Your Guide to the Mont Saint Michel Bay
Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island in Normandy where the resident nuns and monks live and pray in the Abbey. This island is known for its architectural and cultural heritage while the surrounding bay further adds to its charm. Both the island and its bay are on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receive over 3 million visitors every year. Mont Saint-Michel Bay is the site for the highest tides in Europe and is one of the most beautiful bays in the world. The Bay is home to a diverse natural environment and offers a lot of amazing views and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
About Mont Saint Michel Bay
Mont Saint-Michel Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also registered as a Special Protection Zone. This region is an intertidal zone so, when the tide recedes and the bay clears up, it becomes a natural reserve for several birds such as avocet, osprey, and so on. There are over 130 species of birds found in the bay and there are migratory birds like bean goose, wigeon, etc. that make a stop here as well.
It is also home to hundreds of different fish species such as the sea bream, ray, seabass, and so on. As a result, you can also spot seals and dolphins here during the summertime. These sea mammals usually follow the warm currents of the Atlantic Ocean to the coastline of Normandy and can be observed by following the fishing boats.
Although the flora of Mont Saint-Michel bay has greatly suffered due to sand buildup, agricultural products, etc., it still is a major breeding ground. Visitors can find the salicornia plant that grows on salt marshes and is a great food source for the animals grazing here. Mont Saint-Michel Bay is also a popular spot for getting oysters and shellfish and is served all around the world.
What is remarkable about Saint Mont Michel bay is that while the high tide is a beautiful natural phenomenon, low tide offers access to the tidal island. Guests can enjoy a walk on this bay to reach the island and enjoy the gorgeous landscapes surrounding the bay.
Tides of Mont Saint Michel Bay
Mont Saint-Michel Bay, one of the most beautiful bays in the world, has a unique design. Due to the significant tidal movements in this area, high tide at Mont St Michel Bay is a stunning phenomenon to witness, while the low tide leaves the majority of the bay uncovered.
There are two reasons for the bay experiencing the highest tides in Europe — how shallow it is and the Cotentin peninsula forming a natural barrier. The water levels can reach up to 15 meters during high tide. Before road-dykes, Mont Saint-Michel was inaccessible to the pilgrims and the tourists during high tides. The rising of tide is quick and the water advances at a speed of up to 6 km/h that can lead to drowning if you aren’t careful. This is why it is advised to not walk through the Mont Saint-Michel bay without an experienced guide.Plan Your Visit to Mont Saint Michel
The first dyke, Duchess Anne Dyke, was built on the bay in the 11th century to make the island accessible to the pilgrims. In the 19th century, a road-dyke was built and in the 1980s, a new dyke, elevated on pillars, was built to allow the English Channel’s water to flow freely.
What to do at Mont Saint Michel
Cross the Bay
Cross the Saint Mont Michel Bay during low tide and enjoy the stunning landscapes around you. You might even be able to observe migratory birds that visit here every year.Mont Saint Michel History
Visit the Abbey
This is the famous architectural marvel at Mont Saint Michel. Take a guided tour to learn its history and enjoy the stunning views of Mont Saint Michel bay from here.Mont Saint Michel Abbey
Apart from popular attractions, there are four museums to visit on Mont Saint Michel - Logis Tiphaine, Archéoscope, Historical Museum, and Maritime Museum.Mont Saint Michel Facts
This island is famous for omelettes and crepes. You can enjoy a delicious omelette at La Mere Poulard or you can try the best crepes at Crêperie La Cloche.Mont Saint Michel Restaurants
Mont-Saint-Michel Bay: FAQs
Mont Saint Michel is one of the most popular attractions in France and receives over 2.5 million tourists every. Due to its rich history, good cultural base, and stunning views, it is definitely a must-visit attraction in Normandy.
Visitors can cross the Mont Saint-Michel Bay by foot, via shuttle bus, or a horse-drawn carriage.
The best time to cross the Mont St Michel bay is between 9 AM and 10 AM or 3 PPM and 4 PM to avoid the long queues. This is, of course, subject to the tides.
No, it is not possible to cross Saint Mont Michel Bay at high tide by foot or a shuttle bus. You can, however, watch the tide rush in from the island, mainland, or the bridge.
Visitors can spend around 4-5 hours when exploring Mont St Michel and its bay.