Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel – Organized Tour Vs. Public Transportation

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Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel – Organized Tour Vs. Public Transportation

Mont-Saint-Michel is a little bit far from Paris and getting there is somewhat expensive, renting a car to drive to Mont-Saint-Michel will give you the most flexibility in terms of time and freedom to explore the area. However, if driving is not an option, you can either attend an organized tour that will get you there and return, or do-it-yourself with public transportation.

In this post, I am going to compare the options between the organized tour and public transportation, and you can decide which makes the most sense to you.



Organized Tour
It's always good to shop around for tours as some tour company may offer cheaper than others. From my research, Viator (owned by TripAdvisor) has a day trip tour departing from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel starting at $119 per person. The tour includes three options and the price will be based on the option you choose. The least expensive option will be only transportation and entry ticket to Mont-Saint-Michel. You are on your own to explore the area. No hotel pick-up and drop-off either.

The tour company that Viator uses is the PARISCityVision tour company. It's recommended that you compare between the two booking sites and see which one makes the most sense. However, I find that Viator offers free 24-hours cancellation and PARISCityVision's cancellation policy is unclear.

In short, if you are looking at this particular tour, you are likely to pay for at least $119 USD per person depending on the date for a very basic round-trip coach and an entry ticket. My search shows the least expensive for that tour is $137.

Use google search to search for promo code to use for Viator. You are likely to find at least 10% off the total tour's cost. If not, use cashback shopping portal for Viator's purchase as you will also earn cashback in return. Mr. Rebates is currently offering 5% cashback on Viator's purchase. If you have an American Express credit card, watch out for the Amex offer for Viator also. Unfortunately, this tour is not available on Expedia and therefore you cannot use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to purchase this tour. However, if you have the Barclay Arrival credit card, you can redeem its points towards this travel expense.

Public Transportation
As we all know, going with public transportation requires a do-it-yourself method to figure out the transportation means, schedules, tickets, etc.
  • To reach Mont-Saint-Michel from Paris, you have to take a train and then transfer to a bus. 
  • The public transportation is not very frequent and takes around 3-4 hours one-way.
  • The train segment options is either the Intercities trains or TGV high-speed train. The high-speed train costs more double. 
  • Early departure ticket from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel with Intercities train leaves around 7:30 AM and arrive around 11:30 AM with a bus connection only 10 minutes. The current cost is around $30 USD one-way. The TGV high-speed train takes lesser time with a bus connection 20 minutes, but the current cost is higher between $62 and $83 USD one-way. 
  • On the return, the early departure from Mont-Saint-Michel is around 10:00 AM arriving in Paris around 1:00 PM in the afternoon. The journey will be with a bus connection 20 minutes and then continue on with TGV high-speed train to Paris. The current cost varies based on the schedule between $80 USD and $92 USD. Intercities train is much cheaper and it currently costs around $30 USD, but the departure time from Mont-Saint-Michel is around 6:00 PM with a bus connection to train only 10 minutes, and arrive in Paris at 10:05 PM at night. 
  • Booking can be made at the station or online at https://en.oui.sncf/en/ - on the booking site:
    • Select one-way or return. 
    • From: Paris (all stations - FR)
    • To: Mont-Saint-Michel (FR) (Normand)
    • Pick the date and time for the outbound and return. 
    • Number of passengers and do a Search. 
    • Follow the booking interface to purchase the ticket. You have the options to obtain the ticket as an E-ticket for your mobile phone or print at home, have it delivered to your home, or collect ticket from the automatic ticket machine or ticket office at the station. Collecting the ticket at the station requires that you have the exact same card that you used to purchase the ticket. 

Conclusion

As you can see, joining an organized tour will cost you at least $119 USD per person based on the date that you will be doing the tour. However, it provides the convenience of getting to Mont-Saint-Michel and returning to Paris without having to deal with two transfers between train and bus, connection time with the public transportation method. The $11 USD entry ticket to the sight is also included in the tour's price. 

If you are going with the cheapest option with Intercities train public transportation, you'd pay around $60 USD round-trip and $11 USD for the entry ticket. The train and bus schedules with Intercities may not be too appealing. If you are going with a better schedule TGV high-speed train option, you'd pay between $142 and $175 round-trip plus $11 USD entry ticket. 

Ultimately, the choice is yours. The infrequent public transportation is a deal breaker for me. Although TGV high-speed train has better schedules, but the cost of just the ticket itself is more or about the same with joining an organized tour. With the organized tour, all I have to worry about is how to get to the tour company in the morning from the hotel to get on the coach that directly goes to Mont-Saint-Michel and where to take the bus directly back to Paris without having to deal with the transfers hassles. 
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PL

Posted by: PL

Hello there! People call me PL and I am a points blogger. Obsessed with using points and miles to elevate travel experiences to explore the world. Enjoy finer things in life and good food. I have a day job, this points blog is mainly my hobby and my contribution back to the points community. If you enjoy reading this post, please help me share it! If you enjoy what you read here, please make sure you subscribe or follow this blog on social media so that you will be notified when there's a new blog's post. I thank you for reading this blog. Your support means a lot to me and it is what makes this blog's work worthwhile. If I can be of any help, you can contact me: thepointslife at gmail dot com

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