In the vicinity
Close to Brittany, Mont-Saint-Michel stands in the centre of a vast bay which has the highest tides in Europe.
Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, Mont-Saint-Michel is a tourist hotspot which welcomes more than three million visitors per year, making it the third most popular tourist site in France (after the Eiffel Tower and Versailles).
The story behind the name
Built on a rocky island with a circumference of almost a kilometre and standing some 80 metres high, Mont-Saint-Michel is a wonder of the Western world.
After Saint Michael appeared to him, Bishop Aubert ordered the abbey to be built in 708.
From the very beginning, Mont-Saint-Michel was a key destination for pilgrims. Today, tourists, walkers and pilgrims come together as they climb the 350 steps up to the abbey and its breathtaking views.
Architecture enthusiasts can admire the incredible medieval architecture of this site, dating back to between the 11th and 16th centuries.
Visitors to Mont-Saint-Michel in July and August have the opportunity to enjoy a rather special experience: during the summer months, the abbey hosts a music and light show, giving this legendary place a truly magical feel.
Keen hikers won’t be able to resist crossing the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel.
Fauna and flora
The Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel is a wonderful place to visit for fans of fauna and flora. The diversity of the natural surroundings helps many varieties of plants and animals to thrive here.
The bay is home to 130 species of birds, including majestic gulls and wigeons, and a hundred species of fish, from eels to salmon. The incredible number of fish also attracts plenty of other animals, including dolphins and seals!
The Roche Torin headland boasts particular botanical importance and is home to land and aquatic plants, including the rare pedunculate sea-purslane.
Did you know?
When the tide comes in, the sea enters the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel and creates a wave some 50 centimetres high. This natural phenomenon, called a tidal bore, is a unique spectacle whichis not to be missed.
Every year, keen runners come to Mont-Saint-Michel for a marathon around the bay. This is the only marathon in the world in which runners can see the finishing line before setting off!
If you’re not a fan of running, you can also explore the bay on foot, by bike, in a canoe or on horseback.