Avranches has an intriguing history and is home to the extraordinary Mont Saint-Michel, which is a Disney-esque island full of quaint churches and institutions. There is also a magnificent garden and a museum with medieval French manuscripts. Explore the charming commune on foot to get a better understanding of its place in history and to see its scenic attractions.
You can see Mont Saint-Michel in the distance, looming over the commune. Make your way to the exceptional island, a little to the west of Avranches. Capture photos of the dramatic structures atop the island, which stands at the mouth of the Couesnon River in the English Channel. Learn about its strategic history as a protective base for Normandy and later as a prison. Climb up to the top of the mountain to see its religious structures. You can walk out to the island during low tide.
Visit the Museum of Manuscripts of Mont Saint-Michel, which is in the center of Avranches. The fantastic collection is illuminated and preserved, with explanations that put each exhibit into context.
Amble through Avranches’ quaint streets to see the small shops and cafés. Sit at a restaurant to try the local seafood specialties, such as oysters, scallops and lobster. The region is famous for its duck and poultry and creamy dishes.
Take a look around the 19th-century Notre Dame des Champs and admire its Gothic Revival design. It replaced an earlier cathedral, which was destroyed. Venture inside the Saint-Gervais Church to see the alleged skull of Saint Aubert, who founded Mont Saint-Michel in the 8th century.
The commune is in the Manche part of the Normandy region in the northwest of France. The car journey 208 miles (335 kilometers) west from Paris should take between 3 and 4 hours. The capital city is home to the nearest major airport. Popular nearby destinations include Saint-Malo, Rennes and Saint-Brieuc.
Avranches is an ideal town to try some of Normandy’s famed oysters with a view of a historic island mountain.
Natural Parks, Monuments and Historical Buildings
Get a close look at the famous skull of St. Aubert, and the hole where the archangel Michael’s finger pierced it.
Step back in time and learn more about local history with a stop at Château d'Avranches in Avranches. Discover the countryside and local cheese shops in this trendy area.
Enjoy a stop at Place Patton, a landmark worth seeing in Avranches. Discover the countryside and local cheese shops in this quaint area.