Panorama, Culture, Packed lunch
We explore Mont Saint-Michel, a "wonder of the West" and masterpiece of medieval religious architecture, as well as an exceptional vantage point for admiring the spectacle of the tides which have the biggest height difference in the whole of France.
What we will see
- Mont Saint-Michel
- Porte de Bavole, Grand Rue and village
- Walls and Benedictine abbey
What we will do
- On this excursion we spend the whole day at Mont Saint-Michel, a rocky island surrounded by a magnificent bay known as the "wonder of the West" and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. Visits to the island are spectacular at any time of year thanks to its configuration, the rich history of the abbey and the beauty of its architecture. The little island, with a circumference of around 1 km, reaches a height of 80 metres and is connected to the bay via a paved road built in 1879 which is submerged at high tide. The area is known for its alternating tides, causing changes to the sandbars that surround the mount. Here the movement of the tides is the highest in the whole of France and the difference between high and low tide can be over 12 metres.
- We will begin our visit at the fortified entrance, the Porte de Bavole built by Gabriel du Puy in 1590, and continue along the Grand Rue, a steep road that comes to life in the summer with souvenir shops and restaurants and crosses the picturesque village towards the abbey, church and cloister.
- We will also visit the walls along a route that offers enchanting views of the bay and the abbey gardens.
- We arrive at the Abbey which dates back to the 8th century when the Archangel Michael appeared to Aubert, bishop of Avranches, telling him to build a church on the rock. The bishop founded an oratory on the island, then known as Mont Tombe. In the Carolingian period the oratory was replaced by an abbey and from that time until the 16th century, magnificent Romanesque and Gothic buildings were constructed. The abbey was well fortified and never conquered; having been used as a prison during the French Revolution and the Second Empire, in 1874 it was declared a Historic Monument and opened to the public all year round.
- Before returning to Cherbourg we will have free time to shop for souvenirs (with a wide range of copper, ceramic and porcelain objects to choose from) and local produce (such as butter biscuits and other typical products of Normandy). We can enjoy the atmosphere of this medieval village whose inhabitants carry on the island's traditions, continuing to make products for the delight of visitors and pilgrims coming to this unique site, just as they did over a thousand years ago.
What you need to know
- This excursion is not recommended for guests with mobility problems.
- The coach transfer to Mont Saint-Michel takes approximately 3 hours each way.
- Flash photography and video cameras are not permitted in the Cathedral due to the security control at the entrance of the Abby, therefore we recommend that guests have small bags in order to proceed faster and avoid long waiting times.
- This tour includes a basket lunch prepared by our ship staff.