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Mont Saint-Michel

'Tide of the century' leaves French landmark looking like an island


Saturday, March 21, 2015, 4:33 PM -

Thousands of people have gathered in Normandy to see Mont Saint-Michel turn into an island.

The French commune is about a kilometre away from the coast and is a tidal island—cut off only by the "the tide of the century." The name is not meant to be taken literally as the tide happens every 18 years.

When the water level is low Mont Saint-Michel is connected to mainland by a narrow causeway.

The expectations for Saturday's tide were heights of nearly 14 metres—about 5 metres higher than normal thanks to a boost from Friday's solar eclipse.

Unfortunately for those gathered at the historic site, the surge was a few centimetres short of expectations according to tidal specialist Nicolas Pouvreau who spoke to France 24.

Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are a Unesco Heritage Site.

"Perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Norman and Brittany stands the 'Wonder of the West," a gothic-style Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael," said UNESCO on their website. "Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the abbey is a technical and artistic tour de force, having had to adapt to the problems posed by this unique natural site.

Source: UNESCO


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