This trip is confirmed. However, due to new Belgian regulations (16/9) we are not going to Saint-Malo anymore. Instead we will visit 1 or 2 extra beautiful destinations in Normandy, most likely Granville and another town (we “win” 2 hours travel time by not going to Saint-Malo), or increase our time at Mont Saint-Michel. We will contact participants by email on 17/9.
We are allowed to travel to all departments in Lower Normandy without restrictions (incl mandatory tests/quarantines). The places we visit have a relatively (very) low number of corona cases.
Departure Friday evening afterwork at 17h30 from Schuman and slightly later from La Chasse, Delta and Hermann-Debroux, return Sunday evening around 22h30.
Mont Saint-Michel is on the bucket list of many Brussels expats. But since it is far away and without good public transportation connections, basically the only way to get there is by car. Therefore Expat Club regularly organises a long weekend trip by comfortable bus to this magical place on the border of Normandy and Brittany. As usual, we only travel to Mont Saint-Michel on particular days, namely when the tides are very high. For this particular day of visit the tides are even higher than ever before on our previous trips. With 14m80, with a strong tidal wave, this is one of the highest levels in several years!!!
Why join this particular trip?
Visiting Mont Saint-Michel and Normandy is always a good idea, but there are 2 reasons what makes this trip so attractive. First, we depart Friday late afternoon, so you will not have to take a day off from work. Second, the super super high tide and the strong tidal wave makes a visit to the island much more special than a regular visit. It happens only a few times per year and this time it’s the strongest of 2020! It is WOW.
Trip price and what is included
The regular price for this trip is €499, but there are lower early-bird and pre-reservation tickets available for early deciders. To qualify for this you must book early and pre-reserve a spot. This is included:
Transportation by 4* luxury coach
One large suitcase per person
1 night in a 3* hotel Caen
1 night in a 3* or 4* hotel Mont Saint-Michel
Transfer to Saint-Malo
Transfer to Mont Saint-Michel
Shuttle bus to Mont Saint-Michel
Entrance fees for Mont Saint-Michel
Guided tour at Mont Saint-Michel
Dinner in Mont Saint-Michel
Witness tidal wave and high tide
Visits to Deauville and Honfleur (super villages)
A great group of international people
A lifetime memory
Upgrade to 4* hotel, 2nd night
Coach pick-up points
Place Schuman, Brussels (bus stop next to KBC bank on roundabout)
La Chasse (long bus stop right before the intersection on Avenue d’Auderghem)
Metro Delta (long bus stop on Avenue de Beaulieu, next to metro exit)
Metro Hermann-Debroux (long bus stop next to Loxam and under elevated highway)
Families or small groups are more than welcome on this trip to Mont Saint-Michel. Children will get a discount and there are family rooms available in the cheaper hotel (for 3 or 4 persons). However, please contact us before by email or phone, 0495-345144 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This way we can ensure you get the right room and a proper child discount.
– €250 for children 4-11 years old
– €150 for children 12 to 18 years old
From many kilometers away this pilgrimage destination is visible.
The islands seems close to the main land, but when fully surrounded by water, it is hard to reach. | by Michel Avion Fabos (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
After leaving the highway the island comes closer and closer.
The low hanging fog makes it sometimes look like it is floating in the clouds.
Until just a few years ago a large and broad dike with parking spots of both sides led all the way to the island. It has now been replaced by a bridge to offer more freedom to the sea. Visitors are shuttled back and forth from the mainland by buses.
As with all Expat Club trips, our program for this is carefully designed. Still, the program may still change depending on, for instance, traffic conditions. The below schedule is therefore not definitive, but will not change substantially anymore after the trip is confirmed. Together with our bus driver, hotel staff, restaurants, and welcoming destinations, we will always do our best to still deliver the best possible program.
Friday 18 September
17h30 – Departure from Brussels
20h00 – Highway dinner stop near Amiens
23h45 – Arrival hotel Caen
Saturday 19 September
09h00 – Departure to Saint-Malo
11h00 – Arrival Saint Malo
14h00 – Departure to Mont Saint-Michel
15h00 – Arrival Mont Saint-Michel
16h30 – Guided Abbey tour
18h00 – End abbey tour / start village tour
18h30 – End village tour & free time
19h30 – Tidal wave
19h45 – Dinner
21h30 – High tide (14,80 meters!!!)
22h30 – Hotel near Mont Saint-Michel
Sunday 20 September
09h00 – Departure to Deauville
11h00 – Arrival Deauville
13h00 – Departure to Honfleur
14h00 – Arrival Honfleur
16h00 – Departure to Brussels
19h00 – Highway stop
19h45 – Final Stretch
22h30 – Arrival Brussels
We depart at 17h30 from Place Schuman towards Normandy. This means you won’t have to take a day off from work. You can also board at La Chasse, Metro Delta or Metro Hermann-Debroux. We stop once along the highway for dinner and to stretch our legs, before we continue to our final destination, Caen, where we check in to our hotels.
Saturday 19 September – Saint-Malo & Mont Saint-Michel In the morning we will depart from our hotel in Caen to Saint-Malo in Brittany. It’s a beautiful route, through Normandy’s “small Switzerland”. On our way we will already be able to see Mont Saint-Michel in the distance. But we ask you a little bit more patience, since we’re going first to the super beautiful coastal walled city of Saint Malo. We have decided to put this in to the schedule. In 2016 we went there with a smaller group already, but this time we want to make sure everyone can see this splendid town in Brittany!
After lunch we’ll get back on the bus and drive towards Mont Saint-Michel. We’ll park on the mainland and take our luggage to the hotel(s). After that we begin our tour of the island. After a bit of free time, you are requested to walk up the hill (do it slowly and you’ll be fine) for a guided visit to the Mont Saint-Michel abbey.
An official Normandy guide will wait for us to take us on a 1,5 abbey tour, followed by a 30 minutes village tour. You will see the main church, the many halls, and corridors. The guide will tell us about the long history of this mysterious place. You will be amazed with this complex and how old certain parts actually are.
After the guided abbey tours we will spend some more time to enjoy the souvenir shops and stunning views, as well as to drink a glass of local wine (or whatever you prefer) before we witness one of the most spectacular natural phenomena: the tidal wave.
The tidal wave & high tide
It is said the high tide arrives with the speed of a galloping horse! That’s up to 30km per hour, which you clearly cannot outrun, certainly not on the muddy sands. You can see it coming closer and closer from far away, until it fully encircles the island… if the tides are high enough of course. On 18 September we are lucky as the water reaches a 14.80 meters, which is absurdly extremely high and will be enough to full surround the island (12.85m is minimum). With a coefficient of 113 it is also a strong one. That is already super spectacular. The wave comes in at 19h37 and the high tide is at 21h37 (or h31, various sources differ in exact time. In between we’ll be enjoying a nice dinner!
Mont Saint-Michel museums Besides the Abbey, Mont Saint-Michel has 4 small museums that are worth visiting. You can visit them on your own before the abbey tour. Each museum takes just about 15-30 minutes. We recommend you buy tickets on the spot. Just note, there is not much time available after we arrive at the parking and the start of the tour. Possibly you can quickly visit 1 or 2 of them, but just going through the village is also nice.
Archeoscope: a show to discover the construction of this fabulous monument and its sacred history.
Museum of History: old collections ( weapons, paintings, sculptures, watches), prisons and dungeons, the 19th century periscope which reveals the bay.
Maritime and Ecology Museum: discover the tides, the bay and the massive building site to restore the maritime character of the Mont Saint-Michel.
Tiphaine’s House: discover the 14th century residence that Bertrand Duguesclin had built in 1365 for his wife Tiphaine (furnitures, paintings, tapestries).
Individual entrance fees (2019 prices) are €9 per museum.
We have dinner in one of the famous restaurants on Mont Saint-Michel overlooking the bay. Our group dinners are a great way to meet new people and have fun. Prior reservation for dinner is required and you can indicate your meal preference during checkout (including vegetarian). This is a busy evening as many people will stay for the high tide so finding a spot may not be so easy. Besides it’s a special weekend with this high water!
Entrée Normandy style seasonal vegetable soup
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Main course Pan-fried salmon, beurre blanc sauce, basmati rice
Ommelette Poulard (vegetarian option, the famous local dish!)
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Dessert Apple tart with custard
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Drinks 1 glass of cider rosé Tradition Mère Poulard A bottle of red wine per 4 persons – Berger Baron Philippe de Rothschild Vitel water Coffee or tea
Sunday 20 September
On this final day we of course have to drive home, but we assume you will not mind if we first enjoy a few more wonderful places in Normandy? We propose to see both Deauville and Honfleur.
We depart on Friday late afternoon at 17h30 from Place Schuman. The actual time and departure point(s) will be communicated about one week before the trip. We will be travelling with a 4* luxury bus with reclining comfort seats, foot rests, air-conditioning, an on-board toilet, and a DVD-system with at least three flat screens. Along the outbound trip way you will be served some drinks and snacks (waffles, candy bars).
Corona-measures on the bus:
– hand sanitiser is available on the bus
– there are separation screens between the rows
– masks are required in Belgium if 1,5 meters cannot be maintained on same row
– masks are required in France
We are staying in 2 different places during this trip. Everyone stays in the same hotel in Caen on the first night, whereas there is a choice between two hotels at Mont Saint-Michel on the second night.
If you travel alone you can avoid the single room surcharge by sharing a “twin room” with 2 single beds. We offer male or female rooms and we can introduce you to all the other ladies or gentlemen in our group who are also searching for a room partner. This means we do not assign you to a room, but you choose yourself who you want to share the room with. So if you prefer this option, just select it during checkout. It is a perfect way to lower your costs and to meet another friendly expat. Many of our guests in the past have chosen for this option, sometimes even up to 70% per trip. In other words, you don’t have to worry about finding a room partner before departure, we do this for you. Since our participants are all adults, most between 30 and 60 years), there is always a kind person to share the room with. Note that we have only 1 twin male room (for 2 gentlemen).
The trip will be carried out by one of our trusted coach partners.
This trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are indicative and may change if required by circumstances.
The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation or arrange your own accommodation. If there are specific things that you do not want in the package, please let us know and we may consider a small discount.
You are personally responsible for getting a good cancellation and travel insurance that covers you for unforeseen emergencies and medical expenses before or during the trip.
You are personally responsible for using the hotel room in an appropriate way. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for long delays that influence the program (e.g. missed guided tours), neither can Expat Club be held liable for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the coach, strikes, weather etc.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip. Joining this trip is safe but still at your own risk.
If you do not find a room partner on your own, we will find one for you (male/male, female/female). During the outbound trip we will connect you with others in the same position. If you decide to take a single room during the trip, then you will have to fully pay for it yourself. If you book this option, you are never forced to pay for a single room.