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  • Alicia at Evening Star Travel

Is Mont Saint-Michel Overhyped?!?

Find out more about what happened on our post-river cruise extension


Our recent travels took us from a beautiful serene river cruise on the Seine to the iconic Mont Saint-Michel, a location we had anticipated since we had first booked this trip. Disembarking from our Normandy river cruise with Avalon waterways, a sense of excitement filled us as we embarked on the next leg of our journey.




We had a three-night extension booked through Avalon after disembarking our river cruise. Avalon Waterways' parent brand is Globus, an industry leader in bus touring. Globus oversees all of Avalon's extensions, and we were fortunate to have a fantastic tour director guiding us throughout the land tour.


Our adventure began with a bus ride to Mont Saint-Michel. The town itself is split into two parts: one on the tidal island and the other on the mainland. We stayed at Relais Saint-Michel, the closest hotel to the tidal island, providing us with convenient access to Mont Saint-Michel.


To reach Mont Saint-Michel, we took a transit bus from our hotel over the bridge to the entrance of the island. Once inside, we explored the charming town, where the Abbey occupies only the top part of the island. The rest of the area is a maze of streets, shops, restaurants, mini-hotels, and bed and breakfasts. Now, while delightful most of the time, however, at the time we visited it was very crowded and busy.





We had some free time upon entering the town to grab a bite and explore before our scheduled tour. However, this part was somewhat disorganized, as the restaurants were bustling with tourists, making it challenging to find a place to eat. At the specified time, we met our tour director and navigated through narrow, crowded streets and numerous stairs to reach the Abbey. The Abbey itself was breathtaking, and learning about its history and the efforts involved in its construction was fascinating. Yet, the overwhelming crowds and narrow passageways made it feel like we were being herded through the rooms, leaving little time to truly absorb the atmosphere.






After the tour, we had free time to make our way back to the hotel. We opted to walk, which was manageable. However, we were disappointed to find that trees blocked the view of Mont Saint-Michel from our hotel room. We wondered if it was an intentional joke by the landowner!



Can you see it behind the trees? It would have been a perfect view if those were not there!

The rooms at Relais Saint-Michel were spacious, but the furniture showed signs of wear and tear. Both dinner and breakfast were underwhelming, and no one in our group was particularly impressed with the hotel. We provided feedback to Globus, and it appears that they no longer use this hotel in their post-cruise extension anymore, although a visit to the monastery is still included as a day trip.


Despite some challenges, the evening turned out to be perfect, and I captured some beautiful shots of the island from a small bridge near the hotel. This bridge, recently engineered to control the water and tides for Mont Saint-Michel, is a marvel of modern engineering. If you have the chance, I recommend watching a documentary or reading about it—it's quite fascinating.





In hindsight, we may not have been in the best frame of mind to visit this incredible location. We were tired, weary of crowds, and the unimpressive hotel compounded our fatigue. Nonetheless, Mont Saint-Michel remains a stunning abbey on a beautiful island, and it’s worth considering these factors if you plan to visit.


 

To book your next dream vacation - when the time is right to travel - reach out to me through email at Alicia@EveningStarTravel.ca, or by calling 587 772 2525. I am located in Sherwood Park, Alberta (a suburb of Edmonton), and am a Travel Advisor specializing in River Cruising, Beach Escapes, and Custom Vacations. I am the owner/operator of Evening Star Travel, and I book travel for clients all across Canada.

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