Mont Saint Michel was one of places we immediately knew we wanted to go when we started planning our first trip to France. It’s an absolute jewel, right on the Normandy coast. But we quickly hit a logistics snag: how the heck do you take a day trip to Mont Saint Michel?
Suggestions we debunked
TripAdvisor and RailEurope’s blog both suggest taking a high-speed train from Paris to Rennes, then orchestrating a bus ride from there to Mont Saint Michel. Personally, when booking, we were unable to find timely routes to Rennes. We also recommend against waiting until you get to the station to book your train tickets, especially those that aren’t regional, as all the trains we took were pretty jam-packed.
Also, only rent a car and drive there if you’re planning to stay overnight, as you’d be looking at 8 hours of travel, round trip.
Other sources recommended booking excursions/tours that would handle transportation for you. AVOID AVOID AVOID. Most of the straight-from-Paris tours we found (to just about anywhere, honestly) are exorbitantly priced.
All-around verdict: MEH.
What we recommend
What we ended up doing was booking a combined fare through RailEurope, and it worked beautifully.
Set Paris as your starting point, Mont Saint Michel as your destination, and that you want to travel roundtrip. Also, set your departure and arrival times as early and late as you can to ensure you see all available fares.
Once you do this, you should be able to book a TGV ticket for Paris to Villedieu-Poêles that also INCLUDES your bus fare on to MSM.
Roundtrip for both of us, and including bus fare, the trip was USD $132.
Once you get to the station and print your tickets from one of the kiosks, you’ll get one ticket for each leg (one from Paris to MSM, and one back), with information for both modes of transportation on each ticket.
Honestly, the train system in France couldn’t be easier or more convenient. And the bus was what we’d consider a large tour bus – huge and cushy in every respect. Best of all, it was idling outside the train station when we arrived, so it was incredibly easy to find.
So. Get to booking those tickets, because you’ve got not excuse NOT to enjoy the touristy, aged, beachy awesomeness that is Mont Saint Michel! 🙂
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Also published on Medium.