Driving, cycling, and day-trip bus tours are the most common ways to get to Mont St Michel. Public transportation, especially bus and train combinations from Paris, vastly improved and is now a sensible option for many travelers too.
Getting to Mont St Michel with its magnificent medieval abbey on the border of Normandy and Brittany is easiest by car. Mont St Michel is also hugely popular with bus tour parties while the relatively flat landscape is a haven for cyclists. Public transportation used to be rather limited but vastly improved during 2017 with train and bus combinations now available from Paris several times per day. All visitors have to walk or take the free shuttle bus for the final few kilometers to the island. Admission to the island is free but buy abbey tickets in advance from Tiqets to avoid queues.
Free Shuttle Buses to Mont St Michel
All visitors to Mont St Michel, whether arriving by bus or car, have to either walk (40 minutes) or take the free shuttle buses (10 minutes), or a horse-drawn carriage, the last 3 km to Mont St Michel. (Cycling is only allowed at quiet times.) The views are obviously better walking towards Mont St Michel than back towards the parking lots.
Free shuttle buses (Passeur navettes) transport visitors with high frequency from the parking lots to Mont St Michel. The buses stop en route at La Caserne / Grand’rue (the hotel and shopping complex on the mainland) and at Le Barrage (the dam), which offer some of the best views of Mont St Michel. (From here, it is a ten-minute walk back to the parking lot should the buses arriving from the island be too crowded.)
Coin lockers and other left-luggage facilities are no longer available at the parking lot.
Driving to Mont St Michel in Basse Normandie
Driving to Mont St Michel is a good option, as it makes sightseeing in the region much easier. Mont St Michel is around 15 km off the Autoroute A84 (exit 33) that connects Rennes and Caen – the coastal road has better views than the larger N175 route nationale.
Huge parking lots are available at Beauvoir – it is no longer possible to get closer to Mont St Michel by car than these parking lots. Hotel guests and disabled visitors are allowed to use the parking lots closest to the shuttle bus departure points.
Parking is currently €12 per car per day or €20 for a camping car.
No parking is available at the island for cyclists. It is possible to cycle to the island anytime from October to March but from April to September only between 6 pm and 10 am. Free bicycle parking is available at the Barrage and near the regular car parking areas but it is generally not possible to leave a bicycle unattended on Mont St Michel island itself.
Driving distances and times to Mont St Michel are around:
- Rennes – 70 km / 1h20
- Caen – 130 km / 1h30
- Cherbourg – 160 km / 2h15
- Le Havre – 210 km / 2h30
- Tours – 300 km / 3h30
- Paris – 360 km / 4h00 (via Caen)
- Paris – 380 km / 4h30 (via Le Mans)
Mont St Michel is probably best seen when traveling between Normandy and say the Loire region but it is also possible to do it as a day-trip from Brittany, Caen and other D-Day sites.
Public Transportation to Mont St Michel
Public transportation to Mont St Michel vastly improved with better bus and train coordination. However, there are gaps in the various timetables making it essential to double check when return services depart.
The closest train station to Mont St Michel is at Pontorson, which is used by local (TER) trains. However, long-distance arrivals on high-speed TGV trains will use Rennes (or less often Dol de Bretagne) and then use the Oui bus service run by French railways for the final stretch to Mont St Michel.
Paris to Mont St Michel by Train and Bus
Departures are available several times per day from Paris Montparnasse station on the TGV trains towards Rennes or Dol de Bretagne with the connecting bus for Mont Saint Michel departing a few minutes after train arrivals. Traveling times are as quick as three hours with the train ride around two hours and the connecting bus (autocar) taking around an hour. The cheaper Inter-City trains with bus combinations take over four hours.
A particularly cheap deal, costing only €27 is known as the Le Train du Mont-Saint-Michel – start the journey in Paris on a slower Intercités rather than the fast TGV train and change to the Oui bus in Villedieu des Poules with total traveling time around four hours. This deal, while it lasts, is only available for traveling on the following departures: from Paris Montparnasse 3 Vaugirard (from Mont St Michel) on weekdays at 7:38 (18:05) and weekends at 8:50 (18:05).
Local Public Transportation at Mont St Michel
Public transportation in the direct Mont St Michel vicinity is not very well developed making it sensible to confirm times before setting out.
Buses to Mont St Michel coordinate with train times at Pontorson, which is used by local (TER) trains. The bus journey is only around 15 minutes (€3).
The local TER trains from Pontorson take just over an hour to Rennes or St Lo and around two hours to Bayeux and Caen.
Although day trips are sometimes offered from Paris, it really is too far to be pleasant on a single day trip. Solo travelers may do better with a two or three day trip that include other sights such as the Loire chateaux or Brittany. See Get Your Guide for some options and indication of prices. When comparing offers, always double check what is included when prices vary widely.