Best of Mont Saint Michel

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Mont Saint Michel
On the western edge of Normandy, Mont St-Michel looks like something out of a fairy tale. When the tide rolls in, the hilltop abbey-village appears to emerge straight from the sea. Benedictine monks built an abbey on the narrow rocky island in the 10th century, which has been drawing pilgrims and later tourists ever since. Today, Mont St-Michel’s main street winds its way up to the cliff-top church, passing shops, restaurants, and guesthouses along the way.  

Guided tours give context to this mysterious place, taking you through some of the most impressive spaces in the abbey, including the cloister with its intricately carved arches, the 13th-century refectory, and the Gothic Guest Hall. Beyond the walls of Mont St-Michel, you can walk the sands of the bay — at low tide — with a guide who will explain the incredible natural environment. Most travelers visit on day trips from St-Malo, Caen, or Bayeux, but if you want to experience Mont St-Michel without the crowds, consider staying in the area and visiting at dawn and after sunset.
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Mont Saint Michel Essentials

The harbor town of Honfleur
Best Things to Do in Normandy

Set in northern France along the coast of the English Channel, Normandy is known for its chalky-white cliffs and beaches, the famous Mont-Saint-Michel island, the WWII D-Day landings, and picturesque half-timbered houses surrounded by dairy farms. History is the region's highlight, but you'll also find treasured towns like Honfleur and the Pays d'Auge, gourmet cheese, cider farms, and many sites of famous Impressionist works of art, plus the home and gardens of Claude Monet.

A family visiting Paris
Best Family Experiences in France

Because France is a large and diverse country, it's an ideal location for a family trip. From art-centric and foodie cities like Paris to outdoor playgrounds like the French Riviera and the beaches of northern France, there's always something to do with activities appealing to various ages and interests. Along the way, make unique family memories that you can only experience in France, such as riding horses through the surf at Mont-Saint-Michel, learning to bake macrons, or enjoying a treasure hunt at the Louvre.

The French Alps
Top Active Experiences in France

France is an active traveler's dream, with sandy beaches in the north, the towering Alps in the southeast, several river valleys across its heartland, and a rocky southern coastline dotted with inlets, caves, and coves. You can easily spend your time cycling through vineyards and from one chateau to another, riding horses in the surf, kayaking the famous Calanques, and hiking in the mountains. Or, if you're more of a city person, add a bike tour or vineyard stroll to your exploration of hubs like Paris.

Mont Saint Michel Itineraries

Coastal landscape near Etretat village in Normandy
Map of Normandy Discovery Tour - 7 Days
Normandy Discovery Tour - 7 Days

History buffs will love this Northern France itinerary, which spans an impressive timeline from the Norman invasion of England in 1066 to the D-Day landings of 1944. With the help of local guides, you'll experience the island monastery of Mont Saint Michel, visit transfixing WWII memorials, photograph spectacular cliffs, and enjoy free time in the evenings to dine in a range of charming port cities.

Famous medieval castle Sully sur Loire at sunset
Map of Paris, Normandy & the Loire Valley - 10 Days
Paris, Normandy & the Loire Valley - 10 Days

This epic 10-day French adventure kicks off in Paris for three days of culture and cuisine in the 'City of Lights'. Then, drive yourself to the Normandy coast to visit Mont Saint Michel and other historical sites—spanning 900 years—between Bayeux and Omaha Beach. Next is the Loire Valley where you'll explore charming towns and gorgeous castles before returning to Paris (by train) for one more night on the town.

One of the famous perched villages in Dordogne
Map of Western France Road Trip - 14 Days
Western France Road Trip - 14 Days

This spectacular road-trip adventure through Western France provides a subtle mix of history, culture, cuisine, wine, and outdoor activity—and plenty of picturesque landscapes between stops. Over the course of two weeks, you'll spend quality time in Paris, Normandy, Bordeaux, and the Dordogne region with a combination of tours led by English-speaking local guides and free time to explore on your own.

Mont Saint Michel dating back to the 8th century
Map of Normandy Coast Excursion - 5 Days
Normandy Coast Excursion - 5 Days

Ideal for history buffs, this Northern France itinerary spans an impressive timeline from the Norman invasion of England in 1066 to the D-Day landings of 1944. With the help of local guides, you'll experience the island monastery of Mont Saint Michel, pay respects at transfixing WWII memorials and museums, and enjoy free time in the evenings to explore the charming city of Bayeux—your home base for the trip.

Spend two leisurely days driving around the Brittany region
Map of Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley - 14 Days
Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley - 14 Days

This epic trip loops around three beloved regions in France with a nice mix of free time and guided tours. Start in Normandy to visit historical sites—spanning 900 years—between Bayeux and Omaha Beach. Next is Brittany where you'll have free time (and a car) to explore the wild, rugged coastline at your own pace. Then experience UNESCO-listed villages and castles in the Loire Valley before finishing with two days in Paris.

Discover the countryside of Normandy
Map of Best of the Veloscenic Bikeway - 7 Days
Best of the Veloscenic Bikeway - 7 Days

The newest bikeway in France, la Véloscénie (the Veloscenic) cycle route links Paris and Mont-Saint-Michel via some of the country's most scenic landscapes. Spend a week exploring the secrets of northern France as you cycle along greenways, bike paths, and quiet secondary roads, through the hedgerow fields of the Bocage Normand, forests of oak and pine, and the nature parks of La Perche and Normandie-Maine, sampling Normandy's gastronomic heritage along the way.

Mont-Saint-Michel Countryside Cycling Tour - 6 Days
Map of Mont-Saint-Michel Countryside Cycling Tour - 6 Days
Mont-Saint-Michel Countryside Cycling Tour - 6 Days

Imagine cycling across expanses of farmland as you spot something floating in the distance—a spire reaching toward the sky, extending above tiers of weathered stone resting on a rocky island. The towering island of Mont-Saint-Michel, its ancient abbey, and its serene bay are the major highlight of this six-day cycling tour, but the rest of the region has plenty to recommend it. You'll start and end in the walled port city of Saint-Malo, making your way through the countryside of Brittany and Normandy to destinations including the fishing port of Cancale and the village of Dinan.