When you hear about a trip to Europe, or, more specifically, to France, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Paris would be the answer to this question. However, no matter how charming the City of Lights may be, France holds many other attractions, such as the lovely Island Mont Saint-Michel. Located at the mouth of the Couestron River, in the English Channel, the rocky island got its curious name from a sanctuary abbey of the same name located at the top of the mount. With incredible landscapes, the medieval village daily attracts thousands of visitors who seek the famous Abbey and the unmissable phenomenon of the tide, the highest in all of Europe. The island is easy to love, but hard to get around in: since it preserves its centenary traits, it isn’t accessible to every form of locomotion, requiring physical preparation and comfortable shoes, but the views are well worth it. Another tip for dressing is raincoats, for the region is quite rainy.
Open 24 hours, Mont Saint-Michel has free admission, and visitors can decide whether or not to pay only 9 euros for entrance to the abbey, which has schedules for entry and exit. The main tip is to rent a room on the Mont itself, or in its environs, making it possible to experience the place, especially at night, when most of the tourists leave and it is quieter. Between July and August, moreover, it’s possible to visit the Abbey, the island’s main attraction, until 11p.m. The Abbey, which gave rise to the whole village, has no fewer than 22 halls, each with different architectural characteristics.
The famous Saint-Michel tide
With an incredible difference of 15 meters between the highest and the lowest tide, the bay is a spectacle in itself, with its 500 square kilometers expanse around Mont Saint-Michel. The natural phenomenon, which occurs every month of the year, happens on 50 specific days that can be found on tide charts when planning the trip.
What to eat in Mont Saint-Michel
The village’s main restaurants are concentrated on the Grande Rue. They offer two specialties: traditional Norman cuisine and typical French dishes. The omelet is almost omnipresent, especially the Omelette de la Mère Poulard, made with eggs beaten until they form a “cloud”. However, the highlight is really the meat Agneau pré-salé, or pre-salted lamb, which is rarely exported and is used for local consumption.