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What day to visit MSM on August 30 or 31, when high tide marked is RED

We are staying in Dinan from August 29 -September 1, We can visit Mont Saint-Michel on August 30 or 31. August 31 the table marked red. What is our advantages for this day?

Thank you very much for your suggestions. I am not sure if I understand the table - what time is high tide and etc,,

Posted by
6834 posts

You have left out several things that will get you better answers.

  1. What does the footnote on your tide table say red-ink means?
  2. Do you plan to walk on the mudflats near or around the Mont? (Not all visitors care to.)
  3. Can you adjust your visit time a few hours if it turns out that the causeway is expected to be flooded? (This is a relatively rare occurrence today. Your concern is slightly outdated.)
  4. Do you have a car?
  5. What else might you plan to do that day?
  6. Do you plan to sit and watch the tide come in? Or is your visit more for the town and Abbey?

Although August is a peak tourism month, it might be less crowded on a weekday. And very early or very late arrivals may have less crowding. But the Abbey closes promptly at posted hours.

Posted by
751 posts

Mont Saint Michel bay has the best tidal bore in continental Europe (the Severn estuary in the UK outranks this one I believe). and you will see a bit of it if you visit on August 31, but better on September 1 and 2.

The red marks on the tidal charts indicate when the tide has risen so far that the Mont is cut off from the mainland. For example, on August 31, the period of insularity will be from 8:20 pm to 9:50 pm.

If you are not staying overnight on the Mont, you may want to leave about 2 hours before the 8:20 pm cut off. That way you can view the advance of the incoming water from the mainland. and then head back to Dinan.

More on tidal bores: MSM tidal bore

If you prefer to visit on September 1 or 2, I can send you the link to the MSM city hall website (French) which has the cut off times detailed for locals who live and work on the island.

Posted by
42 posts

I am not sure., If we want to stay a whole day on MSM, yes we have a car. And we cannot go there on September 1, we are planning to drive to Huelgoat to stay there overnight and to hike in park and cave on next day

Posted by
751 posts

No need to decide right away. You have the info, see how you all feel on the 30th and 31st. At least you now know, if you decide on the 31st, when you have to be off the island to avoid being caught there for a few hours by the high tide.

Enjoy Normandy!

Posted by
3111 posts

Wow, I didn't know about the tidal bore! Visiting Nova Scotia some years ago we were told the Shubenacadie River has the largest tidal bore in the world. We watched it come in from the safety of a bluff.

Posted by
1028 posts

epltd , The highest/lowest tides in the world are in the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick area. But the tides around Mont-Saint-Michel are still dramatic—just in a different way. The tidal bore is very different from the tides at MSM. A tidal bore happens when the tides comes in, and where that tidal shift is funneled into a narrower river like the Shubenacadie River, or the Salmon River in Truro Nova Scotia. It basically causes a huge wave of water moving up river. MSM is kind of the opposite. It is a huge area of water surrounding a much smaller island. The speed of the tide change is because of the relatively shallow water and the gentle slope of the beach. Yet the tides in MSM are high enough at times to totally cut off the island—and even occasionally the causeway leading to it. Two different, but very dramatic results of the tidal change.