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Full-Day Mont Saint-Michel Day Trip from Paris

Embark on a magical journey to Mont Saint-Michel with an expert.
From US$2,273 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
8 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel
  • Rennes Train Station
Photos & Highlights
  • Day-long excursion from Paris to Mont Saint-Michel
  • Intimate tour led by a local historian
Select a date
Tour Description
Perched atop a rocky outcropping in the bay separating Brittany from Normandy, the Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most breathtaking landmarks in France. The bay witnesses daily high tides that, as Victor Hugo described them, come racing in at “the speed of a galloping horse,” spectacularly transforming the abbey into an island. Nicknamed the Marvel of the West, the abbey was erected in the 10th century over a sanctuary dedicated to the Archangel Michael and expanded several times during the Middle Ages as it grew into one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Europe.
 
On this full-day excursion, we’ll take the train from Paris to Rennes, where we’ll meet our driver. We’ll then drive to the commune of Mont Saint-Michel, where we'll meet our local expert to walk us through the turbulent history of the abbey, its strategic location, its architecture, and its religious significance.
 

The Village

At the same time that construction on the abbey began, a village started growing up at the base of the rock. During the Hundred Years War in the 14th century, a series of defensive walls and towers were added to the outside of the village to protect its inhabitants from a relentless thirty-year siege. We will begin our visit to the Mont Saint-Michel by passing through these imposing walls and entering into the maze of narrow, winding streets and steep stone steps of the medieval village. As we begin our climb toward the abbey, we will explore the architectural complexity of the village, built over the course of several centuries, and learn about the site’s links to its Norman origins.
 

The Abbey

We’ll then make our way from the village below up toward the apex of the rock where we will visit the gravity-defying structures of the abbey. At the summit, we’ll learn about medieval building techniques and styles as we explore the series of soaring Gothic spaces that grew up around the original Romanesque core of the building between the 13th and 15th centuries. (Interested in architecture? Check out our Paris Gothic Architecture and Making Modern Paris tours.) We might also discuss how art, religion, and politics worked together to shape the space, how the abbey was transformed into a prison during the French Revolution, or how it was restored in the 19th century.
 

The Bay

Finally, after touring the village and monastery, we’ll spend some time along the coastline–the best place to take in the majesty of this magical landmark. Being sure to steer clear of the “galloping” tides, we’ll investigate how the unique geography of the site, coupled with the pull of the sun and moon, create the greatest tidal variations in the world. We’ll also learn why this location, so often cut off from the outside world by water, was ideal for the Benedictine monks who made the island their home.
 
We’ll head back to Paris having learned how this 1000-year-old site, originally intended to separate monks from the outside world, became an important center of pilgrimage and a strategically-important location for the kings of France.
Where do we meet? Where does it end? You will take the train independently from Paris to Rennes, where your private driver will be waiting to take you to Mont Saint-Michel, a 1.5-hour drive. Your expert will meet you on-site in Mont Saint-Michel. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at Rennes Train Station, where you will take the train back to Paris. We will pre-purchase train tickets for you. We'll email you the tickets before your trip. Please note that a Photo ID will be required on the day of your tour, due to entrance policies at the venue.


How long is the train ride from Paris to Rennes? 
About 2 hours each way.


Will we be taking the TGV (high speed train)? Can I upgrade to first class train tickets? 
Yes. We normally purchase 2nd class train tickets for the TGV, but we could purchase 1st class tickets instead for an additional cost. Please let us know and we will contact you to discuss pricing options.


Can we arrange a car from Paris instead of taking the train? 
Yes. Please contact us about pricing options. The drive from Paris to Mont Saint Michel is about 4 hours each way.


I'm not staying in Paris! What should I do?
See our Mont Saint-Michel Tour from Normandy.

Is this tour wheelchair accessible?
Please contact us to discuss in more detail your mobility concerns so that we can best advise. We can arrange a car service for visitors with mobility concerns. We don't recommend using public transportation to travel to and from Mont Saint-Michel. Please note that there is no elevator on the Mont Saint-Michel and there are multiple steps to climb to access the main sites. The main street is paved and sloped, so moving around in a wheelchair is extraordinarily complicated.
Where You'll Start
3 Reviews (4.47)

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

This experience exceeded our expectations and we had the BEST tour guide with Geoffrey!
Another outstanding experience organized by Context Travel! Everything fell into place flawlessly. We combined this tour with the Normandy Beaches/D-Day Tour. We booked our own hotel in Bayeux, but the remainder of the plans were extremely well put-together by the Context team. Our first-class train trips to and from Normandy were great. Our van driver, Matis (?spelling) was excellent. Safe, polite, and on point! Geoffrey is fantastic. He very efficiently moved us to, through, and from Mont Saint-Michel. He engaged with each member of our party. He seemed genuinely excited about our visit there. Our teenage kids fondly reflected upon him and our tour often later during our holiday. We highly recommend Geoffrey and Context Travel!
The day was great, & the guide was wonderful! We had trouble getting our train tickets in a timely manner. We also had trouble finding our driver as the meeting place was listed incorrectly.