An Extraordinary French Island: A Tourist Attraction Second to None, Following Only the Eiffel Tower.
Ranked among the top 3 most captivating tourist destinations in France, Mont Saint Michel island is a place that attracts visitors with its pristine and ancient beauty.
Mont Saint Michel is an island commune in Normandy, France. Located about 1 km off the mainland, throughout history, it has provided easy access for pilgrims to reach the Abbey during low tide. Additionally, it served as an effective defensive measure against attackers who couldn’t retreat in time.
The island commune covers an area of approximately 100 hectares (247 acres). The highest point is situated 92 meters above sea level. At the highest part of the island is the Abbey of the Mont Saint Michel, followed by the Great Hall, and further down are residential houses, shops, and defensive walls. The outer fringe consists of houses for farmers and fishermen.
Mont Saint Michel and its bay have been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Over 60 buildings on the island are recognized as Historical Monuments of France. The island is composed of light-colored granite and is fortified by a solid base of molten magma that intruded about 525 million years ago.
Every year, this site attracts approximately 3.5 million visitors. Mont Saint Michel is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France, ranking just behind the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles. The uniqueness of the island captivates visitors not only with its ancient architectural style dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries but also with the dramatic tides that surround it, creating a dynamic and ever-changing environment.
You can visit this island using three modes of transportation: by plane, train, or car. The location is approximately 400 km from the capital city of Paris, making it a suitable destination for photography enthusiasts who wish to capture the mystical and pristine scenery. However, it is important to respect the residents’ homes and refrain from photographing the island’s inhabitants, especially during religious ceremonies.
If you want to experience the mesmerizing tides in all their glory and ensure your safety, it is advisable to explore Mont Saint Michel with a professional guide. The tides around the island undergo constant and dramatic changes, with the water levels rising and falling rapidly. Without caution, one can easily be carried away by the powerful currents. However, when the tide is high, Mont Saint Michel seems to defy gravity as it appears to float majestically on the water’s surface, offering a captivating sight complemented by the perfect lighting conditions. Conversely, during low tide, the surrounding sandbanks emerge, allowing adventurous visitors to wander and explore the picturesque area on foot.
When visiting Mont Saint Michel, be prepared for a fair amount of walking and climbing, especially when ascending to the Abbey. It is advisable to wear comfortable and suitable footwear to ensure a smooth travel experience. The island is renowned for its famous dishes, including omelettes and crepes, so it is recommended to make reservations in advance to avoid long waiting times at the restaurants.