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Day trip to Mont St Michele

Hey everybody,

I wanted to get everyones opinion on day trips outside of Paris. Is Mont St Michele realistic by rail? in a day? Wondering if anyone has any experience not with a tour group. Also, aside from Versailles, what are some other good day trip ideas from Paris. I heard that Chartes was a good option.

Alex

Posted by
2931 posts

Chartres is a good option as are Giverny, Fontainebleau, Provins, Reims and Vaux le Vicomte. It really depends on what you are looking for. Most of these places are less than an hour from Paris. If you want to go further afield, you could get to Avignon on a high-speed train in about 2 hours or to Brussels. I have been to Mont Saint Michele but as part of a 3-day trip through Normandy starting from Paris. It will be about a 14-hour day trip. Friends of ours did the day trip last October using a tour company and found it very enjoyable.

Posted by
8020 posts

Chartres, Vernon for Monet's home and gardens, Giverny, Reims for champagne houses

Posted by
5727 posts

I went to MSM last June when I was in the area and it was the low point of a 6 week trip. I certainly wouldn’t bother going there from Paris. MSM has been ruined by building the road access. It was so different when the access was via the tidal causeway. Giverny was much more enjoyable. Both were busy.

Posted by
4395 posts

I enjoyed MSM very much, but I think a lot depends on how you approach it. I would think a day trip would get you there midday with all the crowds and bad lighting. We stayed one night at a hotel a couple miles from MSM shuttle lot. We enjoyed the views of MSM across the farm fields even getting photos in the "golden hour" with sheep in the foreground. We went to the island about 5ish enjoyed it for a bit and then left. We ate at a restaurant along the shuttle route which I absolutely DO NOT recommend. Our hotel had a restaurant and when we saw what folks were eating, well, we knew we made a bad choice. The next morning we got up and drove and parked and took the shuttle and walked up to the abbey getting there about 15 minutes before opening. We enjoyed the abbey with few people and then leisurly toured and walked down the "mont" and back to our car as the masses were arriving. The look of the road to the island did not bother me but I'd never seen it before. It also depends on the tide, sometimes the road is barely above water level. We also were there at the beginning of October which I would guess keeps the numbers low to begin with.

Posted by
10344 posts

To go to MSM on your own as a day trip will be a challenge, as it's necessary to go part way by train and the remainder changing to a bus; and same on the way back. And you'll have to deal with the hordes of day-trippers whose big buses arrive by 10am.
Or you could rent a car and drive, but that would involve the hassle of renting a car for the day.
Many travelers here to choose to give it one night and make it part of a rental car trip that involves other attractions along that route. That way they can enjoy the magic of MSM at night and early in the morning.

Posted by
151 posts

Coming from Paris, it is ideally better to dedicate more time to Mont St Michel, to discover at least a few additional places in Brittany and Normandy. But if you do not have a few available days and are ready for a few hours in transportation, a day trip is still possible. Then the fastest solution is a TGV to Rennes (1.5 hour) and then either a bus or a private tour (especially if you want to save time and try to avoid the crowd, by arriving early or leaving late, when there are no buses to/from MSM).