Mont Saint Michel Bay!

So let me tackle a dear of mine and hard to explain me think. However, from a tourist point of view is a must while visiting my belle France. I like to tackle the more difficult part, that of the Bay of Mont Saint Michel. This beautiful body of water that rises and lower upon reaching the Abbey! It is awesome from above! The other thing in there already written plenty in my blog ::)

Let me tell you a bit technical pershaps but worth it to keep in m blog me think. This is the Mont Saint Michel Bay; yes it is a bay, and ,also , one of the most beautiful in the world!

Mont Saint Michel

The bay of Mont-Saint-Michel is a bay located between Brittany  yeah!  and the Normandy Cotentin peninsula at the bottom of the Norman-Breton Gulf. It belongs to the club of the most beautiful bays in the world and is registered with the world heritage of UNESCO in 1979. The very important tidal range in the region (up to 15 meters or about 49.5 feet) allows a large part of this bay to be discovered low tide. Two granite islands are found in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, Tombelaine and Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy.

Mont Saint Michel

Here is the Great Bays of our World on Mont Saint Michel BayWorlds great bays on Mont Saint Michel

The bay of Mont-Saint-Michel covers an area of approximately 500 km2. The bay is bordered from north to south by the following towns: In Normandy: Granville, Saint-Pair-sur-Mer, Jullouville, Carolles, Champeaux, Saint-Jean-le-Thomas, Dragey-Ronthon, Genêts, Vains, Marcey- les-Grèves, Avranches, Le Val-Saint-Père, Céaux, Courtils, Huisnes-sur-Mer, Pontorson, Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Beauvoir. In Brittany: Saint-Georges-de-Gréhaigne, Roz-sur-Couesnon, Saint-Broladre, Cherrueix, Mont-Dol, Le Vivier-sur-Mer, Hirel, Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes, Saint-Méloir-des- Ondes and Cancale.

Mont Saint Michel

Three rivers flow into this bay ,and cross it at low tide; the Couesnon, now showing to the west of Mont Saint-Michel, the Sée and the Sélune. The very slight slope of the bay and the significant tidal range cause by great tide of the equinox the formation of a tidal bore or bar in these rivers which can go up several kms inland. The mount was then tossed about by the ramblings of the courses of the three rivers which still watered the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. These rivers are as above the Sélune, Sée and especially the Couesnon which, marking the border between Normandy and Brittany in the past. In reality, until the 18C, the mouth of the Couesnon was 6 km west of the Mount Saint Michel. This is therefore a legend which amuses the border inhabitants who know that the border is not located on the Couesnon proper but on the mainland 4 km west, at the foot of the Saint-Broladre (dept 35 Brittany) massif.

Mont Saint Michel

The largest tidal range observed in Europe is in this bay: with an average amplitude of 10 meters, it reaches 12 meters in average whitewater, 15 meters during exceptional white water. These coefficients are accentuated by the shallow depth of the bay and the barrier effect of the Cotentin peninsula which diffracts the tidal wave, thus forming a standing wave which has a double amplitude of the progressive wave off Cherbourg. Between the Breton point of Grouin de Cancale and the Norman cliffs of Carolles, the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel constitutes the bottom of the Norman-Breton Gulf. The bay extends from Pointe du Grouin to Pointe Champeaux along a west-east axis; and the Couesnon de Pontorson canal, Beauvoir, at the Barracks dam, continues in a dyke north to Mont Saint-Michel , then Tombelaine, the Bec d’ Andaine and Saint-Jean-le-Thomas . To the west, Cancale, to the east, Avranches sur la Sée, north of Sélune. It is located at the bottom of the Norman-Breton Gulf which is bounded by Bréhat to the west and cape de la Hague to the north.

Mont Saint Michel

The bay of Mont Saint Michel has the particularity of being practically flat and therefore prone to quicksand. Crossing the bay can be dangerous in the absence of an experienced guide. The crossing of the Sée and the Sélune only opposes a slight difficulty, but there are several areas of quicksand in the sandy parts of the bay, especially the channels, as in any very flat area, which wander from day to day.   If the channel fills then, it is advisable to release its feet to the maximum and to swim with the force of the arms; theory predicts that one floats, but hypothermia kills if one does not emerge quickly. Trying to prevent a person from getting bogged down by towing it so that it finds dry land is impossible, since its weight is approximately equivalent to that of a car in this situation.

From the 8C to the 17C, the shell cords deposited by the sea between the tip of Château-Richeux and the Saint-Broladre massif had been used to stem the marshes of Dol. To the east of the Sainte-Anne Chapel, there is still this dyke which marks the southern limit of the polders and which is designated by the name of the Duchess-Anne dyke. The Duchesse-Anne dam, built in the 11C in granite, stretches for some 20 km. There are ongoing projects in Mont Saint Michel to control this body of water and make it more fertile but costs and politics have delayed much of the work. It is a long history not the intention of this post but all is here in French; the Project of Mont Saint Michel: http://www.projetmontsaintmichel.com/index.html

The expression “Mont Saint-Michel tide rises at the speed of a galloping horse”, used by the media and tourist guides for the general public, is wrongly attributed to Victor Hugo. This cliché was probably born under the pen of Théophile Gautier who came to Mont Saint Michel in September 1859 as a journalist for the review of the Moniteur Universelle on the occasion of a “tide of the century” and described the flow as a “cavalry front made up of white horses and charging at a gallop ”. The truth is that the tidal range is only observable in its entirety at the entrance of the bay as the depths around Mont Saint-Michel are above the low seas level, that the flow of the rising tide is 3.6 km / h, or 1 m / s or close to the speed of a walking man, the maximum speed observed being of the order of 6.1 km / h, but unfortunately it cost the life to a lot of the unwary.

The help with guides to cross it as we did, superbe experience but no photos as the small digital camera we carried felled lol! next time ! Here is the info on the guidesTourist office of Mont Saint Michel on guides

The pilgrimage and the crossing of the strikes to get to the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel began in the Middle Ages. The practice of pilgrimages resumed in the middle of the 20th century, and over the past twenty years crossing strikes with a guide has become an approach to the Mont which allows you to discover the bay and which is becoming more and more successful.

Some webpages to round up the above and help you plan your trip here which is a must are

The tourist office of Mont Saint Michel on the Normandy side information in English: Tourist office of Mont Saint Michel on the Normandy side

The tourist office of Brittany on Mont Saint Michel on the Brittany side in English: Tourist office of Brittany on the Brittany side of Mont Saint Michel

The tourist office of dept 50 Manche on the Mont Saint Michel in French; Tourist office of dept 50 Manche on Mont Saint Michel

And there you , hope you enjoy the post on the  Bay of Mont Saint Michel. For the history buffs maybe it show you more light on whether is in Normandy or Brittany! Of course, you can see it is in Brittany lol!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

4 Comments to “Mont Saint Michel Bay!”

  1. I enjoyed my visit there but found it very touristy and commercialised.

    Like

  2. It us touristy but I’m glad I visited.

    Liked by 1 person

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