here.
- Granville: Nicknamed the ‘Monaco of the north’, Granville is a lively seaside town and port.
- The Scriptorial: An interactive museum 30 minutes away from the Mont-Saint-Michel, home to its medieval manuscripts.
Mont-Saint-Michel Tourist Office
Grande rue, 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel