The Bay of the Mont Saint-Michel is subject to the largest tidal range in continental Europe during spring tides. The waters can withdraw as far as 25km from the shore. After low tide, the local saying goes that the seawaters rush back in to the bay ‘at the pace of a galloping horse’. The waters certainly come in fast, so don’t get caught out by the rising tide!
The Association Pour la Mise en Valeur du Patrimoine de la Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel works towards the preservation and promotion of the bay. This organisation offers a variety of ways for visitors to discover the bay.
‘Sur les chemins des pèlerins d’antan’, for example, allows you to emulate the pilgrims of yesteryear, who would gather at the port of Genêts east of the mount and then walk across the bay at low tide, led by a knowledgeable guide. Today, you are encouraged to come in shorts and walk bare-foot, as there are streams to ford. The route is 6km long, or 12km from Genêts and back.
Crossing the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel
At low tide, and especially during spring tides, the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel unveils its secret life. As the hours pass, as the seasons change, you can appreciate the surprising array of flora, fauna, streams and mudflats, as well as the changing light and reflections of this exceptional environment.
However, always be aware that the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel can be dangerous. If you wish to cross it on foot, it is very strongly advised that you go with an experienced guide. You can get further information at any of the local tourist offices, not just at the Mont Saint-Michel itself, but also at Avranches, Pontorson, or Porte de la Baie Tourisme branches on the eastern side of the bay.