Orbital View: Mont Saint-Michel

The UNESCO world heritage site in northern France like you’ve never seen it:

Perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Normandy and Brittany stand the ‘Wonder of the West’, a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael, and the village that grew up in the shadow of its great walls. 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.

I have been to the abbey and was sufficiently awed, but this very different view is surprisingly just as striking. Earlier this year, Alan had a short photo essay of Mont Saint-Michel during a significant cyclical event:

Part of France’s North Atlantic coast and southwestern England braced for their first giant tide of the millennium on Saturday as the alignment of the sun and the moon created an ocean surge not seen since the 1990s. This so-called “supertide” or “tide of the century,” with surges up to 14 meters high, actually happens every 18 years.

When a few readers jumped on Alan for saying “the high tides have turned France’s famed Mont Saint-Michel into an island” and claimed it becomes an island every day at high tide, another reader corrected them: “Normally, the causeway is dry even at high-tide; the super-tide cuts off access completely.”