Fri 18 (17h30) – Sun 20 (22h30) September
Caen & Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
Transportation by 4* luxury coach
Accommodation in a 3* or 4* hotel
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. We arranged for you a special guided tour inside the abbey that will take you to several places that remain hidden from the public.
This weekend is going to be extra long, because we depart already on Thursday evening. This allows us on Friday to dive deeper into the history of the city where we stay, Caen, and that other historic place, Bayeux. On top of that we would like to invite you for Sunday’s D-Day festivities near the Utah beach section and witness the spectacular droppings of hundreds of paratroopers from original WWII planes near Saint-Mère Église.* Read more below…
Pre-reserve your spot now!
We would like to know if you are interested in this trip. If yes, please let us know by making a pre-reservation. This is for free and without obligation. You can do this in 2 ways. If you are a member, log in and click on the RSVP button. If you are not yet a member, you can either first register as a member, the log in and click on the RSVP on this page, or you can send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of people you would like to join. Due to a technical problem you cannot enter your name/email in the regular sign up box now. We apologise for this, and are working on it.
Why join this particular trip?
This is our first 4-day trip to Normandy. Since we leave on Thursday evening already, this means we can spend 3 full days exploring great destinations. On Sunday you will be able to join the D-Day festivities*, whereas also this particular Saturday the sea tides are very high. There is a high chance the island actually becomes an island again since the water levels may go up to 13.25m (and 12.85m is minimum for this occurrence).
Info about D-Day trip (same dates):
The Mont Saint-Michel trip will be combined with a dedicated D-Day trip, which focuses 3 days on this historic battle that started the liberation of Europe on 6 June 1944. On Friday we will explore the Sword, Juno and Gold sections, and on Saturday the Omaha section. Participants will join the same bus from / to Brussels and stay in the same hotels in Caen. They spend Friday and Saturday on learning more about D-Day, whereas the Mont Saint-Michel group spends time in Caen/Bayeux on Friday and travels to the island on Saturday. On Sunday everyone has the same program that is more about D-Day.
Trip price and what is included
The regular price for this trip is €599, but there are early-bird and pre-reservation tickets available for early deciders. To qualify for this you must book early and pre-reserve a spot.
- Transportation by 4* luxury coach
- One large suitcase per person
- 3 nights in a 3* or 4* hotel in Caen
- Entrance fees for Caen Castle
- Guided tour Caen Castle
- Transfer Caen-Bayeux
- Entrance fees Bayeux Tapestry
- Guided tour Bayeux
- Transfer to Mont Saint-Michel
- Entrance fees for Mont Saint-Michel
- Guided tour at Mont Saint-Michel
- One day D-Day tour Utah Beach, Sainte-Mère Église & Paratroopers
- A great group of international people
- A lifetime memory
- Single room
- Upgrade to 4* hotel
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)
Who can join?
- Members & non-members
- Expats & (international) Belgians
- All ages, including children
- Singles / couples / retirees / friends / colleagues / families
Families & small groups
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 email@example.com. 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
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
23h45 – Arrival hotel Caen
Saturday 19 September
09h00 – Morning program Caen (Castle visit)
10h00 – Transfer to Mont Saint-Michel
12h00 – Arrival Mont Saint-Michel
15h45 – Guided abbey tour
17h45 – End abbey tour & free time
19h37 – Arrival flood wave
21h37 – High tide
22h30 – Departure to Caen
00h00 – Return to Caen
Sunday 20 September
10h00 – 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 – Caen & Mont Saint-Michel
In the morning we will take a short time to explore Caen itself. Caen is a roughly 1.000 year old, although traces have been found from many centuries before that. It really started to grow around 1.025-1.030 thanks to the Dukes of Normandy, with the development of a market, mills, vineyards, churches and other buildings. Since then it went through a rich history with many rulers, wars and sieges. Currently the city has about 110.000 inhabitants, with well over 400.000 in the larger urban area, making it the 21st largest metropolitan area in France.
We leave Caen in the mid morning to Mont Saint-Michel (about 1,5 hours). It is a beautiful highway through the Normandy hills. When we get closer to the sea you will have a first spectacular view from the highway. The closer we get, the more impressed you will be with the magic of this centuries-old pilgrimage site. We park the bus a few kilometres from the island on the main parking, and from there we will take the shuttle bus towards the entrance of the village.
We begin our tour of the island with a free visit to the village. You can go into one of the 4 small museums, have lunch or find some souvenirs. However, you can also join us for a superfun baywalking tour. Although this is as low as we will get during this day, namely on the dried up sea bottom, our past trips have shown it was the highlight for many! Just to much fun and beautiful views as well.
In the later afternoon you are expected to walk up the hundreds of steps towards the entry gate of the abbey. Here an official abbey guide will wait for us to take us on a UNIQUE behind-closed-doors tour. This means the lady or gentleman will take us to places regular tourists cannot go. 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. But since this tour is really special, we also go into secret prayer rooms as well the prison (very scary!).
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!
Besides the Abbey, Mont Saint-Michel has 4 small museums that are worth visiting. You can visit them on your own. Each museum takes just about 15-30 minutes. We recommend you buy tickets on the spot.
- 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, but if you visit all museums there is a discount card available.
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!
Normandy style seasonal vegetable soup
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Pan-fried salmon, beurre blanc sauce, basmati rice
Ommelette Poulard (vegetarian option, the famous local dish!)
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Apple tart with custard
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1 glass of cider rosé Tradition Mère Poulard
A bottle of red wine per 4 persons – Berger Baron Philippe de Rothschild
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 Saturday morning 07h00 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).
We are staying this year in only 1 place, namely Caen, the Capital of the region. Here you can choose between the 3* Hotel de l’Universe, the 3* Ibis hotel or the 4* Mercure hotel, each located in downtown Caen right on the harbour and both among the best hotels in town. For this trip breakfast will already be included in the trip fee, so you can start the day right well.
Mercure Caen Centre Porte de Plaisance****
This hotel is located right on the yacht harbour of Caen, right in the heart of the city. The 4* rooms are clean and very comfortable. If you take breakfast as well, be prepared for a feast; last time we stayed here we totally loved it!
Ibis Caen Centre***
The Ibis hotel is located right next to the Mercure hotel. The rooms are clean and all have a private bathroom. In this hotel we offer single rooms and twin rooms.
Hotel de l’Universe***
This basic 3-star hotel is located at just 100 meters from the Ibis and Mercure hotel. The rooms are small, but they are clean and comfortable. In this hotel we offer single, double and triple rooms. Note, we propose this as a budget hotel that is definitely a step below the Ibis hotel and a big difference with the Mercure hotel.
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, 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 may stop the twin sharing for male rooms from about 2 months before departure!
- 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.