Step back in time with a trip to one of France’s most fairytale-worthy sights.
Meet the idyllic isle of Mont Saint-Michel. Located in Normandy, the 240-acre island is home to a charming albeit tiny 33-person village of the same name. Despite its small size, Mont Saint-Michel attracts millions of visitors each year thanks to its stunning sea views, peaceful surroundings, incredible architecture, and centuries-old history.
The majestic island — which dates back to the eighth century — is best known for its palatial-inspired church (no, it’s not a castle) that overlooks the water. (You’ve likely seen a glimpse of it across your social media feed before.) The structure was constructed between the 11th and 16th centuries and boasts incredible Gothic-style architecture. Other noteworthy highlights include beautiful sculptures, postcard-worthy panoramic views, and striking medieval walls.
Despite the island’s tranquil surroundings, you’ll want to bring comfortable walking shoes. Trekking to the top of the abbey requires walking up a steep, cobblestone-lined path — plus plenty of stairs. However, you’re in for a treat: Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring coastal views. (Be sure to snap a few photos.)
Today, Mont Saint-Michel is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the island is free to enter, some buildings do require admission free. The destination is also home to several small museums, as well as a slew of quaint shopping and dining options.
The best way to get here from Paris is to take a high-speed to Pontorson (about two-and-a-half hours). From here, you can hop on a shuttle bus to Mont Saint-Michel (approximately 25 minutes).