Holidays to Mont Saint Michel, France

A testimony to blind faith in the face of the unthinkable, the building of Mont Saint Michel is none other than an architectural and engineering miracle. The Abbey itself, a near-vertical rabbit warren of cloisters, crypts and corridors, points up to the heavens; built initially and supposedly, on the instruction of the archangel Saint Michael by the bishop of nearby Avranches.

As you approach Mont Saint Michel from the surrounding countryside, the island comes into view, initially as a speck in the bay. As you get closer you can make out the spires and rooftops, and once you cross the bridge itself you’ll notice people as tiny as ants, exploring the cluster of ancient buildings. The shifting sands and silt beneath the island present a near-impossible challenge, not only to build this mysterious place but to keep it upright – with the local government recently putting measures into place to manage both the flow of the tides and tourists to ensure more stability.

Once you are inside the fortified walls of the Mont itself, the web of narrow cobblestone streets, cafés, shops, inns, and museums is yours to explore. Topping it all off, the Abbey itself is a visionary work of gothic, vaulted cloisters, flying buttresses, grand rooms, and winding corridors. Looking upwards, you’ll see the golden lightning-rod figure of Saint Michael himself, pointing towards the sky and looking over the entire island.

Highlights

  • Cross the bridge on foot, bus or horse-drawn carriage and stop for the perfect photograph

  • Witness the island at high tide, surrounded by water reflecting the Benedictine spires

  • Brave the bay and cross the sands at low tide with a guide

  • Wander thousand-year-old, steep, cobblestoned streets and stairs

  • Explore the medieval rooms, crypts and corridors of the Abbey

  • Take in the stunning views from the terrace of the Abbey, 80 metres above the bay

Map of Mont Saint Michel