Mont Saint-Michel Trips: Guided tours or on your own
The Mont-Saint-Michel, just a few hours away from Paris, is famous for its medieval abbey perched on a rocky outcrop in its equally famous Bay of Normandy. With Paris City Vision, you can take advantage of your time in Paris to explore this unique, historic monument on a guided tour departing from Paris.
Mont-Saint-Michel, an exceptional tourist site
Some tourist destinations seem to free themselves from their frequentation, preserving the very essence of their soul from the high influx, escaping millions of tourists and the passing of time to offer each visitor a virgin beauty of any depredation. Mont-Saint-Michel, which is a day trip from Paris, is one of those timeless sites. It is a moving dive in time, the confrontation between men and nature that gives an impression of the end of the world.
A fortified rock between Brittany and Normandy
Only 224 miles from Paris, Mont-Saint-Michel is the second most visited tourist site in France with 3.5 million visitors every year, 20,000 of whom flock to the Benedictine abbey every day during summer! Sometimes an island, sometimes a rock stranded in the middle of a sea of sand, it is the central character of a painting which is reconstructed hour by hour, when the ocean waves come to join the rivers the Couesnon, the Sélune and Sée wandering between sandy expanses and salt meadows where, for centuries, flocks of sheep have passed by. It is said the tide can go as fast as a galloping horse when the Channel assaults this marvel sculpted by nature and transformed by the fervor of Men.
Despite the huge influx of people, getting there with Paris City Vision is a sure way to fully explore it with a guide that won’t pass up any details; you’ll learn loads about the abbey’s history and surrounding bay whose tides add to the site’s inherent, mystic nature. Once your coach will get there, you will take a shuttle crossing the bay on a surprising bridge, or you can choose to walk in order to discover it more progressively. Parking lots for cars, shuttles, bridge, those improvements saved this natural marvel from silting up and allow you to keep enjoying this magical place.
The abbey, between tourist attraction and spiritual life
As far as the memory of men goes, spirituality has always been very strong in these wild and secluded lands.
Its geographical location, between sky, sea, and land, already fascinated our distant ancestors: it would have hosted, long ago, Druidic worship practices and a pagan rock would have been ripped by Aubert on Mount Tombe.
But the notoriety of the place rests on its very vivacious spiritual life. From the early Middle Ages and the beginning of the eighth century, the former Mont-Tombe hosts a first oratory dedicated to the archangel Michael who gave his name to the place and takes the name of Mont-Saint-Michel-au-péril- de-la-Mer. The prestige of this first religious monument is reinforced by the legend that surrounds its construction: the Christian implantation on this exceptional site would have been desired by the archangel in person, appearing in a dream to the Bishop Saint-Aubert and marking him on the forehead to testify the mystical character of his dreams.
If among the countless visitors who go on an excursion to Mont-Saint-Michel, from Paris or the rest of France, few can testify of a fiery faith and go there for religious reasons, the majesty of the abbey, based on successive constructions spread over several centuries, contributes very strongly to the popularity of the site. The statue of Saint-Michael slaying the dragon, gilded with fine gold and high off the base of more than 4.6 meters with its wings, still culminates today at more than 156 meters above the sea, skimming the clouds.
More than just a rocky island
Its geographical location, which places it on the border between the duchies of Normandy and Brittany, has made this rocky island a strategic stake of importance. Its ramparts, built in the 13th century, then reinforced and modified several times, protected it from attacks. Besieged in 1424 during the Hundred Years War, the Mount will withstand attacks for ten years, the battle masterfully led by Montois Louis d'Estouteville in 1434 permanently put the Mountsafe from the English assaults that will give up to take this stronghold by force. Its prestige as a religious center waned with the Reformation, and when the French Revolution broke out there were scarcely any monks still living there. At that time, the abbey was closed and converted into a prison. The prison closed in 1863 and the site became a historic monument in 1874.
Among the remains of these troubled times, you can still see the fortified outer wall. The architecture as a whole fully contributes to the medieval atmosphere of the place.
Mont-Saint-Michel day trip from Paris
Discover our offers and book a round-trip day by coach departing from Paris.
Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Admire the Normandy countryside during your journey and arrive at Mont-Saint-Michel relaxed and ready to eat lunch -- with a view of course! You’ll discover the 8th-century abbey and its history, as well as its abbatial church and its island, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a guide-interpreter who will take you around by foot. You’ll then be able to wander around freely, exploring the rocky islet and its ramparts, take photos and admire the view over a beautiful landscape. The bay is famous for its spectacular tides that set the tempo of local daily life. The town is very lively with its restaurants, such as the famous Mère Poulard, its shops, and stores.
Making a reservation with Paris City Vision means guaranteeing a fabulous day, all services included for a set price that includes transport, lunch at an onsite restaurant and the abbey visit in 7 languages. The opportunity to soak up the Norman culture while visiting Mont-Saint-Michel from Paris: more than just a tourist excursion, a real enchanted parenthesis during your holidays in France.
You can also opt for an offer that includes transfers to and from your hotel by minibus.
Excursions integrating the Mont-Saint-Michel
Even if you stay in Paris for a short period of time, don’t miss out on this visit to Normandy. If you go for the 2-day discovery tour that’ll take you not only to this exceptional site but also to the towns of Saint-Malo, Rouen, Honfleur and the D-day beaches with a night at a 3-star hotel, you’ll learn all about Normandy’s history, architecture and famous landmarks.
Heritage lovers can also opt for sightseeing tours in the footsteps of the rich heritage of France: discovering turnkey tours including visiting the castles of the Loire and Mont-Saint-Michel from Paris and reliving the splendors of the History of France, from Middle Ages to Renaissance.