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Mont-Saint-Michel versus Mud
Making a French icon back into an island

Attached to the Normandy mainland by a causeway for 124 years and surrounded by an ever growing pile of sediments, the rocky outcropping that's home to the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel is about to become a true island again.

Since construction of the causeway, some 100 million cubic feet (3 million cubic meters) of sand and mud have accumulated around this UNESCO World Heritage site. Authorities realized that if the accumulation didn't stop, Mont-Saint-Michel would soon become part of the mainland.

So beginning next year, a five-year construction project will allow the sea to encircle the 256-foot-high (78-meter-high) hunk of granite once again. A tidal barrier near the island will filter sediment, and a bridge will replace much of the causeway. No cars will be permitted; a shuttle will transport Mont-Saint-Michel's three million annual visitors—as well as the island's 50 villagers.

—Sylvie Brieu
    NGM French edition

Web Links

Mont-Saint-Michel architecture 
Read more about the history of the famous abbey at this picturesque spot on the French coast.

Mont-Saint-Michel in pictures
Take a photographic tour of the medieval town.

Free World Map

Osterhaus, Andreas. "Mont-Saint-Michel will be an island again," Agence France-Presse, July 27, 2002.

Sage, Adam. "Tourist haven to regain island status," Times of London, July 24, 2002.


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