Having the opportunity to visit the islet of Mont St Michel in the Normandy region of France was a unique gift for us both and a cross off the bucket list, as its one of those places you see in pictures and can hardly believe it really exists. What makes it such a mysterious and awe-inspiring destination is its odd location set about one hundred meters from the mainland and how it is only submerged in a mix of river and sea water at the base during the high tides. The tide times vary greatly, but the picturesque island is only accessible to the mainland during low tide.
The mont is made of leucogranite rock protruding from the water. Over time structures were built on the mount and eventually in early second century the Abbey began being constructed after a Monk Aubert received signs in his dreams from St Michel to build a place for monks and pilgrims to worship and study on the tidal island. The Abbey has been used not only for worshipping and praying to the Saint, but was also used as a prison for a period of time and housed approximately 14,000 political prisoners over some centuries. Now, Mont St Michel is a popular destination attracting over three million tourists per year!
We visited during low tide and chose to take the twenty minute walk along the bridge connecting the islet to the mainland. The winds are fairly strong, so we suggest taking a scarf or some kind of protection for your face if you chose to walk there. If not, there are free transit buses that do drop offs every 15-20 minutes, however they tend to get very crowded so please be aware of that. Another tip for visiting Mont-Saint-Michel is be physically prepared; there are several sets of stairs and narrow walkways along the path up to the Abbey so make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and expect some moments of overcrowding in some areas. Unfortunately, the path up to the Abbey hasn’t been remodeled to assist the handicapped so it is a bit of a struggle for anyone with physical disabilities.