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When is the best time of the day to go to Mont Saint Michel if you are staying at Pontorson?

Hi,

We will be visiting the Mont Saint Michel this August. We booked our hotel close to Pontorson-Mont St.Michel station.We will stay one night at this hotel. We will take a shuttle bus/taxi from the station to Mont Saint Michel and vice versa. We do not drive so we have to rely on bus/taxi.

Q1: When is the best time of the day to see the Mont Saint Michel if we are staying at Pontorson? Is it in the morning, afternoon, or night?

Q2: What time should we be there in order to avoid a lot of tourists?

Q3: What should we see at Mont Saint Michel(MSM)? What do you recommend we see or do at MSM? Should we book anything in advance? Where can we book in advance?

Thank you so much for your help.

Posted by
7808 posts

Q1: When is the best time of the day to see the Mont Saint Michel if we are staying at Pontorson? Is it in the morning, afternoon, or night? Q2: What time should we be there in order to avoid a lot of tourists?

Go very early when it opens at 9 am or afternoon around 3:30 pm. It closes at 6 pm so you can see it lit at a distance later in the evening

Q3: What should we see at Mont Saint Michel(MSM)? What do you recommend we see or do at MSM? Should we book anything in advance?

It is exciting enough to see MSM as you are coming to it from the road; you just try to explore it from the bottom to top where the Abbey is. There are a lot of steep stairs to the top. The Abbey costs 8 euros to enter you could buy those in advance online to avoid any line.

Posted by
1134 posts

Check the tide tables for your trip, and then check the weather schedule as you get closer. Try to experience the change of tides from very low to very high. If the weather is good on your trip, try to see MSM from just outside the island on the causeway either at Sunrise (when no one is there) or Sunset. As mentioned, it is lit from inside, so that makes it especially dramatic.

Do go entirely through the abbey with the audio guide. And then, on your way down from the abbey on the main drag, go into the little chapel on the right side of the road a third of the way down. Then go out the back door of the chapel to a little graveyard that most people don't visit. Continue up the hill behind the graveyard to a series of paths and walkways and small parks that 90% of tourists never visit. They give you different views of the bay and island, and eventually lead back down to the main entrance. This area is peaceful, and quite the change form the main drag from the gates to the abbey.

Posted by
33 posts

Go late. Go late. Go late. We went June 5th and got there at 4 pm and it was still MOBBED with people at the bottom, so we ducked into a restaurant and had an early dinner and waited for the crowds to disperse, then wandered the whole place until they closed the abbey around 7 pm I think. It was beautiful!

There's not much to do, per se, except the shopping on the little street, it's just a beautiful site itself.

Posted by
12172 posts

I arrived mid afternoon (mid September). It was crowded but probably not as crazy as it can get. I stopped in the TI to ask where the entrance to the Ramparts up to the Abbey were? Directly across the street. The ramparts weren't empty but not crowded on the way up. When I got to the top there was about an hour and half before last entry. The Abbey wasn't empty but not at all crowded. After the Abbey, I worked my way back down, checking off the sights I wanted to see, then ended up on the main road, which was still quite crowded. I left around 7 PM and had dinner in Cancale. I didn't see any need for booking the Abbey in advance. When I got there, there was no line for tickets.

Posted by
6113 posts

MSM has been ruined by building the road and obliterating the tidal causeway. Go very early or very late. The buses get very busy and can be slow, so walk from the car park - it’s usually quicker!

Eat in Pontorson not at MSM - there are several good galette places. MSM is generally poor quality and expensive.

Saint Malo and Dinard are better days out than MSM IMO.