The Mont-Saint-Michel is a small labyrinth: it is fun to get lost because you know you will always find the way out!
But if you don’t want to miss anything of the wonderful fortified village, here is our description of the streets of Mont-Saint-Michel and the alleys.
And, to help you to find your way, we gather maps of the Mont-Saint-Michel: parking, access road, hotels…
Map of the Mont-Saint-Michel streets
The houses are tightly packed on a small rocky surface and think.
It is very difficult to create maps that are easy to locate.
Map of Mont-Saint-Michel
First of all here is our map of Mont-Saint-Michel to help you find your way
You will find a presentation of each section in the article below.
You will find more maps later in the article: access road to Mont-Saint-Michel, museums, hotels…
How long does it take to explore the streets of Mont-Saint-Michel?
Walking around the village is a must… but for how long?
It really depends on you, your interest in photography, architecture and views… and the crowd!!! The streets being narrow, as soon as there are people, it slows down a lot.
We strongly recommend exploring in the early morning or late evening.
Without stopping, walking at a proper pace, it takes 5 minutes to walk up the Grande Rue.
This gives you an idea of the time scale, knowing that all the streets and alleys go up and down with a lot of stairs.
We recommend at least 2 hours to take the time to explore and get lost, including with the ramparts.
Essential tips for walking in the Mont-Saint-Michel:
The streets are made of old cobblestones and with many stairs.
- Wear good walking shoes, avoid high heels
- Bring a water bottle (they sell them in the stores but don’t waste plastic).
- Avoid coming with a stroller, we heard a lot of people complaining and struggling on the stairs…
- We advise you to spend a night in the area to enjoy the village early or late, without the crowds – see our article on where to sleep at Mont-Saint-Michel
OUR ADVICE FOR RENTING A CAR IN Normandy
- Compare prices on our preferred platform: DiscoverCars – one of the best rated sites.
- Choose a car that is comfortable enough (distances can be long) but compact (some parking lots and villages are narrow).
- Think of thecomplete insurance (some roads are tortuous and narrow).
- There is a lot of demand, book it early.
La Grande Rue
The Grande Rue is the main artery of the village.
At the entrance, it is protected by three doors and then it goes up to the main staircase of the abbey.
Main entrance: Porte de l’Avancée and Porte du Boulevard
At the end of the footbridge, you will arrive in front of the majestic Mont-Saint-Michel.
Take time to observe the exterior: the ramparts, the flag and the construction of the abbey on the rock walls.
Here there are some cars that are there for work or services. Attention the employees’ bus makes a U-turn here, while the visitors’ bus stops a little further on the footbridge. Don’t go to the wrong one!
From the square, you go to the right, through a first door called Gate of the Advance.
You arrive in a first courtyard (where you find a toilet). This is where the former Corps de Garde des Bourgeois from the 16th century is located.
Then you pass the Boulevard Gate, which marks the beginning of the Grande Rue.
This first courtyard with unaligned doors was essential for the protection of the village.
Both doors date from the 16th century.
Mère Poulard, King’s Gate and Logis (Porte du Roi)
Once through these two doors, you find yourself in a courtyard again.
To your left, you see a red door. It is the famous Auberge de la Mère Poulard with its omelettes cooked on a wood fire(more information).
At lunchtime, look out the front door and you will see them cooking.
Here you will discover the 3rd gate which is the most defensive: the King’s Gate (also called King’s Gate). It is protected by 2 towers: The Tour de l’Arcade and the Tour du Roi. It has a drawbridge and a portcullis.
Take the time to admire the details!
And then go underneath.
Once past the drawbridge, you have one of the most beautiful corners of Mont-Saint-Michel, in our opinion.
You have the perspective towards the main street in front of you. And also one of the most fascinating houses on the right, the “Maison de l’Arcade”.
But, before going up the main street, go ahead and turn around.
Above the King’s Gate is the King’s Logis. Today, the village hall is located there.
The stairs you see in the photo above lead to the ramparts. We will talk about it later in the article.
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Lower section of the main street
The main street is then in front of you, magnificent.
It’s a real trip back in time.
Notice that the houses are bigger on the upper floors, they lean towards each other. This is because at the time of their construction, the tax was dependent on the floor area…
This part really has a bit of a Harry Potter world feel to it!
The lower section of the street goes up to the Saint-Pierre church.
It is narrow, with houses and stores on both sides. Many of the buildings date from the 15th and 16th centuries.
For example notice:
- the house of the Siren with souvenir store and creperie
- Auberge Saint-Pierre, where you can spend the night – see our review of the 7 intramural hotels.
In all these stores you will find mainly souvenirs.
Already the first pilgrims bought pilgrimage seals or medals.
Now, you find mostly mass-produced objects far from Mont-Saint-Michel…
Saint Pierre Church
In the middle of the street, on your left, stands the church of Saint Peter. Don’t miss it by focusing on the climb.
It is not large but important for pilgrims.
It has been modified many times. What you see dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
It is open every day.
It is dedicated to Saint Peter who is the patron saint of fishermen. And for Catholics, he is also the holder of the keys to heaven.
Many return to admire the copy of the statue of the archangel Saint Michael in silver plate (created in 1877).
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The upper part of the Grande Rue, has fewer stores (because one side has no more buildings along the street).
- The Logis Tiphaine, above the street which is one of the 4 museums of the village. It’s a short visit but we enjoyed discovering the life in one of these houses.
- Logis St Symphorien which dates from the 15th century and was rebuilt in 1909
Then you arrive at the level of the gardens of the cross, under the abbey. Turn around for this lovely view up the street with the bay in the background!
Access to the abbey
At the top of the main street, you arrive at the foot of the abbey’s grand staircase.
And that’s only part of it, the stairs go on and on… It’s a pretty intense visit physically (take water) but well worth it.
The abbey is open at least from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. It is essential to reserve your entry slot.
A MAGICAL EXPERIENCE AT Mont-Saint-Michel
Step 2: Decide on your program
- Best things to do at Mont-Saint-Michel
- Mont Saint-Michel Abbey Tower
- The museums of Mont-Saint-Michel
- Where to eat at Mont-Saint-Michel
- Visit Alligator Bay
- Visit the Avranches Scriptorial Museum
- Discover the most beautiful views of Mont-Saint-Michel
Other streets and alleys of Mont-Saint-Michel
The Grande Rue is the best known. But the village has other streets and alleys that go in all directions with stairs.
We couldn’t find all the names, but we had fun exploring.
Here are some suggestions. But we advise you to go on an adventure, you are never far from the main street!
La Venelle du Guet (Cuckold’s alley)
Let’s start with the most famous alley of Mont-Saint-Michel but also the easiest to miss when you are in a stream of tourists climbing towards the abbey.
In front of the hotel La Croix Blanche (before the Archéoscope and the church), you can see a very small opening with stairs. It is the “Venelle du Guet” also called “Ruelle des cocus”.
It is the smallest alley of Mont-Saint-Michel. And the story goes that you can’t get through it with horns.
Rue Le Truie Qui File
At the foot of the abbey’s stairs, you discover another street that runs along the steep wall.
This is one of our favorite streets because you can see the construction of the wall on the rocks.
And we are not distracted by stores.
This street leads to the historical museum which is one of the most interesting on the Mont-Saint-Michel.
Ruelle du logis Sainte Catherine
The alley of the Logis Sainte Catherine leads to small gardens between the square and the abbey.
It is surrounded by stones and greenery.
It’s a good place to admire the sunset from the Mont-Saint-Michel (but of course, you won’t have the village itself on the picture…).
The abbey walkway
At the end of your visit to the abbey, you leave through the gardens and walk along the abbey’s walkway in the shade of the trees.
And the alleys that join them
And here are some pictures of other views along the streets and alleys of Mont-Saint-Michel:
You have to go up and down a lot of stairs.
Do not come with a stroller.
The little gardens
In some corners you can find small gardens that allowed the locals to grow some vegetables (especially during the periods when the mountain was under siege).
In some of these gardens, if you arrive at the right time, you may see the rose called the “Wonder of Mont-Saint-Michel” blooming and smelling very nice.
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We love the walk on the ramparts with its views of the village, the roofs, the abbey and the bay. Probably our favorite part of the visit to the Mont outside the abbey.
You can get there from the main street in several places.
The houses are nestled behind these 15th century ramparts which remained impregnable during the Hundred Years War.
The walkway allows to circulate between the different towers: some high and circular, others in the shape of a horseshoe. They all had different strategic roles: the North Tower, the Arcade Tower, the Freedom Tower, the Gabriel Tower…
Each arrival on a tower offers a different experience. And between the two, you can enjoy interesting views of the village (and the roofs of the houses) and a completely unobstructed view of the bay (don’t miss the islet of Tombelaine).
Take your time and notice the details: gargoyles, roofing systems, chimney shapes, stones used…
The different towers are starting from the entrance and going up to the abbey:
- King’s Tower (Tour du Roi)
- Freedom Tower (Tour de la Liberté)
- Lower Tower (Tour Basse)
- Half Moon Tower (Tour Demi-Lune)
- Tour Loop (Tour Boucle)
- North Tower (Tour Nord)
Les Fanils: access street to the Gabriel Tower
For the moment, we have shown you the streets and alleys on the right of Mont-Saint-Michel. But don’t leave too quickly!
There is a small corner of Mont-Saint-Michel that is often ignored by tourists because you have to go through another door than the main one.
From the forecourt, you can see another door to the left.
Rue des Fanils, is a nice street that passes under the gendarmerie building and the national monuments center.
It leads to the Gabriel Tower and the pier.
This tower crowned with machicolations, built around 1524, protects the west side. Over the years, it was used as a mill, then as a lighthouse to direct the boats entering the Couesnon. A small door on the right gives access to the old pier. Rings still testify to the maritime activity of the past.
The streets of Mont-Saint-Michel by night
Here are some pictures to give you a glimpse of the village at night.
It is an absolutely magical experience!
For more pictures, see our article on the Mont-Saint-Michel by night.
WHERE TO STAY AT Mont-Saint-Michel
Or sleep in the part called La Caserne which is between the parking lots and the footbridge to Mont-Saint-Michel.
- Mercure 4-starhotel – see prices, photos and availability
The Normandy countryside is very green and inspiring. At the bend in the forest or in the fields, pretty villages with beautiful buildings transport you to another world, or even another era.
Access road to Mont-Saint-Michel
Access map to Mont-Saint-Michel
For those who wonder how to reach Mont-Saint-Michel, here is a simplified map with the parking lots, the main shuttle stops, the area called La Caserne and the access footbridge.
Photo of the road and the access footbridge
Many people rush inside the Mont. They get out of their car, get on the shuttle and follow the people inside.
But, in our opinion, choosing to walk there from the parking lots is the best option.
The path is flat and easy. Count 40min to 50min of walking.
Enjoy the sea air and the changing landscape as you approach the mountain.
At the beginning you see the mountain with the water of the dam, then with fields (and sometimes sheep), then with the footbridge and, finally, surrounded by sand or water (depending on the tides).
The anticipation makes the experience even better!
Other Maps of Mont-Saint-Michel
And here are some other maps to help you find your way.
Map of the 7 intramural hotels
There are 7 hotels for those who really want to sleep in the medieval village and enjoy this unique experience. More info in our article about the hotels within the city.
Parking and shuttle map
In addition to the abbey to visit, there are 4 museums in the village.
Discover them in more detail in our article on museums (coming soon).
Parking and shuttle map
Map of Mont-Saint-Michel distributed by the tourist office
There are two tourist office points: the big building next to the shuttle departure and next to the post office at the beginning of the Grande Rue.
Don’t hesitate to come in and ask for a map!
Map of La Caserne
And on the back of the same map, there is a detailed map of the Barracks area with the dam, parking lots, restaurants, stores and hotels.
Model of Mont-Saint-Michel at the tourist office
At the tourist office which is next to the parking lots, you can see the model of Mont-Saint-Michel with the road leading to it and the footbridge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a road to Mont-Saint-Michel?
Yes, there is a road to Mont-Saint-Michel.
However, private vehicles are not allowed. You have to take the shuttle bus from the parking lots.
It is not practicable during the high tide of the big tides.
Can we walk in the Mont-Saint-Michel?
Yes it is possible to walk in the Mont-Saint-Michel. The village is not big, but it is free of access like any other village in France.
Is Mont-Saint-Michel free?
The entrance to the village of Mont-Saint-Michel is free.
However, if you come by car, you have to pay the parking.
And if you want to visit the abbey, you also have to pay. Reserving your slot is essential – reserve your entry slot.
How long does it take to walk to Mont-Saint-Michel?
From the parking area, it takes between 40 and 50 minutes to walk.
Can we explore Mont-Saint-Michel alone? Do we need a guide?
Yes, the village is open to all. It is not essential to take a guide.
The village is not big, but there is a lot to notice at Mont-Saint-Michel.
To understand a little more what you are looking at and to discover all the secrets of the mountain, we recommend you to take a guide.
See reviews of this private tour – or see the guides on the tourist office website.