Underwater Twice a Day: The Passage du Gois

The Passage du Gois is a road that connects the Island of Noirmoutier with mainland France. It is 2.5 miles long. What makes the road noteworthy is that it is flooded twice a day by high tide. It is only passable for a few hours each day during low tide, and many drivers have had to be rescued from the road due to flooding. (Google Maps link)

Nonetheless, The Passage du Gois has a rich history and has been in use for centuries as a means of accessing the island.

The Passage du Gois during a daily flood.

The road itself is still in service, but has been practically replaced by the Pont du Noirmoutier (Noirmoutier Bridge) on the southern part of the island as a means to drive back and forth without having to worry about the tides.

Still, it is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to see the unique natural phenomenon and to explore the island. Visitors to the Passage du Gois can take guided tours of the causeway, explore the island, and participate in various activities and events. The Passage du Gois is a unique and fascinating place that offers a glimpse into the natural beauty and rich history of western France.

Tide tables of the Passage du Gois. Image: Tux-Man (Wikipedia Commons)

Every year, the Foulées du Gois is a footrace from one end of the road to another at the beginning of High Tide. The fastest racers can beat the tide in ankle-deep water, but those behind often have to swim to the finish. Before a crash in 1999, the causeway was also part of the second phase of the Tour-de-France.

The Passage du Gois is considered a remarkable feat of nature, and its beauty and uniqueness have earned it recognition as a protected site by the French government. It is also a part of the larger regional landscape, the Marais Breton Vendéen, which has been designated a protected area.

Thanks as always for reading!


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