Dating back to the 6th century, Mont Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Normandy, France. Built on a tidal island it has been used as a strategic fortification and since the 8th century the site of the monastery for which it is today named. The Benedictine abbey that stands there today is dedicated archangel St Michael and was built between the 11th and 16th centuries.
You can not drive into Mont Saint-Michel itself (streets are too narrow and they want to preserve the place). A few kilometres from the walled town is a big parking lot, you either walk or catch a shuttle bus from there. On my visit in May 2012 I walked there and took the bus back.
I travelled to Mont Saint-Michel on a whim late in the afternoon of a day visiting D-Day sights on the Normandy beaches. It’s one of those places you just have to see! It was about a 1.5 hour drive to the parking lot and by the time I made it to the city the shops were mostly closed, the streets near empty and tours of the monastery well and truly over.
In some way my late arrival made this trip better. It was quiet and I could just enjoy the sights and scenery on those quiet cobblestone streets. A beautiful place (even with all the construction and preservation going on).