France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Restoring Mont St-Michel, France
This long-term environmental project is designed to ensure that Mont St-Michel remains surrounded by the sea, yet enhancing its appearance and accessibility for visitors.





People have been concerned about the maritime environment of Mont St-Michel for years. Indeed, Victor Hugo raised concerns in 1884 about the need to conserve "this combined work of nature and art."

The 19th century causeway blocks the flow of the sea, and over the years there has been a build up of silt. As a result the sea is receding and the land and salt marshes are encroaching.

For decades, visitors approaching Mont St-Michel first saw a huge parking lot full of cars at the foot of the ramparts, a sight not in keeping with the island's history or aesthetic appeal.

In 2005 the first phase of a massive reclamation effort saw construction of the dam on the Couesnon River. This dam uses controlled releases of water to limit the buildup of silt in the Bay of Mont St-Michel.

The dam itself is both an engineering marvel and a work of art, providing beautiful views of Mont St-Michel and education facilities with information about the Bay of Mont St-Michel, its fragile environment, and the reclamation project.

The new car parking area, opened in April 2012, removed cars from the immediate area of the Mont and provides safe parking 2.5 kilometers south of the mountain-island. Free shuttle buses move visitors between the parking area and the island in about 25 minutes. More...

Cars at Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France

Cars at the foot of Mont St-Michel,
something not seen after April 2012.

The new visitor approach now features an expanded Tourist Information Centre (Centre d'Informations Touristiques), information kiosks, toilets, and more.

Extensive landscaping provides a beautiful and natural visual backdrop for the approach to Mont St-Michel.

Those who prefer to walk from the car parking area (45 minutes) may choose from three walking paths, each with interpretive plaques and beautiful views.

The new footbridge, replacing the old causeway, allows water from the sea and the Couesnon River to flow freely around Mont St-Michel, as they historically did.

After all, the dramatic tides are part of the mystique of Mont St-Michel.

This important project is an investment in the future of Mont St-Michel, ensuring that it remains connected with the sea, and providing enhanced access for future generations.

Project to Restore Maritime Character of MSM

Dam at Mont St-Michel

What to See & Do

Hotels in Mont St-Michel

Mont St-Michel Restaurants

Overnight on the Island

About Mont St-Michel

Tourist Information


About Normandy


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Dam, with Mont-St-Michel in the background, Normandy, France

Above, dam on the Couesnon River, with
Mont St-Michel in the distance.



The back of Mont-St-Michel, surrounded by sand, France
View of the back of Mont St-Michel
at low tide, surrounded by sand.

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