Entry No. 9 / Le Mont St. Michel, France
Did you miss my first two entries about the recent road trip I took through France? If so, you can catch up here and here. Today, I’m excited to share with you our visit to Mont St. Michel. If you’re planning a honeymoon or vacation through France and you’ll be anywhere near Mont St. Michel, it’s definitely worth a 1-2 day trip. We were able to spend a full day on this enchanted little island and it felt like the perfect amount of time to fully enjoy everything.
Located on the north coast of France, near the border of Brittany and Normandy, Mont St. Michel is probably most well-known for the ancient abbey (dating back to the 8th c.) that perches atop its rocky landscape. We made the abbey our first destination in an attempt to beat the crowds that start flocking to the island between 8.30 and 9a. Later in the day, we stopped for an apertif of sorts – A traditional Mont St. Michel cider (that’s what I’m drinking above). If you try one, don’t expect a sweet apple cider or a warm and spicy mulled cider … this was cold and different than anything I had ever had … but good!
We enjoyed roaming the ramparts and the winding cobblestone streets throughout the day, catching glimpses of the always-changing tides that surround the tiny island. For most of the day, the tide stays out leaving a sandy albeit cold and wet path for the more daring tourist to attempt to cross the land like former pilgrims. While my friend and I opted to stay warm and dry on the island, we did spot several tour groups walking the bay, most with experienced guides (which would definitely be recommended as the tides can be tricky and every year, there are a few emergency cases where tourists get a little too brazen and adventurous and get into trouble so be careful).
The sunset is something you just can’t miss if you visit Mont St. Michel. We drove out onto a dusty country road to get this shot and watching the sun sink behind the abbey is something I’ll definitely always remember.
La Mère Poulard is the most famous restaurant on the island and is known around the world for their deliciously fluffy and frothy omelettes. We made our dinner reservation in the morning because the restaurant is notorious for filling up quickly. This was a fun treat and we both very much enjoyed the fabulous three-course meal. I have to say, it was probably the best omelette I’ve ever had! Great service, too.
The tide started to quickly come in around 7p the day we visited and the view was incredible with the water surrounding the island. Magical, to say the least.
Finally, this was the quaint B+B that we stayed at – it is a working farm and each morning we were served fresh eggs from the adorable chickens who roamed the grounds, fresh jams and yogurts that the hostess made and fresh bread with authentic Normandy butter. A breakfast doesn’t get much better than that! Our room was right behind the main house (above) and we had two French doors that opened up onto a patio with a beautiful view of the island of Mont St. Michel. It was a great experience and I definitely recommend a stay here. Details are below.
CBB’s Top Tips:
If you’re interested in touring the abbey, arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds. It’s worth getting up a little earlier!
Make sure you take some time to enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate at one of the many street side bistros in town. We did this mid-morning near the entrance of the town and were visited by the cutest of little birds. They actually tried landing on our saucers to try and share our whipped cream and cookies.
We stayed at an incredible B&B called Ferme Saint Joseph located in Polders Saint Joseph (50170 BEAUVOIR). Just a short drive to Mont St. Michel and we had beautiful views of the island from our room. Fantastic homemade breakfasts, too.
Do make a reservation at La Mère Poulard to enjoy one of their amaaaazing omelettes. I definitely recommend dinner as each course was fabulous and it was fun to gawk at the photos of famous celebs who had dined here years ago – Yves Saint Laurent and Ernest Hemingway to name two.
Try to stay for sunset. You’ll get to see the tides roll in and surround the island and it’s a fun local tradition to watch. There are even announcements made over the PA on the island alerting people of the incoming tide and warning them to move their vehicles if they are in the lower parking lots. It was pretty entertaining watching people run out and move their cars in a nick of time. One almost didn’t make it!
Photography by Sarah Darcy of Classic Bride blog.