Leaving Your Trip from Pontorson
(the train station for Mont-St.-Michel)

This page offers help (concrete or informational) on leaving your trip.  Topics include...

  1. Where you Leave Your Trip (see immediately below)
  2. Our “Access Packages,” designed to help you to do so.
  3. Suggestions on how to time your ongoing travel, whether you are having us arrange it, or doing it yourself.
  4. Service information regarding train travel from your trip end location.
  5. Suggested post-trip visits, especially when these are not geographically obvious, but are rendered economical and convenient by direct rail connections.
  6. Hopefully helpful hints for those setting up their own travel from the trip.

If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.


1. WHERE and WHEN Do You Leave Your Trip?

Our trip disbands at the train station for the Mont-St.-Michel (Pontorson), at the end of Saturday afternoon.  We suggest spending the night on the Mont.  But you may instead travel directly to Paris, if you prefer.


If you wish to arrange your own ongoing travel (in other words, you do not want to set up any ongoing travel arrangements through us), a couple of hints regarding ongoing travel are offered at the bottom of this page.  Otherwise...


2. Our ACCESS PACKAGES
as of March 21, 2015

Our “Access Package” involves Saturday night actually on the Mont, a truly special experience, even for the blasé traveller.  Dinner, breakfast, and a Sunday train back to Paris are all included.
Editorial:  as you can imagine, you are not the only one who wants to spend the night on the Mont-St.-Michel.   And the laws of supply and demand dictate that, on a summer Saturday, when the only palatable way to see the Mont is after the tour bus crowds leave, the few, small, hotel rooms actually on the rock are at a premium.   Across the causeway, 30 minutes away on foot, are hotels that are half the price, and may even offer larger rooms.  But... 

There is something magical about being on the rock after dinner, the tourists gone for the day, and watching the last rays of the setting sun over the water.   You have come a long way, and spent a lot of money to get here.   What’s another few pengo for an overpriced hotel room?


Base (Starting) Access Package Price:  199€.
To see what this means in your currency, look here:  http://www.bluemarble.org/CurrencyConv.html


Availability is not guaranteed until booked.  You can imagine how easy it is to score rooms on the Mont-St.-Michel on a Saturday night.  To avoid disappointment, book a month ago. 

Included:

  • Transfer from Pontorson to Mont St-Michel on Saturday afternoon.
    Depending on the trip configuration, it may be possible to go there by bicycle.
  • A Saturday night hotel on the Mont, based on shared occupancy, in a little inn that has been in the same family for 4 generations.
  • Dinner and breakfast on the Mont.
  • Train tickets from a local rail station to either Paris or Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Sunday.
    Tickets are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered (see below for extra cost first class and / or flexible tickets).
  • Seat reservations on trains which require them.
  • All taxes, booking or agency charges, baggage charges.
    If you have one of our baggage services, it includes the cost of transferring your luggage from our last night’s stop in Dinard / St.-Malo to either the Pontorson railway station, or to the hotel on the Mt.-St.-Michel, depending on where the bikes are to be returned.

The Sunday bus from the Mont to the local train station is not included, as it is a local country bus for which tickets cannot be pre-purchased.  Price varies slightly, as buses go to different regional stations to connect with different trains, but 12€ is the most you can spend.


Prices are in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price.
For a general discussion of train upgrades, see here.  Topics include the relative comfort of first versus second class, and different types of accommodation available on overnight trains.

  • Tickets to London.  Add 79€ if you are also purchasing tickets from London at the start of your trip, 109€ if not, or if you prefer a changeable ticket (in 1st cl., add 119€ or 159€; 1st class tickets include meal service).
  • First class train tickets (in lieu of 2nd class) on the train to Paris or CDG:  +26€, +19€ discount rate (when available), +13€ child under 12.
  • Flexible (modifiable) tickets:  +24€.
    These tickets are exchangeable at any station, on a space-available basis, at any time until the train’s departure, for free if the exchange is made prior to the date of travel, or for 10€ on the date of travel.  Cost of the exchange is 10€ more if you make it through us, as opposed to standing in line at the station yourself (but we know some tricks to get on trains that are supposedly “sold out”).  Tickets are refundable less 20%, provided they are turned in at a station before the train’s departure.  Note that the discount fares are rarely available on the date of travel, so, if your plans involve a new train, a step-up fare is generally required.
  • Tickets on the Paris airport train, to Charles de Gaulle or Orly from anywhere in the city.  Follow this link for details.
  • Single room on the Mont:  +48€.

Alternate Arrangements, in lieu of our usual packages (subject to availability)
Prices are complete (in other words, they are not in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price)

  • Train direct to Paris on Saturday evening:  65€
    Price subject to availability.


3.  TIMING Your Trip

No choice if you are leaving Pontorson on Saturday:  see “Service Information,” next chapter. 

If you go on Sunday, instead, you may leave at any time.  But the Mont gets unpleasantly crowded early, especially on a summer weekend.  By 11a, you will be clawing to get off.


4.  Service Information
Schedules are approximate – exact timetables can be consulted at
http://www.raileurope.com/index.html.
Best trains are mentioned.  Others are slower or have multiple connections.

  • To Paris:  5:45p on Saturday, arrive Paris at 10p.
    Sunday services start at 9:30a, and take 4 hours.  The 11:30a departure is timed appropriate to a leisurely morning / pre-crowd stroll. 
  • To Charles de Gaulle Airport:  depart the Mont at 9:30a, arrive the airport at 2:15p. 
    This is not a schedule compatible with most trans-Atlantic flights, though it works for a few (Air France has a few planes that are late enough, to New York JFK, Washington DC, Montreal...).  It also works for some Asia and Africa-bound planes.  If you are flying to North America on Sunday, you must otherwise leave Brittany on Saturday, spending the night in Paris, or at the airport.  The only alternative to catch an earlier flight is an expensive Sunday 7a taxi (count 50€) to a more distant rail station, for a 1:15p airport arrival.  Or a still-more-expensive 6a taxi to an even-more-distant station (count 120€) for a noon arrival.
  • To London:  depart the Mont at 9:30a, arrive London at 4:30p, via Paris. 
    Other routes are possible, one involving a ferry crossing from St.-Malo or Caen to Portsmouth.  In the first case, however, an expensive transfer must be organized to have you at the port in time for a 10:30a sailing.  In the second, the boat does not sail from Caen until late afternoon, and Portmouth arrival is not until 21h15 (9:15p), complicating ongoing travel.


5.  Suggested POST-TRIP VISITS

St.-Malo.  A pretty and interesting walled town / Breton port, through which you will have passed on the trip, without really having time for a meaningful visit.  Spend Sunday night there, and catch an early train to CDG for a Monday flight?


6.  Hints on TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY After the Trip
Guests subscribing to an “Access Package” need not read this section.

See also “Timing Your Trip” and “Service Information,” above, as either of these may additionally help.

We gladly provide travel consulting (schedule or routing information) concerning post-trip individual travel.  In particular, we have invested a great deal to become railway experts.  Our service fees are reasonable:  a 20€ charge for all but the most complex projects – or the most simple (for instance, only a 10€ charge applies if the service is limited to the preparation of a routine rail ticket).  You will generally find them well-justified by the time they will save you in research, standing on line, overpaying for your tickets, or all three.

But, for some, this type of research is fun.  So, here are some hints, intended to start off hardened “do-it-yourselfers.”

Trains.  Schedules for all routes can be consulted on this web site:
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm

There are three routes back to civilization from the Mont-St.-Michel, via Dol, Rennes, or Granville.  Pretty much all roads lead through Paris.  Exceptions: 
- There are ferry services direct from the Breton and Norman coasts to the British Isles and to Ireland.
- The cheapest route to the Loire Valley, though not always the quickest, is via Le Mans and Tours.

Planes.  Paris.  There is an airport in Rennes, but no planes go there. 
Ryanair serves a little airport in Dinard, 20 minutes / 30€ by taxi from the St.-Malo station.  But getting to the St.-Malo station on Sunday morning involves a 50€ taxi plus a train...  earliest arrival 10:30a.  Or a 150€ taxi all the way to the airport...


If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.

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