Rennes to Mont St Michel overnight

Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 12:40 PM
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Rennes to Mont St Michel overnight

I’ve previously posted about wanting to visit Mont St Michel and received advice about the non-feasibility of it given I am not otherwise visiting Normandy and the only option at the time appeared to be a very lengthy day trip from Paris and was otherwise advised to see it overnight.

I have had an idea to fly to Rennes (we will be coming from Lyon), hiring a car and driving in the afternoon to MSM, seeing it in the late afternoon and at night (likely having our dinner there), stay at the nearby Mercure overnight and then return to MSM in the morning.

We will then drive to Rennes in the afternoon to drop the hire car off and catch the train to Paris.

From what I’ve tinkered around with, this seems to be an easier and more logistical plan to see MSM than other options I’ve investigated.

I thought I’d float this on the forum and see if perhaps there are any better alternatives or if this is the best way to go?
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 05:53 PM
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We based in Rennes a few years back and drove to see MSM (short day trip, we were back in Rennes in the afternoon). It worked pretty well for us logistically, it's not far from Rennes. Your idea would allow you to see it at night and from the mainland as well. I assume there is parking at your hotel (I don't know it), otherwise the public parking lot for MSM is a good distance away, accessible by free shuttle bus.

MSM kept us for a longish half-day but we were travelling with a child and I think you could spend longer if travelling with other adults . It's not just the monastery there, there is a whole thriving community of tourist shops and restaurants to investigate, and thousands of steps. You can stay on the island also, there are hotels too. If you are taken with the stripey Breton shirts for sale there, as I was, there is a factory shop / outlet on the road into the area (I think the brand is Saint James). We actually did stop to look at the factory shop, but didn't buy anything - somehow the shirts were charming on MSM but less so in the factory. It says so much about display, doesn't it? We also found souvenirs to be not too expensive and quite charming - some coasters for a friend cost us about EUR6.00.

Have a good trip, I think your idea will work out just fine.

Lavandula

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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 05:57 PM
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Yes, there is parking at the Mercure. Stayed there last month. Shuttle bus stops both ways steps from the hotel.

If you stay at one of the hotels inside the gates, you have to enter from the road on the west side, and enter a code that your hotel will send you by email a day or two before your arrival. You pay the same 15 euro fee that daytrippers pay to park when you leave.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
We based in Rennes a few years back and drove to see MSM (short day trip, we were back in Rennes in the afternoon). It worked pretty well for us logistically, it's not far from Rennes. Your idea would allow you to see it at night and from the mainland as well. I assume there is parking at your hotel (I don't know it), otherwise the public parking lot for MSM is a good distance away, accessible by free shuttle bus.
I believe there is parking at the Mercure from which the MSM car park is a 10 minute walk so I anticipate we would walk to the car park and then take the shuttle bus. I was thinking to stay at MSM but from what I have read online, the Mercure rates better (and saves having to lug our suitcases up and down all the stairs).

Since you stayed in Rennes, if I can ask – did you prefer Rennes to its surrounds (i.e. Dinan and Saint-Malo)? As we will aim to catch an evening train into Paris, we are thinking that if we happen to finish at MSM earlier in the day we will simply return to Rennes for a few hours or possibly venture to Saint-Malo or Dinan on the way back.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by twk View Post
Yes, there is parking at the Mercure. Stayed there last month. Shuttle bus stops both ways steps from the hotel.

If you stay at one of the hotels inside the gates, you have to enter from the road on the west side, and enter a code that your hotel will send you by email a day or two before your arrival. You pay the same 15 euro fee that daytrippers pay to park when you leave.
I didn't realise the shuttle actually stops right near the hotel, that'll be great! Have you stayed at MSM? From what I have heard the Mercure is higher rated though if any of the hotels inside MSM are on par with it I'd be happy to stay there (providing there aren't dozens if not hundreds of steps to drag luggage up, which I suspect is going to be impossible to avoid).
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by victoriainwanderland View Post
I believe there is parking at the Mercure from which the MSM car park is a 10 minute walk so I anticipate we would walk to the car park and then take the shuttle bus. I was thinking to stay at MSM but from what I have read online, the Mercure rates better (and saves having to lug our suitcases up and down all the stairs).

Since you stayed in Rennes, if I can ask – did you prefer Rennes to its surrounds (i.e. Dinan and Saint-Malo)? As we will aim to catch an evening train into Paris, we are thinking that if we happen to finish at MSM earlier in the day we will simply return to Rennes for a few hours or possibly venture to Saint-Malo or Dinan on the way back.
Hi Victoria, I have never been to Dinan or Saint-Malo so I can't comment. We were a few days in Rennes and we drove down from the north and saw Fougères on the way down (which is good, by the way, worth seeing). Rennes is pleasant and we liked it but it's not especially exciting as towns go, I don't want to exaggerate its importance. It does have a medieval core, and some half-timbered houses, some of which are decaying badly. We especially liked the covered market hall. We were also there for the July sales so we hit up the shops, which we didn't really do anywhere else. A town of a decent size. We stayed in the Adagio aparthotel there and did self-catering, but had one or two pleasant (Breton) meals out in the town, and plenty of gelato to combat the heatwave. And best of all, we didn't have to take an autoroute to MSM, we drove on back roads and it was very picturesque. I hate busy roads and would take back roads everywhere if it were not so impractical.

I don't know if any of that is helpful but maybe someone else can comment on Dinan and Saint-Malo. We covered a lot of ground in that trip and didn't have a lot of time to see Brittany so we will definitely go back.

Lavandula
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 08:53 PM
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Stay in Rennes. One of our favorite cities in France. Dinan is nice - but small. Not a fan of St Malo. Been to all these places 4-6 times. Rennes gives you the most flexibility. Don't know if you have my Brittany/Normandy itinerary - but here it is. See attached.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 10:17 PM
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Stayed at the Mercure for my visit, no elevator so if you have luggage ask for a room on the ground floor. Parking is convenient in front of the hotel and the shuttle to MSM is right across the street.

I wasn’t a big fan of Rennes, it would be ok for a night or two. I liked Dinan and St. Malo much better.

If you have a chance, the oysters in Cancale are terrific!

Last edited by joannyc; Jul 3rd, 2022 at 10:20 PM.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 10:52 PM
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We stayed in Dinan for several nights 7 years ago. I really liked it with it’s ancient buildings. We actually stayed in a hotel in the centre of town which was in a very historic building. We walked down the hill to the port area one day and went on a boat up the river. It has an old cathedral and a castle to look through and walls you can partly walk around.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 11:08 PM
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Honestly, I wouldn't bother with MSM but if you must then please take the train rather than flying as it is less polluting and not much longer if any timewise. There is I believe a direct TGV from Lyon to Rennes.

Please people do not automatically hop on a plane if there is a train. Think of the environment, and your children's futures.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Honestly, I wouldn't bother with MSM but if you must then please take the train rather than flying as it is less polluting and not much longer if any timewise. There is I believe a direct TGV from Lyon to Rennes.

Please people do not automatically hop on a plane if there is a train. Think of the environment, and your children's futures.
Respectfully I don't have the time to travel the additional 5-6 hours that the train will require, and unfortunately with the 24 hours it will take me purely to reach the European continent, I imagine the one hour flight to Rennes will be the least polluting flight of the entire journey. Let's keep this forum on topic and not deviate into guilting myself or anyone else about their travels and modes of transport.
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Old Jul 4th, 2022, 07:11 AM
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Actually, hetismij2 is stating the intentions of the French government. They are in the process of eliminating flights where train service is also available. Don't know if it will effect your trip - but it might. There is a TGV that takes 3 3/4 hrs and a flight that takes 1 hr 20 mins. IMO, the flight will consume just as much time as the train trip. The train trip will be more scenic.

Have you heard about all the current horror stories involved in air travel?

Stu Dudley
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Old Jul 4th, 2022, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by victoriainwanderland View Post
I believe there is parking at the Mercure from which the MSM car park is a 10 minute walk so I anticipate we would walk to the car park and then take the shuttle bus. I was thinking to stay at MSM but from what I have read online, the Mercure rates better (and saves having to lug our suitcases up and down all the stairs).

Since you stayed in Rennes, if I can ask – did you prefer Rennes to its surrounds (i.e. Dinan and Saint-Malo)? As we will aim to catch an evening train into Paris, we are thinking that if we happen to finish at MSM earlier in the day we will simply return to Rennes for a few hours or possibly venture to Saint-Malo or Dinan on the way back.
The shuttle bus that runs from the parking lot stops just about 100 yards from the front door of the Mercure on the way up to the bridge, and again on the way back.
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Old Jul 4th, 2022, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
,
Have you heard about all the current horror stories involved in air travel?

Stu Dudley
The journey from Lyon - Rennes - MSM - Paris will shave off a significant amount of time compared to if we did MSM as a day trip from Paris.

And no, I have not heard the ‘horror stories’ and as someone who is very scared of flying and trying to manage that fear in order to make this trip I would rather not discuss any such things, thanks (if you are referring to cancellations please don’t use the type of language as in your last sentence [“horror stories”] - without context can be potentially triggering for someone like myself).

Last edited by victoriainwanderland; Jul 4th, 2022 at 11:56 AM.
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Old Jul 5th, 2022, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Honestly, I wouldn't bother with MSM.
Wow! SMH!
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Old Jul 5th, 2022, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by joannyc View Post
Wow! SMH!
I never understand comments like this on these kind of threads - I fully appreciate the feedback where opinions are sought on whether something is worthwhile but on a post like this where I’ve specified that we want to visit and have gone out of our way to make it work, I don’t understand why people make a point of these type of comments - like thanks, I’m going to suddenly change my plans to not go to this place high up on my list because you won’t bother.
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Old Jul 5th, 2022, 10:28 AM
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Dinan is more picture perfect than Rennes. For me Dinan was a great daytrip from Rennes - - and although Rennes is not spectacular, it is more a "lovely French experience" sort of city. It has little areas of ancient charm, and a more modern city center that is simply pleasant, with good strolls; good food with a Breton accent - - but the best thing was easy ambiance. All the salespeople in shops and places were so effusively kind, and - - get this - - walking down any street in the town everybody who came past the other way said 'bonjour'. A genuinely feel-good city.
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