The bay of Mont Saint-Michel
Discover the beauty of Mont Saint-Michel Bay
Of course, the tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel and the medieval abbey on top of it are the real attractions, but the bay is also part of this Unesco World Heritage Site. And for good reason, because it is a special place. If you visit Mont Saint-Michel, be sure to take a walk through the bay accompanied by an experienced guide. After all, you don’t want to end up in quicksand!
Silting of the bay of Mont Saint-Michel
The story goes that the bay was a forest until 709 AD. But in that year there was a huge tidal wave that washed away the trees and some of the ground. From that moment on, the bay was submerged at high tide. People have been trying to control the water in the bay since the eighth century, for example by means of dikes and land reclamation. However, this resulted in an accelerated and undesirable silting up of the bay, so that there was actually no longer a tidal island. That is why dikes were demolished, a bridge was opened in 2014 and the island is only accessible on foot. Incidentally, there is still natural silting and this salt marsh grows annually by about twenty hectares.
The biggest difference between high and low tide in Europe
The approximately 500 square kilometer bay of Mont Saint-Michel has the greatest difference between the tides in Europe. On average, the difference between high and low tide is ten meters here, with foothills of up to fifteen meters. The water here also comes up very quickly at high tide. Not as fast as a galloping horse, as local legend says, but still with an average speed of 3.75 kilometers per hour. In the bay you can walk through the mudflats at low tide, but never do this on your own. In various places there is treacherous quicksand and, as mentioned, the water level can rise very quickly. So always book a tour with one of the many professional guides, who can also tell you a lot about this special area.