Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel
Sharing a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The world-famous island abbey may stand just across the border in Normandy, but much of the phenomenal World Heritage Site Baie du Mont St-Michel forms part of Brittany. Try out fascinating different ways to appreciate the Breton half of the bay, including some very surprising culinary routes.
The Baie de Mont St-Michel puts on an ever-changing, yet always sublime show. Given that the bay is subject to some of the most extreme tidal variations in the world, it is advisable to only to walk out across it with an experienced guide, for example from one of the specialist Maisons de la Baie, visitor centres. Themed tours include one to view the Banc des Hermelles, an extraordinary reef built by sea-worms! The great GR34 hiking path that goes all around Brittany’s coast starts here on the Breton-Norman border, first passing in front of the chapel of Saint Anne beside Cherrueix, a place noted for sand-yachting.
The seawall running along much of the Breton length of the bay enabled highly productive farming in the lands behind. Stalls are often set up selling excellent vegetables, including impressive tresses of garlic. Windmills once turned in large number around the bay and although they’ve stopped working, some are open to the public and the Moulin de la Saline at Cherrueix explains the bay’s rich culinary traditions.
A fabulous forest in the bay
The story goes that woods once stretched across the bay, until the waters invaded. At low tide, you can spot an amazing forest of kinds out there. It consists of many hundreds of wooden posts (known as bouchots) planted after the war to encourage the cultivation of mussels. The quality of the bay’s moules de bouchots has earned them coveted appellation d’origine contrôlée status. From Le Vivier-sur-Mer or Cherrueix, embark on an amazing journey to visit this extraordinary forest. You can sign up for such a tour at the Maison de la Baie du Mont St-Michel at Le Vivier, which also organizes exhibitions and outings. Also call in on the Maison des Polders, set a little east in beautiful buildings at Roz-sur-Couesnon.
Did you know?
An amusing rhyme, ‘The Couesnon in its folly, Placed the MontSt-Michel in Normandy’ reminds you how the little Couesnon River actsas the crucial dividing line between French regions here.
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