Mount Saint-Michel, wonder of the Normandy
The "Wonder of the West" is an unique landmark which outlasted centuries. Its position in the middle of the sands allows a view of the whole Bay. Every visitor, who comes to gaze at this wonderfull building, is invited, to immerse in history and architecture. The medieval streets, the city wall as well as the abbey, founded by bishop Aubert in 708, are until today evidences of one of the most impressive sites of the Middle Ages.
The Abbey, center point of the visit of the Mount Saint-Michel, was one of the most legendary sites in the Middle Ages. This masterwork of monasterical architecture is today one of the most beautiful sites of world cultural heritage. The multiplicity of halls, which are arranged around the Mount, were built between the 10th and the 16th century and can be visited on your own or with a guide.
This clerical and spiritual center was for a long time together with Rome and Santiago de Compostela one of the most important pilgrim centers in the medieval West. Prison during French Revolution and the Empire, the state of the Abbey necessitated some restorations at the end of the 19th century. In 1874 the Abbey was declared historic monument and has been since then accesible to the public. Since 1969 there has been permanent spiritual guidance on site. This historical and spiritual place will never stop to fascinate its visitors.
Parallel to the construction of the Abbey, a village was founded close to the cloistral walls: the village, which is nestled to the southeasterly side of the Mount is famous for its restaurants, hotels and souvenirshops. The local delicacies, like the famous omelette, gigot, fish from the bay as well as seafood, make for the international reputation of the Mount Saint-Michel.
Access to Mount Saint-Michel
There are 4 possibilities to arrive at the Mount Saint-Michel :
• by foot: ca. 35 min at the walkway. There are 3 different ways which leed you across the "Place du Barrage" and over the bridge to the Mount
• in bus "le Passeur" (free): "le Passeur" is a simple means of transportation, which will carry you to Mount Saint-Michel within 12 min. Point of departure is the "place de navettes", next to the touristic center by the parking lot. The "Passeur" will bring you to the terminal stop at the Mount. The frequency of departures depends on attendence and season. Dogs are not allowed on the bus.
• in horse-drawn carriage (paid service): the "Marignote" is an original means of transportation and will carry you to Mount Saint-Michel within 25 min. This carriage, which is drawn by 2 horses, was invented to explore the site of the Mount Saint-Michel, like the pilgrims in the old days. (look: Actuality/Agenda)
• bus route from Pontorson - Le Mont St Michel: point of departure at the train station in Pontorson. The bus carries you to the terminal stop at the Mount. The departure times are synchronised with the times of the SNCF.
Tél. : 02 14 13 20 15 - www.bienvenueaumontsaintmichel.com
The Tides of Mount St. Michel
At the Mount Saint-Michel there are the highest tides of the european continent with a difference from 15 meters between low tide and high tide. During the highest tides the water withdraws up to 15 kilometers from the coast and then rises suddenly. The biggest tides occur between 36 hours and 48 hours after new moon and full moon. These are only approximate informations, because the tides could be influenced by atmospherical phenomena.
During the big flood (more than 12.85m water level), which takes place only 6 to 7 times a year, the Mount Saint-Michel is bathed with water and becomes an island.
It is extremely dangerous to stay alone in the Bay or in the area around the Mont Saint-Michel. The walk across the Bay is only allowed in company of certified guides, who you can find on our page Crossing the Bay.