Can we visit Mont-Saint-Michel in winter? Is it worth it? What to see
Here are our tips for visiting Mont-Saint-Michel during the winter months and making the most of it.
Our complete guide to visiting it in a day from Paris, or sleeping there to enter its magical world at night.
BEFORE OUR TIPS + PHOTOS
HERE ARE OUR favorites
Our favorite car rental platform with great offers: DiscoverCars
Our favorite places to stay:
On theisland: Hôtel Auberge Saint-Pierre – see photos and availability
At the end of the bridge: Hotel Mercure – see photos and availability
In the countryside: B&B Le Clos Saint Gilles – see photos and availability
In a castle 30min away: Château de La Ballue – see photos and availability
This opinion is completely independent, based on our experiences. We visited the area anonymously, making our own choices, and paying all our bills in full.
Is Mont-Saint-Michel open in winter?
Yes, Mont-Saint-Michel is a village, and it’s open every day, all year round, even in winter. The abbey is also open to visitors in winter, except on December 25 and January 1.
Don’t forget to reserve your time to visit the abbey!
On the other hand:
- some stores are closed
- some restaurants are closed
- some hotels are closed
Is Mont-Saint-Michel worth a visit in winter?
Yes, Mont-Saint-Michel is definitely worth a visit in winter. To be honest, we prefer it even in winter, as we can appreciate its structure and ambience much more, even if some places are closed.
Mont-Saint-Michel has a unique mystical atmosphere. We particularly like it at night(see our article). In winter, far fewer tourists flock to this icon, and the weather, with its occasional fog, adds to its special atmosphere.
Far fewer tourists on the main street, less hubbub, fewer queues for the shuttle… there are many advantages!
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.
How can I visit Mont-Saint-Michel in winter?
Just like summer, or almost.
The easiest way is by car:
It is very easy to reach Mont-Saint-Michel by car: Motorway A84 from Caen or from Rennes, N176 from Saint-Malo.
- Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel = 3h30 to 4h30 drive (depending on traffic jams)
- Caen to Mont-Saint-Michel = 1h20
- Bayeux to Mont-Saint-Michel = 1h20
- Nantes to Mont-Saint-Michel = 2h30
- Rennes to Mont-Saint-Michel = 1h
Be careful, there are a lot of radars at the approach of the Mont-Saint-Michel!
Read all our tips on how to get to Mont-Saint-Michel in this article.
Parking is available at a charge, but includes a shuttle bus to the foot of the fortifications. Find out more about parking at Mont-Saint-Michel.
Taking the train is complicated, as it’s a long way from the big cities. And the shuttles set up in summer run less or not at all in winter.
From Paris, some day tours still run in winter. Given the driving time from Paris, this is your best option for resting and taking in the scenery on the way.
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.
Conditions: weather, temperatures…
Winter in Normandy is cold but not freezing.
From December to February, the average daytime temperature is 6°C.
It’s impossible to say what the weather will be like: you may have a big blue sky, or mist, or rain, probably wind and sometimes even snow (but that’s not frequent). One day does not make the other.
Wrap up warm and go sightseeing whatever the conditions. All types of weather offer different experiences of the Mont-Saint-Michel atmosphere.
On the other hand, it’s winter, so the days are shorter. Sunrise and sunset give you a little less time to explore during the day.
But it also means you have more time to explore at night, and we love that!
See all our tips for visiting Mont-Saint-Michel, whatever the season.
What to do at Mont-Saint-Michel in winter
Many things are similar in every season. We recommend you:
- Admire Mont-Saint-Michel from the dam and the footbridge
- Explore the ramparts
- Discover the main street
- Visit the abbey – reserve your time to visit the abbey
- Visiting the village by night is magical
- Sleep on Mont-Saint-Michel – see our guide to hotels in the area
- Walking in the bay (with a guide)
See our article on the best things to do at Mont-Saint-Michel.
Advantages of visiting Mont-Saint-Michel in winter
In our opinion, these are the biggest advantages of visiting in winter:
- far fewer people
- lower hotel prices
- an even more magical atmosphere
- it’s the perfect time to photograph migratory birds
- Every first Sunday of the month from the beginning of November to the end of March, admission to the abbey is free for all.
- for the Christmas illuminations
- you don’t have to get up at dawn to see the sunrise
- more night-time hours to enjoy its magical atmosphere.
Disadvantages of visiting Mont-Saint-Michel in winter
But of course, there are a few drawbacks too:
- Some museums closed
- Many stores closed
- Some restaurants closed
- More chance of rain
- It’s colder
- If you’re going to walk in the bay (with a guide), you’ll want to do it in boots rather than barefoot…
Mont-Saint-Michel at Christmas
You can also enjoy the magic of Mont-Saint-Michel mixed with the magic of Christmas.
From December 15 to January 15, the village is decorated with pretty Christmas lights, making the main street even more magical.
Please note that the abbey is closed on December 25 and January 1.
On the other hand, a Christmas mass is normally celebrated at the Abbey (and it’s often packed). See the Fraternity calendar.
There are small Christmas markets in the region, but not on Mont-Saint-Michel, as the streets are too narrow. Just for one day, there’s a small Christmas market in aid of the monastic communities. See the Fraternity calendar.
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