In the Normandy, in the North of France, lies a place which looks like a scene out of a fairytale and almost appears like a Fata Morgana at the horizon: The tiny island & town Mont Saint-Michel which lies just a few hundred meters away from the mainland.
This magical small village is a must see if you’re planning to travel to the North of France and can easily connected with other locations during a road trip. In this post I will share the best photo spots and useful travel tips for Mont Saint-Michel with you!
Save this post on Pinterest to find it back later!
Mont Saint-Michel Photo Spots & Travel Tips
What is Mont Saint-Michel famous for?
The island has been a pilgrimage site for christians since the 8th century. Since the late 9th century an abbey has been built which got renewed and extended throughout the following centuries. During the French Revolution in the 18th century, the abbey got closed and used as a prison for political opponents.
Today there are again a handful of nuns and monks living in the Mont Saint-Michel Abbey and it still attracts pilgrims from all around the world.
Around the abbey is a medieval village with a bit less than 50 inhabitants – including the nuns and monks, living in the abbey. A stroll through the village is absolutely worth a visit. Stroll through the cute little alleys and shops around every corner and enjoy a traditional Crepes or Galette.
But be prepared to walk a lot of stairs, since the island is a mountain with the abbey on its highest point!
How to get to Mont Saint-Michel?
The easiest way to reach Mont-Saint Michel is by car. The close surrounding of the island are only accessible for the cars of locals or for guests which booked a hotel in the area. (Which definitely makes sense if you plan to stay over night to watch the sunset and sunrise!)
From the mainland you have to cross the bridge which connects the land and the island by foot, bicycle or shuttle bus. Walking takes around 30 mins and offers great views on the way there. However the bus shuttle is much quicker and is completely free! The first bus drives you to the island at 7.30 am in the morning and the last one after sunset. However the schedule for the shuttle service differs throughout the year → click here to find out how the busses are driving during your visit
What is the best time to visit Mont Saint-Michel?
The fairytale island is a wonderful destination throughout the whole year, while summer is probably the best time to watch the late & colorful sunsets and enjoy the sunny weather of the Normandy. But keep in mind that Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most famous sights in France and attracts most visitors during the warm summer months. That’s why the shoulder seasons in late spring or late summer / early autumn are a better choice.
Another great tip to beat the crowds is to plan your visit in the early morning OR late afternoon, before sunset, when the tours already departed. The abbey opens at 9am in the morning and closes at 7pm but the village itself doesn’t have an opening time. Midday, when most visitors stroll through Mont Saint-Michel, is the ideal time to visit some of the surrounding sights like Omaha Beach.
Good to know: A ticket for the Mont Saint-Michel abbey costs 11,- EUR per adult and is free if you’re 25 or younger. Make sure to book a ticket and time slot online to skip the line!
Mont Saint-Michel is famous for its tides. During low tide you can completely walk around the island and photograph it from unique perspectives but always have the tides in mind! When it is coming back, the water runs back extremely fast and it happens several times each year that visitors underestimate the change of the tides and have to be rescued out of the water.
The highest differences between low and high tide is usually during full moon with a tidal range of 15m / 49 ft – which is the highest range in Europe!
If you want to plan your visit according to the tides – for example if you want to see the island completely surrounded by water (which wasn’t the case for us) then → check the live tidal plan for Mont Saint-Michel here!
How many days are ideal for a visit at Mont Saint-Michel?
I would suggest to spend at least one sunset and one sunrise at Mont Saint-Michel to take photos and one early morning or late afternoon to explore the village and visit the abbey.
That’s why it is a great idea to spend one night at a hotel close to the connection bridge, like the → Mercure Hotel Mont Saint-Michel or stay on the island itself. But to take photos with the island in the background during the early morning or sunset it is definitely better to stay on the mainland.
These are the best photo spots in Mont Saint-Michel:
Now finally the answer to all the questions I got after I posting my Normandy content on Social Media: What are the best photo spots at Mont Saint-Michel and how can I find them?
You can find the exact location of all three photo spots we visited on the map below and a description, how to reach them further down:
Mont Saint-Michel photo spot 1: Low tide beach
Of course this spot is only accessible during low tide and as I already mentioned above, you have to be extremely careful with the changing tides when visiting this spot! → Make sure to check the tidal plan before your visit here!
As soon as you crossed the bridge from the mainland to the island, go right and walk a few minutes around it until you reach the location I marked in the map (it may differ, depending on how high the tide is during your visit). The ground is extremely muddy and wet from the sea water so be prepared to get dirty shoes!
Mont Saint-Michel photo spot 2: Sunrise view
To watch the sunrise behind Mont Saint-Michel, you have to be positioned on the left side of the bridge, on the mainland. The spot I marked in the map can easily be reached when you take the walkway to the left, when you stand in front of the entrance of the connecting bridge. Follow this way until you reach a dam. From here, walk along the pathway a few minutes towards the island until you can’t get any closer. For photos it is a nice perspective when the photographer is standing on the dam while the model walks on the meadow below, with the iconic shape of Mont Saint-Michel in the background. But of course this spot looks also impressive without any model at all!
Mont Saint-Michel photo spot 3: „River“ View
Now my favorite view point to overlook and photograph Mont Saint-Michel: The uniquely shaped „riverbank“ during sunset!
To reach this particular location you can either follow a path from the connection bridge to the right OR you park your car close to the Auberge Hotel and walk for a few minutes – which is much more convenient. Find the start point of the walkway next to a sheep farm, and walk through the wooden gateway to reach the meadow. It is usually open and a beloved walkway for locals as well. In case it might be closed, there is a step attached to the fence which makes it easy to walk over it.
After a short distance you will also see the unique geometrical shape of the river bank which is only filled with water if the tide is extremely high. This only happens a few times per year. But even without any water, it makes a unique foreground for sunset photos with the Mont Saint-Michel behind it. During the summer months the sunset is quite late but it is absolutely worth the waiting!
P.S. If you come to the same spot in the morning you will meet some sheep feeding grass and laying in the sun – this can be a nice motive for photos as well!
After visiting Mont Saint-Michel, it quickly became one of my favorite destinations in Europe! Not only because it is so picturesque but also thanks to it’s one of a kind location and medieval charm. So beside taking outstanding photos at this spot, make sure to give your camera a break to soak in the spacial atmosphere of Mont Saint-Michel and feel like stepping back in time!