Saturday, March 5, 2016

(Europe Sep 2015) Day 5: Visit Mont St Michel. Stay at St Malo

Day 5 (7 Sep 2015): Visit Mont St Michel. Stay St Malo

This day's breakdown:
0750-0804 St Malo to Dol-de-Bretagne via train (E5.30 bought over the counter at St Malo station)
Walk around Dol-de-Bretagne and find breakfast while waiting for train transfer
0938-0953 Dol-de-Bretagne to Pontorson via train (E4.80 Also bought over counter at St Malo station)
1010-1028 Pontorson to Mont St Michel via bus from just outside Pontorson train station (E3.20)
Visit Mont St Michel + lunch
1545-1605 Mont St Michel to Pontorson via bus (E3.20)
1614-1630 Pontorson to Dol-de-Bretagne via train (E4.80)
1717-1734 Dol-de-Bretagne to St Malo via train (E5.30)
Walked to Police station at St Malo to make police report for the stolen bag
Bought dinner from a diner near hotel to bring back to our hotel room to eat
Relaxed in the hotel room while watching shows on my tablet.

Originally, we were still contemplating as to whether to go to Mont St Michel on this day, since I really had no mood to do anything after losing my bear the previous day.

But as the hubby rationalized, since we've already made it here, might as well go Mont St Michel since it wasn't too far.

And so, we decided to go to Mont St Michel as planned.

Let me say this, it was not easy planning the train routes to Mont St Michel. 

Here are some routes (that I know of) to get from Paris to Mont St Michel: 
*please do check the train timings online when u are planning your train journey, because the trains on these routes have really extremely infrequent departure timings. 
For example, from Dol-de-Bretagne to Pontorson, there are usually only 2 to 4 train departures daily (depending on the day of the week).

(Route 1) 
1) Paris's Gare Montparnasse to either Rennes or Dol-de-Bretagne via TGV train (it's usually cheaper to book online 3 months in advanced as the prices usually goes up when it's closer to the date of travel) 
2A) Rennes or Dol-de-Bretagne to Pontorson via TER train (can either book online, or buy over the counter at train stations). And then Pontorson station to Mont St Michel via 10mins bus (Pontorson to Mont St Michel bus website).
2B) Rennes or Dol-de-Bretagne to drop-off point near Tourist Information Centre across from Mont St Michel via bus (bus website) and then free bus shuttle from outside Tourist Information Centre to Mont St Michel.

(Route 2)
1) Paris's Gare St Lazare to Caen via IC train 
2) Caen to Pontorson via TER train
3) Pontorson to Mont St Michel via bus (Pontorson to Mont St Michel bus website).

Although there are a few websites where u can buy train tickets, I bought mine from captaintrain website (nope, this is not an advertisement, just purely sharing my own experience).

And so, here are the pics from this day.

Early morning at St Malo station's train platform

We had to validate our train tickets at machines like these before boarding the train. Just insert the train ticket into the machine to get it stamped.  You can find these at train platforms.

Our train from St Malo to Dol-de-Bretagne. I recall there's toilet in the train, not too sure if they are available to use or locked.

After a short journey, we arrived at Dol-de-Bretagne station. 
We have quite some time here to spend until we have to catch our next train to Pontorson.

Dol-de-Bretagne station.
 Since there's nothing much at the train station itself (there's a small cafe at a small hotel next to the station though) so we took a short 10mins walk to the town at Dol-de-Bretagne.

 Since it was still quite early in the morning, so nearly all of the shops were closed.

We followed the smell with our noses, and found this small shop selling breakfast.  
Since the owner speaks no English, and my hubby's knowledge of French is rusty from years of non-usage, therefore we spent quite awhile trying to understand the French menu and placing breakfast order.

What he bought. Some sort of ham and cheese baguette.  Looks simple, but he enjoyed it alot though.

Back to Dol-de-Bretagne station.

After another short train ride, we arrived at Pontorson station.

Pontorson station
Toilette (chargeable) outside Pontorson station

The bus which we took from Pontorson station to Mont St Michel
 Ever since a few years ago where coaches and cars were banned from driving across the bay to Mont St Michel itself (to preserve the bay area), so here are some ways (that I know of) of reaching Mont St Michel itself.
1) The bus that runs from Pontorson station to Mont St Michel (E3.20)
2) Shuttle buses "Passeur" from the Tourist Information Centre at the town across the bay to Mont St Michel (Free)

Also, please note that at the time of this blog entry posting, they have suspended locker services at the Tourist information Centre due to increased security level in France. 
Inside Pontorson train station.

Some random sights during our short bus journey to Mont St Michel:

First view of Mont St Michel (ok, gonna shorten this to "MSM" for the rest of the blog entry)
 We passed by this grey bus, which is the free shuttle service "Passeur" that runs between the Tourist Information Centre and MSM.

Main entrance to MSM

Bear in mind that MSM is not a large place, and that there are many tourists, so be mentally prepared for it to be crowded.  Also, there are stairs...many flights of stairs...especially if you are planning to visit the Abbey at the top.  

The abbey

Long queue to buy the admission tickets into the abbey (E9 I think)

For those of us who are fans of Hey! Say! JUMP, this place inside the abbey's grounds is where Chinen and Takaki visited on J's Journey episode.

The entire abbey visit took quite some time. Walk through many different parts of the abbey. 
Cater at least an hour (if you walk fast and don't linger too long at each place) for this visit.

After the abbey visit, it's time to find lunch.
We had lunch at 1 of the restaurants with a nice seaview from our window seat.
Our window seat

My neighbour throughout my lunch
 Our lunch:

 After lunch, we had some time to take a slow stroll through MSM while heading back to the bus stop outside MSM.

After a short bus ride, we are back at Pontorson station, where we shall take a train to Dol-de-Bretagne and then Dol-de-Bretagne back to St Malo.

After arriving back at St Malo, we walked about 10-15mins to the nearest Police station to make our police report regarding the stolen bag. 
Finally got it done (we had to file the report within 24hours in order for us to claim from travel insurance) and then we didn't really felt like visiting the town of St Malo since it's already evening time, so we just found a small eatery near our hotel and bought food back to our hotel room to eat.

My husband's dinner. Fries and something wrapped in foil (we think it's Turkish food). Can't remember what though. Whereas my dinner is just a cup noodle which I brought over with us from Singapore.
End of day 5.

Go to previous entry: Day 4 Visit Paris
Go to next entry: Day 6 Visit St Malo

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