A recommendation for those who want to see Mont St Michel sans tourist crowd is to stay overnight in the island itself.
Now, if you don’t have ~190euros to burn, another alternative is a 30 euro per night stay in the surrounding area. There’s plenty. However, most of them ARE not accessible by public transportation. The closest I found was Pontorson, that has a train station to Paris.
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that Pontorson was 10kms away! It should be walking distance ( at least for me) but it is not walker-friendly. There are parts where there are no sidewalks on the main highway. In hindsight, I should have walked on the bicycle route but what’s done is done.
Pontorson to Mont St Michel
Mainly flat (less than half a kilometer elevation gain according to another blog), no turns once you get on the main route. The path is about 2 meters wide, so pretty safe. Plus it is beautiful.
You cannot go up to Mont St Michel from 10am to 6pm, so you’ll have to park at designated areas. There are three. Two near the dam, one near the information center where there’s a free shuttle.
I chose the one near the info center. I parked at parking lot 10, where there’s an area for bicycles then boarded the free shuttle. I think the shuttle stops at the other two parking areas too, but it might be full.
Mont St Michel to Pontorson
If you go during the day it’s the same. However, I wanted to see the night version so I waited until 9:30pm. The route is the same, but the feel is very different.
There are no street lights.
There are no houses on the way (one hostel in the middle).
At one point, a huge sounding dog started barking and so i started pedaling like my life depended on it (and at that point it felt like it did). My French friend said it was pretty safe and I had nothing to worry about.
So. If you are thinking of doing what I did, check the headlamps of your bike and for goodness sakes try to go with someone else.