Mont Saint Michel From Paris – The Essential Travel Guide

Le Mont Saint Michel © Philippe Berdalle

Le Mont Saint Michel looks like it should be the setting of a fantasy novel, or the background in a film, or maybe even the subject of an oil painting. The last thing it looks like is something that actually exists in real life – and yet it does. This popular destination in the Normandy region of France used to be connected to the mainland via a thin natural land bridge, which before modernization was covered at high tide and revealed at low tide. This inevitably bestowed upon the area a mystical quality, as it was neither fully an island nor a permanent part of the mainland: it was a tidal island.

Travelers flock to this site to enjoy the quaint village life and little shops that wind up towards the highest point on the island, atop which sits a monastery that dates to the 8th century.  This unusual little place makes for a refreshing day trip from Paris – a brief escape from the busyness of city life. Plus, it’s probably the only time you’ll be able to say you could drive right up to an island – no ferries or swimming required.

Le Mont Saint Michel © FaceMePLS

How to Travel to Mont Saint Michel by Train

When traveling from Paris to Mont Saint Michel by train, you have a few options. The closest rail station to the island is located in Pontorson, and so you can take a regional train from Paris. From Pontorson, you can take a bus to Mont Saint Michel (approximately 9 kilometers). There is also a wheelchair-accessible bus shuttle connection that is dependent on the train schedules, and it will arrive 300 meters from Mont Saint Michel. If you choose this option, you can purchase your train tickets in advance, but you will need to purchase your bus ticket locally.

Another option would be to take the high speed TGV train from the Paris Montparnasse station to Rennes, and then take a bus from Rennes to Mont Saint Michel (about 60 kilometers). Once you’ve arrived in the Rennes train station, take the escalator up from the TGV platform to the next level, and then follow the signs for the North Exit. You will also see signs for the Bus Station. Take the escalator down one level and exit into the plaza, where you will see the bus station to your right. You can purchase both your train and bus tickets in advance on our website with this option.

So What’s the Main Difference?

With the first option, you’ll make most of the trip by train. With the second option, you’ll have a longer bus ride.

Buying Your Rail Tickets

You are able to purchase point to point tickets for this entire route on our website. You will just need to search using “Paris” and “Le Mont St Michel,” and then select the options that appear in the drop-down menu when you begin to type. (Travel Tip: This is new! In the past, bus tickets always needed to be purchased locally, but if you search using the Mont St Michel option, your bus ticket will now be included. This is only for the Paris to Rennes to Mont St, Michel option, not the Paris to Pontorson to Mont St. Michel).

To travel to Pontorson instead of Rennes, search using “Paris” and “Pontorson” instead to purchase your train tickets. Once you arrive in Pontorson, you can purchase your bus tickets at the station.

Traveling With a Rail Pass

If you’re traveling with a France Rail Pass and you’d like to take the Paris – Rennes – Mont St. Michel option, you can purchase a passholder reservation supplement that will cover the whole route. Just head over to the passholder reservations page and do two searches: first, a search for “Paris” to “Rennes,” and then a search for “Rennes” to  “Le Mont St Michel.”

If you’re instead traveling with a Eurail pass that includes France as one of the countries, you will need to purchase a passholder reservation supplement from Paris to either Pontorson or Rennes, and then you can purchase bus tickets once you arrive at the station. The bus ticket is only covered if you have a France Rail Pass, not a Eurail brand pass.

Tip: If you’re leaving from Paris and want a route that does not require passholder reservations, try a train from Paris to Lison, and then a train from Lison to Pontorson. This journey is about 30 minutes longer than the alternatives.  For these trains, you can simply board with your rail pass and take any open seat.  However, this route is not offered on a daily basis, so make sure to check that this is available for the day that you want to travel.

Hopefully we’ve given you a head start on planning your day trips out of Paris. If you have any further questions, feel free to send us an e-mail from the Rail Europe website, ask us a question on Facebook or Twitter, or check out our frequently updated FAQ page. Happy traveling!

About the Author


Jackie is a freelance writer from Los Angeles currently living in Brooklyn. She worked as a travel consultant at Rail Europe for two years before switching over to Marketing & Community Manager (focusing on social media) in June 2014. In her free time Jackie travels whenever possible & maintains a personal travel blog at


  1. grace

    how much coast the extra things like food, water or things to remember the visit?

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  2. samanthapie

    This was really helpful. Thank you. Quick question, time difference between the TGV Rennes and regional train to get there and cost? ?? Thanks again!

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  3. Guest

    Really helpful.Tanhs endeed.

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  4. Vera Lucia Magalhaes

    Thanks endeed.Really helpful!

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  5. Pol Dej

    Excellent article.) Normandy region is very rich in tourist attractions, small account of the journey to Normandy … A bit academic, but generally informative. And nice picture))

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  6. Bev - Sydney - Australia

    How long does the dy trip take by regional train from Paris to Pontorson then bus to Mont St Michel and return to Paris ?? Planning o go in May 2014…. Thanking you.

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  7. Zhanyi

    I’m doing a one day trip from Paris and back on a Sunday in April. Will there be limited trains/buses on Sundays?

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  8. Max Shelley

    We booked a Mont St. Michel tour from We took the train to Rennes and were met by their guide with a mini-bus. Kinda the best of both worlds.

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  9. Adriana

    Great info! I used your links and was very easy to get my train and bus ticket. Thanks a lot!!

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  10. joseph ferguson

    How can you possibly publish information on the Paris to Mont St. Michel trip WITHOUT GIVING THE TIME FOR EACH METHOD OF TRAVEL??? Makes absolutely no sense.

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  11. Bob

    And from what Paris station does the Pontorson train leave?

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  12. Isabella

    @Bob: Gare Montparnasse

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    • Lamria

      Ahhh, Notre-Dame-sous-Terre On peut la visiter l e9te9, jluliet-aofbt lors des visites nocturnes du Mont. Magnifique ! Sinon, le reste de l anne9e, il faut faire la visite des Monuments Historiques avec un guide. Ou alors, avoir le cle9 Impossible de pre9voir pour le moment, donc dans le doute, je re9pondrai que la visite n est pas possible telle qu elle est de9crite dans le livre. Reste le dimanche matin avec un guide

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  13. diana dunning

    My husband & I would like to fly from US to Paris & then from Paris to Mont St Michel. We would like to stay overnight in Mont St Michel & arrange a day tour of the area & then return to Paris the next day. We are not sure what would be the best transportation options & how to hook up with a day tour. Thanks for your assistance.

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    • Jackie

      Diana, have you completed your trip to Paris? I’m planning one that departs in mid November. I want to do a similar overnight stay at Monte St Michel. Can you share your transportation route and hotel stay? What would you do the same or differently? Love to hear. Thanks!

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  14. Darleen Landry

    WE will be staying in Paris and would like to know what train is the fastest to La Mont St Michel for a day trip .We would leave early and return late in the afternoon same day Tues Sept 15th,2015

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  15. Mark C.

    We used to travel to Mont St. Michel. They were great.

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  16. Sasa

    How to Travel to Mont Saint Michel by Train\r\n”,”When traveling from Paris to Mont Saint Michel by train, you have a few options. The closest rail station to the island is located in Pontorson, and so you can take a regional train from Paris.

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  17. eo

    This article seems to be dated or incorrect (or at best incomplete) about whether the Rennes bus is covered by the France Rail Pass. This article says it’s covered but Rick Steves France 2016 says “not covered by rail pass” (though the website he cites just says “NB: Eurail-pass tickets are not accepted”, which doesn’t necessary exclude the France Rail Pass).

    The Rail Europe website is confusing because for a France Rail Pass holder it says “Non Reservable”, though the website is still willing to sell a reservation for $18 (which is more expensive than just buying a ticket outright from SNCF or for 15 EUR at the current 1.10 exchange rate).

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    • eo

      I emailed the bus company to ask if the France Pass was valid. They basically replied with “Eurail-pass tickets are not accepted in our bus”, which I’ll take to mean that no type of pass.

      The only difference between RailEurope’s “seat reservation” vs buying an actual ticket (either option costs $18) is 90% vs 100% refundability. However, since RailEurope charges various refund fees (starting with a base 7% admin fee) it’s still cheaper and more straightforward to buy a 15 euro ticket (with a straight 90% refundability) from SNCF/captaintrain (or just pay 15 euro on bus).

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