There are few places in the world more spellbinding than Mont Saint-Michel. Its strategic fortifications have witnessed wars, sieges, and conquerings by more than a few extinct dynasties.
On this luxury day trip you’re going to explore the history of this much-coveted rock; from the heights of the monastery to the marshes of the floodplain that surround it. And with transport by high-speed train, you’ll spend more time in the Mont than you would on any other day trip from Paris. There is truly no more complete tour on the market.
Your day starts in Montparnasse train station in Central Paris. Here you’ll meet your expert guide and group of max 18 fellow travelers, and hop on the first high-speed train out of the city. Doing 200 mph, it will take you only 1.5 hours to get to Rennes, plus an extra hour and twenty minutes on a private minibus. Most tours from Paris go by bus, which takes an arduous 5.5 hours each way (more in bad traffic). That means most visitors only get 4 hours in Mont Saint-Michel, while you’ll enjoy a full 7 hours.
The order of this tour depends heavily on the tides coming into and out of the bay. Most visitors never explore the sand here, but you will. Led by a specially-trained naturalist guide, you’ll kick off your shoes and walk out onto the tidal flat to discuss the unique nature and environment surrounding Mont Saint-Michel and even see a bit of the dreaded quicksand that used to trap pilgrims trying to cross the bay. Don’t worry, your guide won’t let you get stuck, but they will show you how to get out of it. This is also where you will get the most stunning views of the village and monastery, so make sure to bring a camera.
Back in the village, you’ll enjoy a two-hour tour of the Medieval city streets and fortified walls in which your guide will give you the colorful history of this tiny, but strategically-important community. From Irish monks and Bretton bishops to English Barons, French kings, and countless religious pilgrims; seemingly everyone in Western Europe has, at some time or another, wanted a piece of this little rock. Once you head inside the monastery, you’ll understand why.
After a break for lunch (with plenty of recommendations from your guide, for where you can enjoy the local specialty omelets) you’ll head inside the Abbey to soak in the Gothic architecture and its history. Your guide isn’t able to follow you in but they will brief you on the building’s history and what to keep an eye out for before you go inside with your audio guide. Because it was used as a prison after the French Revolution, you can see stark reminders of human captivity like a human-sized Dzhamster wheeldz that was operated by prisoners to haul goods up the hill. Afterwards, you might just want to conquer the village yourself.
At the end of the tour, hop back on the bus, then train, for the journey back to Paris.