Enjoy your stay in our campsite in Normandy visiting the world famous Mont Saint Michel and its bay !
Where is the Mont Saint Michel ?
The small and deserted Mont Saint Michel is one of Normandy’s most peculiar destinations. What used to be part of mainland in prehistoric times, now is a rocky tidal island with a population of only 50 people. The 78-meter high mountain-cum-island is located within one kilometer off the northwestern coast of France, in the vicinity of the Avranches commune. The tiny island occupies the area of just 7 hectares, but due to its famous abbey and the fascinating history remains one of the main tourist attractions in the region.
Brief history of the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel
The island’s main attraction is the formidable Mont-Saint-Michael-Abbey that dominates the rocky island. The building of the Abbey began in the 9th century, while its modifications and reconstructions continued well into the 19th century. The legend has it that Bishop Saint Aubert who commissioned the initial construction, had a vision of Archangel Michael who commanded that a church should be built on the summit of what was known back then as the Mount Tombe. The works started immediately, the mountain was renamed after Archangel, and an imposing Gothic structure was erected that served as a monastery, library and destination for pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages.
The distinctive Merveille and its Corbins tower was added in the 13th century, and, in the 14th, during the 30-year war between France and England the building had to be fortified. It served as a prison throughout the 18th century, and by the 19th century was left in a dilapidated state calling for immediate restoration works. Unsurprisingly, however, due to its rich history, eclectic architectural style and the utmost cultural relevance, it was one of the first sites in France to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
What is the best time to visit the Mont Saint Michel ?
Now, thanks to a causeway built not so long ago, the Abbey and the island are easy to access from the mainland. The best time to visit is between May and October when the weather is the warmest. Plan in advance, and head here during low tide, spend the next couple of hours exploring the island and then, just in time for the high tidal wave go to the western terrace that allows a great view of the island that would remain completely surrounded by the sea. Watching the tall tidal wave approaching the island at the speed of 30 km/h would surely be an unforgettable experience.
A new parking
You can get to the island by foot using the new bridge, or use a shuttle that would be dropping you off at a 400-meter distance from the Abbey, so that you can fully enjoy the view of it from afar. If you are getting to the Abbey by car bear in mind that the parking lot is located 2.5 km away from the entrance.
What to see in Mont Saint Michel?
While you are waiting for your chance to see the spectacular tide walk down the Grande Rue, the street filled with charming shops and medieval houses, some of them dating back to the 15th century. Here, you will also find the island’s museums: the Historical Museum, the Maritime Museum and Tiphaine’s House filled with the 14-century paraphernalia are definitely worth a visit. Then, climb the majestic Grand Staircase and find out why the Merveille is considered, with its Corbins Tower, to be the island’s marvel.
What to do in the Bay of Mont Saint Michel ?
If you are staying at the Mont Saint Michel Bay for longer, make sure to explore the hiking trails along the shore and to rent a boat to see the marvelous place from a different angle. Go deeper into the Lower Normandy, and you will find the imposing Abbey Hambye and the Gothic Avranche Cathedral.