The abbey, known as the Wonder of the West, towers over the Bay, dazzling visitors by her beauty.
The abbey of Mont Saint-Michel
The Wonder of the West opens its doors for a traditional or theme tour of its different rooms and intimate cloister. This masterpiece of medieval architecture is a recognised symbol of the expertise of 13th Century builders who erected two sets of three-level buildings on the rocky peak.
The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel
The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, between Cancale and Granville, occupies some 500 km². It is the scene for the highest tides in Europe, with an exceptional tidal range (difference between the highest and lowest point of the water) which can reach 15 meters during spring tides. The Bay also offers a great diversity of natural environments and thus constitutes the largest expanse of salt meadows and polders in France.
Fauna and Flora
This great variety encourages the emergence and development of many plant and animal species. A third of the Breton flora thrives among the mudflats, in freshwater and saltwater marshes, groves, dunes, rocky coasts, deep waters, polders and rivers.
> There are over 130 species of birds in the Bay, which is a favoured breeding ground for gulls and sparrows. It is also a moulting area for the black scoter, a stopover for some migratory birds and a refuge for the wigeon or the bean goose when the weather is particularly cold.
> In the sea, honeycomb worms, have built large-scale reef areas: “Le Banc des Hermelles” is the most extensive animal "bio-construction" in Europe, its surface area reaching more than 100 hectares.
> About a hundred different fish species populate the waters of the Bay, a true nursery for the sole, the ray, the seabream, and the seabass, .... The waters of the bay are also visited by migratory fish such as the salmon or the eel.
The abundance of fish benefits predators such as dolphins or seals which thrive in the Bay.
Walking across the Bay
Pilgrim or simple visitor, you can enjoy a guided walk across the bay of Mont Saint-Michel, feet in the sand. Accompanied by licensed guides, you shall tread the grazing land, walk along Tombelaine inhabited by many birds, cross rivers, you will “sink” in quicksand ... until you reach Mont Saint-Michel.
A unique opportunity to understand the restoration of the maritime character of Mont Saint-Michel!
In 2015, Mont Saint-Michel becomes an island once again!
After twenty years of studies and works, this exceptional monument has regained its status of island. The opportunity to (re) discover the abbey, also known as Wonder of the West, and the bay listed World Heritage by UNESCO.
With the recent dismantling of the old causeway, the scenery evolves with every tide, leaving nature take its course once again.
Thanks to the dam (open in 2009), which regulates the waters of the Couesnon and the sea, sediments are dispersed far into the sea. Hydraulic machinery has also been installed on either side of the dam to accelerate the process.
The "footbridge", which opened in 2015, and the esplanade, complete the package which aim is to restore the maritime character of Mont Saint-Michel.
At the heart of the parking area, a Tourist Information Centre (TIC) offers different exhibitions and events around these major works as well as many other services.
How to reach the Mont Saint-Michel ?
From that point, you can choose your means of transportation to reach the Mont Saint-Michel:
- On foot, (about 50 minutes). Several routes are available, allowing pedestrians to admire the Bay and the Mont
- On board a motorized shuttle, in 12 minutes. A model of innovation accessible to all!
- On board the "Maringote", a horse-drawn shuttle, in 25 minutes. Pulled by two draft horses, the shuttle travels on the new causeway.
The village of Mont Saint-Michel
Around forty people live in the village, including ten brothers and sisters of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem. Each live for what he or she believes in, many depend on the coming and going of pilgrims and tourists.
Nearly three million visitors visit Mont Saint-Michel each year. They walk up to the abbey, but also to the shops of the High Street, the medieval city walls, the more curious visitor using the small side streets ...
In the village, some hotels and houses are listed, and so is the city wall.
Since 1791, Avranches has been the custodian of books from the religious communities around Avranches: almost 4,000 volumes, provenance of the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel, many of which are incunabula! Today, these manuscripts are exhibited in the Scriptorial of Avranches, and their history is revealed.
The Ecomuseum of the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel
Located at the tip of the 'Grouin du Sud', in the bay of Mont Saint Michel, in Vains, the eco-museum shows life in the bay of Mont Saint Michel: geology, fauna and flora and also human activity.
> The tidal bore
The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel experiences some of the highest tides in Europe. When the tide comes into the Bay, a flood wave – the tidal bore – approximately 50 centimetres high, is formed. Don't miss this spectacle which attracts both spectators and kayakers!
> Something different
For a weekend, live like a true islander of the Mont and stay in one of the village’s hotel.