Mont Saint-Michel Abby (Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel)

#5 in Best Things To Do in Normandy
Mont Saint-Michel Abby (Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel) picture
Mike Cattell/Flickr

Key Info

B.P. 22 - 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Surrounded by sea in the high tide and sand in low, Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel is one of France’s most-toured sites outside of the popular Parisian landmarks. Its first incarnation was raised on the 264-foot-high rock in 1144, but additions were added well into the 19th century. Today, you can tour the abbey and the little village at its base. Tours are offered all year-round, but you can also traipse the massive structure on your own.

One TripAdvisor user says: “The Mont Saint Michel Abbey is one of the most beautiful and interesting sites in the world. … The hike to the very top is worth the effort to view the surrounding sea and town.” Another TripAdvisor user gives a recommendation, “Rent a car, go in the evening, spend the night, and leave early the next morning -- the abbey and Mont in the morning light is a sight to see.”

Fodor’s warns: “Tides in the bay are dangerously unpredictable. The sea can rise up to 45 feet at high tide and rushes in at incredible speed -- more than a few ill-prepared tourists over the years have drowned.” In low tides, there are also patches of quicksand, so we recommend staying away from the sand flats period.

You'll find this impressive abbey on a skinny strip of land in the English Channel. Admission is €8.50 EUR or about $12 USD. For more information, visit the abbey’s official website.

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D-Day Beaches
Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Rouen
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#1 D-Day Beaches

World War II’s successful Operation Overlord took place on the coast of France. Although there were heavy Allied casualties, this invasion turned the tide in the war and helped lead to the fall of Nazi Germany. Today this piece of coastline, which includes Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah beaches, is collectively known as the D-Day Beaches.

Visitors can tour the about 50-mile stretch of beach and pop by a number of museums, memorials and cemeteries that have spread out alongside the sand. The American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer and the Pointe-du-Hoc bomb craters are especially moving. Many recent travelers recommend exploring the beaches with a tour guide.

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