Mont St. Michel

I will be in France the 16th Nov. -26th...any winter visiting recommendations for Mont St. Michel? Places to stay? I will have a car. I have never been there before and think its about time.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2610 posts

Great... so I have to work on this a bit this evening as I assume I need to plan this part of the trip. As far as food we will be coming from Frankfurt, so I guess we could bring some sausage, hearty bread, cheese and our favorite German pickles and make a picnic out of it. We are not too fussy about food. @Ed... so if I walk the wall when the tide is in I won't get swept out to sea? I suppose you recommend we stay right there?
I will also be looking for some help on my driving route to avoid the bus fumes... will get to that later. Obviously last minute... I decided a few days ago and trying to make a vague plan. Grandson trip... this one is 14 and not that into the Normandy thing as the last one, but loves architecture and am thinking maybe Versailles or Chartes, then some villages...

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

No chance of getting washed out, you're way up there. Actually, I've been on the wall at high tide in a major storm and got nothing more than a bit of spray (wind-blown, not green water). Even at high tide you can walk from the entrance gate to where the parking lot used to be. And, although the parking lot looked low (it was lower than the old causeway) even at high springs it had no problems with flooding.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Either of the Poullard places if you sleep on the Mont. The one with 'terrasses' is better than the one with 'mere' in the name. Walk the walls when the tide is coming in, even if its three in the morning. Good luck on finding food that's worth a crap. Take rain jacket, ear muffs, and wind britches. Figure out how the parking works, I haven't been there since the causeway/bridge got changed around. Get a night shot from about halfway twixt the mainland and the Mont. PM me if you need help on figuring out how to take pitchers.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9131 posts

"Good luck on finding food that's worth a crap." If it's still there and run by the same people (my experience is from 2006), Restaurant St. Michel is pretty good. It seemed to be the only restaurant not owned by the same company as all the rest. And for all the rest... yeah, the food's pretty mediocre.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

I was hoping Tom would cough that up again. He'd posted it before, but I don't try to quote people. What I forgot: Minimize your time on the D976 any way you can find unless you like bus exhaust. If you don't worm in a night at St Malo (grub, walls, and water) you're just going to have to go back again. Sometimes if you try to google stuff about MSM, it don't work unless you stick the 'le' in front.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

We based out of St. Malo for our trip to MSM and really wish I'd had more time to explore St. Malo. Good food at reasonable prices (and expensive ones too) available at this town, which is very atmospheric and fun. Great picture taking opportunities. Also if you like oysters and have a car, a stop in Cancale is a must.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2610 posts

St. Malo...will a few hours be enough? I will have a car, and have found a room on MSM (lots were already booked, but I figured location was important, so I decided we should stay the night there even if the hotel might be a bit dowdy) More questions coming...
@Sarah... We will also be in Germany for the last few days and want to catch a Christmas Market or two...Do you know when Esslingen starts?

Posted by Brian
Los Angeles, California
1986 posts

MSM I am one of its fans. Go all the way up to the Abbey and the Cloisters. the abbey is not very decorated but you will find treasures (like the Adam and Eve carving); the walls are way up there and a great vantage point. Somehow when we go all the way to the yop the crowds dwindle and you are very alone. St Malo is highly recommended . If you aim at being within the walls, or along the harbor, you can get a good feel for it in 3 hours (or less if time pressured) also some nice places to eat within the walls. And fishermen in boats in the harbor.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

What Brian said - - a couple or three hours, especially if you've just been to MSM. Walls and water are pretty much just walls and water if you see too much of them in the same week. The best mussel places are just inside the wall adjacent to the recreational marina. Leave your car outside since it gets really tight in spots inside. Right in the same area is a good place to get up on the walls to start wandering. Don't try to do the whole perimeter - - you don't have enough time. Cancale is further around the bay than it looks on a map. If you decide on it and you're pressed for time, hug the coast on the back roads and you'll save fifteen minutes or so. There's really not much to either the town or or the little por. Better ones exist all along the coast.

Posted by Compay
Estes Park, Colorado, USA
34 posts

Terry, my wife and I spent a night on MSN last week, just to say we did it. Sort of a bucket list thing to do. We stayed at the Hotel Du Guesclin. It was a bit worn and thus overpriced, but O.K. Our dinner at the hotel was good and fairly priced. breakfast not so. Unless you having a burning desire to actually sleep on the island, I would suggest getting a room in the adjacent community and save yourself 50-60 euro, then have a super good dinner on MSN. RS recommends the Hotel Vert. I checked it out and it looked clean/modern. It is right on the edge of causeway and we recommend you walk out and back to MSN to capture the full mood of the place or you can take the free shuttle. The causeway is open 24 hrs/day and is about 1/2 mile long. The abbey opens at 9:30 AM. Be sure to be there when the door opens to get a bit ahead of the crowds, though not sure how busy it will be in mid-November. Dress warmly. Have fun!

Posted by Marilyn
Mentor on the Lake, OH, USA
251 posts

We did MSM in 2010. Had prepaid for a room at Mere Poulard, got bumped to a room at the Terrasse de Poulard. Quite a climb, right under the Abbey, which would have been fine except my husband tends to go into afib after so much climbing.
Loved the Abbey and the church, so it is worth your time.This was the only time I bought the audio tour on our trip and was glad I did. Hope you have a wonderful time.

Posted by Paula
Atlanta, GA, USA
101 posts

Last spring, we spent the night at the Hotel de la Croix Blanche. It is a sister hotel to the one right next door (can't remember its name...sorry) and the check-in desk is at the sister hotel. When you walk in, you are in the bar area. The bartender greeted us and the called next door for someone to show us to our room. The room was small, but very nice. We ate dinner at the restaurant on the 3rd floor - they gave us a window table and we watched the tide come in. I would highly recommend staying on the Mont. It is magical....

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2610 posts

@Ralph... I was trying to go to Israel... there was a tour company I wanted to try out that I want to use for a photo tour to Romania & Bulgaria in the spring, but the trip to Israel did not have enough participants, so they didn't run it.... so I am now going on my own with grandson to Frankfurt & France Nov, 16-26, then when I return I am going back Dec. 1-7 for a weeklong Paris city tour with this company to see if I like them... confusing I know... I am not a tour person, but with our group we need all the logistics handled and this company is pretty reasonable... so no Israel right now. (but at some point)