My love affair with Mont St Michel started when I picked up a random pamphlet at a travelmart a long time ago.
The photo of the castle in an island, akin to the setting of the Disney film, “Tangled” piqued my curiosity and made me dream to one day visit the island.
I almost shelved that dream but opportunity came when I was given the chance to stay in Paris for a couple of days. It was at this moment that I availed a tour that included the famous Mont St. Michel. Imagine that? I will finally be able to witness with my own eyes the one-of-a-kind island that inspired the Disney movie Tangled!
For the unfamiliar, Mont St Michel is a medieval city, a castle and an island community located between Normandy and Brittany.
Before I begin to narrate my journey, I would like to give a big thank you to my tour handler, Profil Holidays for offering this fantastic inclusion in their Paris tour itinerary. You have truly made my trip memorable and my inner child happy for finally being able to witness the castle that inspired the movie Tangled.
As soon as I set foot inside the walls of the Mont St. Michel, I was greeted by a fortified courtyard where the Burghers guardroom was located, and is currently a tourist information office. Then I stumbled upon a narrow, winding, cobbled street—the Grand Rue lined up with medieval houses and shops.
The experience of traversing this street felt I was transported to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley.
Just by this very second, I already felt chills down my spine as it felt like I left my actual world to travel in the past.
It felt like I was walking back in time towards a medieval era, and if you are a fan of Harry Potter then you will definitely feel like you are in a wizarding alley!
The street goes all the way towards the Grand Degre, known to be the iconic stairs leading towards the Abbey. It is a daunting climb because of how steep the stairs were, considering that it was 300+ steps to reach the top. The secret of not being too exhausted by the walk? You will be under a spell – the beauty of the Mont St Michel captivates your attention all throughout.
The Benedictine Abbey is the main attraction of the island. I had an option of taking a guided tour of the Abbey but I decided to explore it on my own (which I regretted later on). I got to discover more about this impressive structure with its cloisters, galleries supported by endless rows of columns, the refectory where the monks used to gather for their silent meal and lastly, the giant wheel that was used to hoist food to the prisoners.
A little fun fact: back in the days, the Abbey was known to be a prison.
As soon as I completed my tour, I took a walk along the ramparts where I was greeted with magnificent views of the countryside and the mudflats below.
Aside from the Abbey, there are still many things to see in the island like museums, churches, shops, hotels and restaurants. And if you’re daring enough, try walking barefoot around the dry mudflats when it’s low tide. However, this must be done with an expert guide or you’ll end up getting stranded. Apart from the patches of treacherous quicksands , the tides can rise up quickly and can become extremely dangerous.
Speaking of restaurants, Mont Saint Michel is famous for crepes and omelettes. The most famous is La Mere Poulard which has been serving up giant soufflé omelets since the 1800s .
Mont St Michel is an island that is definitely worth the visit. There aren’t enough words to describe the beauty of this destination. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t even describe it entirely because it is a place wherein its beauty and uniqueness can only be understood when you visit it.
After the COVID-19 Pandemic, I highly suggest everyone to take time during their trip in France to make a stop (or if you are willing, you can stay the night) at the Mont St. Michel. Travel back in time on a medieval island surrounded by tides and time, you will forget that you are in the year of 2021.