Passage du Gois. France
Passage du Gois is an unusual road, a passage between the mainland and “Noirmoutier”, the island near the Atlantic coast of France, known as “Black monastery”.
A distinctive feature of this road is that it’s periodically flooded – twice a day due to the high tide. Therefore, it is often called as the road that sinks. The length of the route is 4.5 kilometers, passing through the Gulf of Burnёf. Such extension distinguishes it from the other similar roads. For example, it is 1.7 km longer than the road in South Korea, called “The Miracle of Moses”.
This transition was created by nature itself, when one day the Gulf Burnёf gradually retreated and thus has formed a path through the water. For the first time, this passage was mentioned in 1701 and at that time, in the 18th century, the road was much longer since the dams were further away from the coast. More durable cobblestone road, which could allow the cars to move safely, was built in 1840.
At low tide, this place attracts hundreds of tourists and the local residents as well. Right in the sand beside the road, you can find shells, interesting for those who collect clams.
The water level rises from 2 to 4 meters here, only morning and evening low tides allow passing through Passage du Gois without hindrance. The exact time of the safe attendance on such an unusual attraction is indicated on the special signs along the road. Although the high tide time is clearly marked, there are still cases when people find themselves trapped on this road. In this regard, the rescue towers are located along the whole territory. This helps people to wait until the water level descends, but the cars in this situation can’t be saved. The water level rises fairly quickly and may really take by surprise.
In addition, there are special posts provided along the road where rescue workers are on duty. So, these professionals can gather up from 3 to 10-12 “lucky ones” a day on their boats.
Noirmoutier Island is one of the numerous reasons for the tourist visits. It is famous for its Castle of Vikings “The Château de Noirmoutier”; elite potato plantations “La Bonnotte” – an interesting fact – 1 kg costs from 450 to 600 euros. Here you can rent a luxury villa, see beautiful beaches and amazing scenery.
Although, a steady reliable bridge connecting the island with the mainland was built here in 1971, Passage du Gois remains the most popular way to get to Noirmoutier.
Some facts: every year since 1986 the championship on the run called «les Foulées du Gois» is held here, even a stage of the cycling race Tour de France was conducted on the Passage du Gois in 1999.