I am flying into Paris on April 30 and was planning to go up to Normandy the following day and spend the night (May 1) on Mont Saint Michel and then head the Bayeux on May 2 as I booked an Overlord tour of Normandy on May 3. I now understand May 1 is a holiday and the Abbey is closed. Should I stay in Paris an extra day and try to roll my plans all forward a day, or can I just stay on MSM anyway and see the Abbey in the morning? I don't know what to expect with the May 1 holiday but have the impression that if went to St Malo or somewhere else for the day everything would be closed. Any advice?
1 May is a major holiday in France, similar to 25 December. As long as the transportation you need is available, and you can get a restaurant reservation, I would just leave things as they are.
You would be well-advised to check carefully on May 1 transportation availability. We once flew into Nice on April 30, specifically to visit the Matisse Museum, before continuing to Italy. When making our flight reservations, I was so focused on avoiding the Monday closure day that I just forgot about May 1. There was no public transportation running in Nice. None! In addition, all tourist attractions, all shops, and many restaurants were closed. Europeans tend to take holidays more seriously than do Americans.
It's not that they take all holidays more seriously, but May 1 is taken very, very seriously. I'd stay in Paris on May 1.
If you don't already have a reservation for 1 May at MSM, you are probably too late. True for many other dates in May also. If I am reading the tide charts correctly, it appears the tides are fairly dramatic the first few days of May, but then again a few days before and after May 17. So depending on how long you trip is, and when it ends, you might find some dates that would work around then.
If you can book a hotel with a restaurant on May 1 on MSM I would go -- it is a beautiful place to just walk the ramparts at dusk etc, Then do the Abbey the next day. We essentially did that one October -- going to the Mont for dinner and to walk around and then returned the next morning for the Abbey. If you cannot get a hotel/restaurant lined up, then postpone.
We once arrived in Venice on May 1 totally ignorant of its importance as a European holiday. No boats running -- we had to lug our heavy luggage (first trip, no wheels, no good sense on packing) a couple of miles over bridges etc to our hotel --- Luckily it was a beautiful evening -- but still after an overnight flight to Zurich, a long train ride to Venice -- having to do that was not all that much fun.