How to spend a perfect family day out at Mont-Saint-Michel

Published on April 25, 2018
  • In front of the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey - © © Caroline Revol-Maurel

    In front of the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey - © © Caroline Revol-Maurel

  • The route to reach the Mont-Saint-Michel - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

    The route to reach the Mont-Saint-Michel - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

  • No car on the horizon - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

    No car on the horizon - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

  • Spectacular view over the bay - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

    Spectacular view over the bay - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

  • Inside the cloister - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

    Inside the cloister - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

  • Tasty little pastry - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

    Tasty little pastry - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

  • Affordable creperies scattered in the alleyways - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

    Affordable creperies scattered in the alleyways - © © Caroline Revol-Maure

How to spend a perfect family day out at Mont-Saint-Michel mont st. michel fr

The silhouette stands out from a thousand: an extraordinary village perched on an island in the middle of the sea. Mont Saint-Michel has everything it takes to stimulate the imagination of young and old alike.

A visit to Mont Saint-Michel is fun, fantastical, and educational—and will take at least a full day. Pro-tip: for those with little ones, don’t forget to bring a baby carrier, you’ll find the ancient labyrinthine stairs and narrow paths are not very stroller-friendly.

10am. Discover the Mont from the bay

Whatever route you take to reach the bay of Mont Saint-Michel, the monumental outline of this legendary landmark can be seen from all around. It’s a great hide and seek game for kids to “spot the castle” on the horizon before you arrive, it certainly builds up excitement.

From the lot, you can choose between taking a shuttle that drops you 200m from the entrance of the site, or take a stroll over the bridge. It takes around 45 minutes to walk across as thousands of pilgrims do each year, and there’s plenty of time to admire the view.

11am. Get lost in the winding alleys

Tiny steep stairs wind between two walls, and as you climb, you can’t help but imagine how knights of Medieval Times walked here before you. It’s a traffic free island, and the maze of cobbled roads and hundreds of stairs are a huge, antique playground for children. With its medieval shops, wiggly streets and glaring gargoyles, enchanting Mont Saint-Michel transports them to an era gone by of lords and ladies, squires and monks.

11:30am. Visit the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel

The abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is known as the “Merveille" (a marvel) for good reason; this miracle of construction makes the eyes widen and the pulse quicken at its beauty. Little legs sometimes have trouble getting to the top of the long flights of stairs, but it’s worth the effort. Get your entrance ticket before you ascend—it’s free for under 18 year-olds, and there are benches on the way up, so everyone can take a rest.

The gigantic nave of the abbey marks the beginning of a fascinating and entertaining tour, and children are astonished by this building that looks just like a castle sprung from a fairytale.

From the tall windows of the magnificent cloisters you’ll enjoy one of the most beautiful views; a dizzying panorama over the bay. Discover the scriptorium, the guest room, the refectory, the echoes of grand spaces and the chimneys so huge that Santa Claus would have to drop a lot of presents in to fill them!

1pm. Indulge in a mouth-watering meal and sensational sea views

For lunch, it’s a bit of a tradition to savor an omelette, the famous signature dish at the restaurant of Mère Poulard. In the 19th century, Madame Poulard, an innkeeper, built a reputation on her tasty omelettes cooked over a wood fire. They’re a bit pricey, but there are loads more affordable creperies scattered in the alleyways of the Mont, serving scrumptious pancakes that kids love.

2pm. Admire the view ... and the birds

Seagulls and gulls (there's a difference!) fly over Mont Saint-Michel in their thousands and have become a feature of any visit. From the ramparts, there are spectacular views over the bay stretching out of sight and way into the horizon. It’s always fun to spot the shuttles that go back and forth between the island and the car park, to see people walking over the bridge looking so tiny in the distance and to spot the gulls soaring even higher than you are. They’ve become so used to people here that they’re quite tame, and you can get up close to them.

Do you know how to distinguish them? Seagulls have black heads, and gulls are bigger.

4pm. To taste the cakes of Mère Poulard

Lemon shortbread, Breton pucks (like a cookie), salted butter caramel patties... Mère Poulard made herself famous thanks to her omelettes, but today the cakes made in her name are the most popular with children. In the winding alleys of Mont Saint-Michel, it’s impossible to miss the delectable sight of these beautiful little pastries. Enjoy their sweet taste, and don’t forget to take some home!

 

After a lovely day, it’s time to take the shuttle back to modernity.

 

 

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