Mont Saint-Michel and its bay

A magical UNESCO World Heritage Site
Photo, © Simon Morice

Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are one of the most magical places in la Manche. It's the third most visited tourist attraction in France. 

There are plenty of ways to explore this special place. We’ll take you to discover the UNESCO-listed treasures of Mont Saint-Michel and its bay.

Journey back in time in this amazingly unique village. Stroll through its medieval streets, visit the Abbey and enjoy the stunning views from the ramparts. What makes this rocky island so impressive is its totally one-of-a-kind setting. Surrounding the stone ramparts, the bay of Mont Saint-Michel is an exceptional natural site washed by the highest tides in Europe. Cross the bay with a guide, observe its untamed nature and enjoy the show during the spring tides.

Mont Saint-Michel and its Abbey:
an exceptional heritage site

Mont Saint-Michel village, a timeless place

Although Mont Saint-Michel is a world-famous landmark, it’s also a real village with a lovely atmosphere. Enjoy a stroll through the medieval streets with their pretty houses, restaurants and little shops. As you head up the Grande Rue, Mont Saint-Michel’s main street, look up and admire the old shop signs hanging from the stone walls for a journey back in time!

You can walk round the ramparts protecting the village to enjoy a spectacular view across the surrounding bay. You’ll pass seven towers as you follow the walls to the Abbey, the “Merveille” (marvel) of the Western world.

Photo, © Emmanuel Berthier
Photo, © Best Jobers

Go off the beaten track?

Then turn off from the Grande Rue and climb the stairways and little lanes for a visit far from the crowds. It might be hard work, but it’s worth the effort! With views across the rooftops, terraced gardens and seascapes, you’ll see Mont Saint-Michel in all its splendour. Different guided tours are available, both conventional and unusual, allowing you to find out all about this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Original activites in Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel Abbey: discover the Merveille

Known as the “Merveille” (marvel), Mont Saint-Michel Abbey is a fascinating illustration of early monastic life. This masterpiece of Norman Gothic art has withstood the centuries since its foundation by Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, in the 8th century. The abbey was built in successive stages over different periods, and boasts an impressive diversity of architectural styles. A place of worship, a centre of manuscript copying and even a prison, Mont Saint-Michel Abbey has plenty of stories to tell. You can visit more than 20 different parts of the abbey, including the guest hall, the scriptorium, the cloister and the abbey church. Take in the atmosphere of this unique place, with breathtaking views from its terrace across the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel.

Throughout the year, different cultural events and visits are organised in this unmissable part of Mont Saint-Michel. Night-time shows, guided or thematic tours, seasonal discoveries, and much more. Mont Saint-Michel Abbey has something for everyone.


Photo, © David Daguier - CD50

The abbey just for you

Early in the morning or late in the day, but also in the off-season, the Abbey is at its best in the quieter moments. Take advantage of the golden light, mystical atmosphere, empty rooms and peaceful cloisters and enjoy a magical moment!

Getting to Mont Saint-Michel

Do you want to visit Mont Saint-Michel? On foot, by bike, by shuttle bus, there are lots of options. You can walk to the site along the marked footpaths from the car park. There are several different paths that allow you to enjoy the peaceful landscapes of the bay as you walk to Mont Saint-Michel village.

You can also take a “Maringote” horse-drawn carriage, or a “Passeur” shuttle bus if you want to get there more quickly, in 15 to 25 minutes. Are you coming by bike? You can cycle and park along the dyke, the walkway bridge and the esplanade of Mont Saint-Michel.

Pratical information

Photo, © Withaxie

The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel:
a natural site like no other in the world

The spring tides at Mont Saint-Michel

The setting for the highest tides in Europe, with an impressive range of 15 metres during spring tides, the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel is an ecosystem in constant motion. Subtle colours, contrasting landscapes, and views that change with the tide all make for a spectacular panorama!

With very high tidal coefficients, the sea goes out 15 km and comes back in very quickly, racing across the sands. This is when you can admire the “mascaret”, a tidal bore that forms with the incoming tide.

The spring tides

Photo, © Emmanuel Berthier
Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Mont Saint-Michel becomes an island

Did you know? When the tidal coefficient is more than 110, Mont Saint-Michel becomes an island again. The sea comes right up to the ramparts and the village is cut off from the mainland. A rare and magical event that only lasts a few hours.

Cross the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel

Exploring the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel on foot is a unique experience and a different way to discover its maritime landscapes, watched over by the Merveille. Accompanied by a certified guide, you’ll set off to adventure between quicksand and rivers, with Mont Saint-Michel as a backdrop. During the crossing, your guide will tell you all the secrets of this emblematic place in the Manche, explaining the tides, the rich flora and fauna, the history of the site and the lives of the people living in the bay.

Crossing the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel is a must, but there are other outings available in the bay. Whether you go at dawn, at dusk or at night, during the spring tides or in the middle of winter, prepare for a truly immersive experience!

Tombelaine islet

Three kilometres from Mont Saint-Michel lies Tombelaine, a granite islet that is now a bird reserve. This place of legend is a protected breeding ground for gulls and passerines. In total, more than 130 species live in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, depending on the seasons.

Crossing the bay

The major events in the Bay of
Mont Saint-Michel

Throughout the year, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are the setting for different events depending on the season. Sport, art, music, son et lumière shows, and so on. Come and enjoy yourself, challenge yourself and fill up on culture in a very special place!

Major events

The fascinating biodiversity of the bay

From Granville to Cancale, the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel stretches over 500 km², with mudflats, fresh and saltwater marshes, rocky coastlines, deep waters and polders. This unique ecosystem is a perfect habitat for many different plant and animal species.

Thanks to the rich soils that are covered daily by the sea, samphire, saltbush and other salt-tolerant plants thrive in the bay. These plants are the food of choice for the salt-marsh sheep that roam the vast expanses of wetlands.

Photo, © Estelle Hertault
Photo, © Emmanuel Berthier

Nature oudings

If you enjoy nature outings, you can go with a guide to see the teeming life of the bay. Take a new look at this precious environment on a surprising walk around Mont Saint-Michel.

Nature oudings

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