Visiting Mont Saint-Michel during the day is already a fantastic discovery … but spending the night is an unforgettable experience to be experienced at least once in your life!
When the village empties of its daytime visitors, the place takes on an entirely new atmosphere. Those privileged few who remain on site have the chance to go back in time and fully grasp the spirit of the place.
Why not visit on a mild spring evening, when the tidal bore invades the Bay and reaches the Couesnon river. In summer, at dusk, the nocturnal singing of the birds replaces the chatter of the crowds. During the full moon of the autumn equinox, the angular silhouette of the Mont Saint-Michel projects like an arabesque against the shores. During the cold winter nights, the whistling of the iodized salty seaside wind rushes through the alleys, decorated with Christmas lights. With or without special entertainment, or high and low tides, throughout all seasons, the Mont Saint-Michel shares its secrets at night.
Go back in time through the narrow streets of the village
The mediaeval village regains all its charm of yesteryear when, at nightfall, the hustle and bustle of the day-time goes quiet. At the bend of an alleyway lit by a lamp post, on the ramparts or when climbing the suspended stairs worn out by time and footsteps, one can discover architectural details that remain hidden from the crowds.
Then, you can take the opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of the Montois, that handful of people who are lucky enough to live on the rock all year round. You might even meet them, chatting in an alleyway after a day’s work, meeting on a terrace or enjoying the quiet of dusk in their small enclosed gardens …
Visitors looking to experience a unique moment of spirituality are invited to participate in the services celebrated by the monastic community: Vespers and Lauds are sung under the high vaults of the abbey church or, in winter, in one of its crypts. As for the village’s parish church, this generally remains open in the evening to welcome all those who wish to engage in private prayer or enjoy a moment of revitalisation.
Enjoy a unique natural setting
Whilst walking along the ramparts, often rocked by sea spray, you can see the silhouette of the Bay, sketched out in the distance by the lights of the small coastal villages. You can then try to make out the different landscapes of the Normandy coast. From the flatness of the salt meadows, passing through the villages of Vains, Genêts and Saint-Jean-le-Thomas, the coast then gradually rises up to the cliffs of Champeaux, coming to an end at the lighthouse of Granville and the lights of its Roc, sheltering the old town.
Between the Mount and this coastal line, in the middle of the Bay, the dark silhouette of the islet of Tombelaine stands out. For the brave and early risers, the North Tower is the best place to watch the sun rise over the Bay.
From the Chemin des Fanils or the old quay (on the west side of the Mount), you will be able to see in the distance the flat and sandy Breton coast, a veritable playground for shellfish farmers and sand yachting enthusiasts. The view then rises to mark out the corniches of Cancale, before ending on the cliffs and the lighthouse of the Pointe du Grouin. The quay is also the best place to sit in peace and quiet and enjoy the warm lights of the sunset.
Observe the rising tide
It is in this natural setting that one can admire the tide rising, preceded by a loud noise and the flight of sea birds. The strongest tides, which occur after the Full Moon and the New Moon, always take place in the morning and evening. What could be better than to stay on site to fully enjoy it! The first waves graze the west side of the Mount, its quay and the Gabriel tower, then wash around the Fanils buildings and continue to go up the course of the Couesnon river.
On the east side, the water skims the foot of the North Tower and continues to rise gradually along the ramparts.In the summer, with prior reservation, you can enjoy the unique experience of a guided bay crossing by night: Depart in the late afternoon, with a picnic break or photo session at sunset, and return at night, with the illuminated Mount as your backdrop!
Even more exceptional nights
About twenty days a year, during spring tides, the Mount becomes an island once more. For about an hour in the morning and evening, the rising tide submerges the causeway between the walkway bridge and the rock. This is an opportunity to be completely cut off from the continent and admire the spectacle from the top of the ramparts, surrounded by the waves.
During the summer evenings in July and August, you can also enjoy a unique way to visit the abbey, far from the crowds that fill its rooms during the day. The architecture of the monument is then accentuated by mystical images, sound and lighting projections. What’s more, some doors which are usually closed to the public are exceptionally open to allow visitors to explore ever deeper into the mysteries of this mediaeval jewel.
There is no shortage of accommodation on the rock. Most of these are nestled in buildings classified as “Historic Monuments”.
There are seven intramural hotels located along the Grande Rue, the main throughfare of the mediaeval village. Most of the establishments also have annexes located in the heart of the village, next to the parish church or on the corner of a small street. As far as views from the rooms are concerned, there’s plenty to choose from: some overlook the bay, while others offer a view of the village or the abbey.
At the top of the main street, with its hidden small enclosed gardens, is the only bed and breakfast in the village. It is being ran by a Montois family dating back to the 14th century, considered to be the oldest in the village.
Pilgrims and hikers with a credential or the Pilgrim Passport can spend the night (by reservation) at Maison du Pèlerin, at the foot of the Grand Degré which leads up to the abbey.
A room with a view of Mont Saint-Michel?
Why not enjoy a privileged unique view? In the surroundings of the Mont Saint-Michel, there are many accommodations which offer rooms with a breath-taking view of the monument! Find their contact details below:
Guests of village accommodation arriving with their own vehicle can park at the P3 car park, the closest to the Le Passeur shuttle bus departure point, which will transport them to the Mount. To do so, simply request your access code at the reception desk of your chosen establishment. The public transport departure terminal is also located in the immediate vicinity of the same platform (bus stop).
The Le Passeur shuttle bus operate continuously between 7.30 am and
midnight. (During Christmas holidays, the shuttle buses run until 7.00pm, to observe sanitary measures and to respect the curfew). To access the car park or the public transport stop outside these hours, an on-demand shuttle service is available by dialing +33 (0) 2 14 13 20 15.
Given the access conditions and the site’s layout, we recommend only bringing light luggage.