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Aug 15, 2008 03:27 AM


I will be visiting Mont Saint Michel for two full days near the end of August, staying within the walls. Is anyone familiar with restaurants there? (I'm travelling by train, so hopping in a car to go to the next town over won't be an option.) I've heard the pré-salé lamb is worth having, but that not all the restaurants serve the real thing. Also, my budget is not huge...though I do want to eat well!

The one place I keep reading about is La Mère Poulard, for the lamb and the omelettes...but I've heard that it's an overpriced tourist trap. Are there other good places nearby for those dishes?

Are there other local specialities I should try?

I saw one mention of a place called Poulard Ainé, but can't find any address. Has anyone heard of it?

Thanks for any and all advice!

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  1. Ah...I'm beginning to think that Poulard Ainé is a restaurant that doesn't exist anymore, seems to be mentioned in historical contexts. Alas...

    3 Replies
    1. re: beauxmots

      You have got to remember the fame is based on Annette Poulard the cook at the Hotel Poulard that she and her husband owned. She died at the age of 80 in 1931. So the historic fame of "la Mare Poulard's" menu (not a place but a person) is being exploited by more than one restautant/hotel, with Poulard in the name, on Mont St Michel.

      My book from 1960 mentions two restaurants "which both claim to be successors to the original Mere Poulard, and are still making fortunes out of serving customers with the only true omelette Poulard"

      I suspect you will struggle to find/finish the original menu she produced: omelette; ham; fried sole; pre-sale lamb cutlets with potatoes; a roast chicken and salad; dessert and cider. All this would have cost you 2.5 francs in 1914.

      I wish you luck in finding somewhere good - my experience of Mont St Michel was that it was worth a quick trip (a few hours) and then to head out to the countryside for some decent food. Best advice is to stay somewhere else and go for a day trip.

      1. re: PhilD

        Well....THAT sounds yummy! Now all I have to do is learn how to time travel. ;-)

        I've heard from several people that the place is mobbed during the day, and it's only after they all leave that you can truly appreciate the peace and beauty of the place, which is why I'm going to stay overnight. But maybe there's somewhere off the island but near enough to walk to (or take a local bus) where I can find better food during the day?

        1. re: beauxmots

          The lower street/walkway where all the gift shops and fast food joints are located is one of the most uncomfortable, crowded places you'll ever encounter at a tourist attraction, anywhere in the world. You literally inch along the bottlenecked narrow street, and people are so tightly packed it feels like a half-mile long elevator jammed with people in very close quarters. Once you get past the bottleneck and the tacky souvenir shops, you'll be fine, the abbey opens up and the insane crowds have a lot more space.

          I've stayed there overnight, and it is a completely different place after the tour buses leave in the evening. Staying overnight there was worth it to me.

          The restaurants there? Nothing special at all, and no bargain, either. We ate at La Mere Poulard for dinner, and it was okay at best. Go somewhere else to eat if you want good food at a reasonable price.

    2. We went for a day trip to Mont Saint Michel in July and encountered the tourists and the tourist traps. Despite all that, we thought it was a beautiful place and we are planning a return overnight visit next year. We ate an omelette as part of our tour lunch at La Terrasse Poulard (tour group food is usually the worst you can get) and surprisingly, we found it quite good. It's definitely different from any North American omelettes; ours was very foamy from the highly-beaten eggs. We stopped in at La Mere Poulard to look at their menu but ran out of time to actually eat there. If I were you, I'd stay one night on the Mont, walk around at night (when the day tours are gone), eat at La Mere Poulard and head over to Cancale for the next night. Cancale is famous for its oysters and Olivier Roellinger's Le Relais Gourmand is supposedly well-worth the trouble. When we go next year, we're planning to visit St. Malo too. There is supposedly a good network of trains, local buses and taxis for these 3 places.

      1. In 2001, we ate lunch at Auberge St-Pierre, practically across the street from Le Mere. I'd eat then again, so it must have been decent. We went there because is was in the 2001 Michelin (no crossed spoon & fork), but listed as a comfortable hotel.

        1. Unfortunately I'm going to have to agree with everyone else and say enjoy the place but don't expect a great meal. I stayed at the hotel right across the causeway, and had a gorgeous view as I ate my fairly abysmal dinner with the sun going down over the rock/island. And nothing I saw while there looked any better. Maybe bring in some nice cheese, fruit and baguette and make yourself a picnic that night?

          1. We stayed overnight at L'auberge st Pierre a couple of years ago and had a pretty decent meal at La mere Poulard. I would reccommend going later in the evening. the Agneau presale' was quite good. laso had a pretty decent lunch at St. Pierre. i would also second the rec to go to Concale to Roellinger's place there. truly excellent food and service. Mt. St. Michel is truly fantastic once the crowds thin out and the late afternoon/evening light is remarkable up in the Chapelle