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Passage du Gois

In 1971 a bridge was built to cross the 700 metre gap between the Ile de Noirmoutier and the mainland, before that there were only two ways to reach the island, either by boat or via the Passage du Gois. This uneven stone paved causeway was first used during the XVI century as the Baie de Bourgneuf gradually silted up. Today the causeway attracts thousands of visitors a year to watch the twice daily uncovering of the 4.5 kilometres of road as it miraculously appears from the sea during the ebbing tide. Visitors come to walk, cycle or drive across the Gois (from the local patois "goiser" meaning to wade), the locals also come to fish 'by foot', especially at low spring tides when the vast expanses of sand which are rich in all manner of shell fish are exposed.
A word of caution, thoroughly check the tide tables, they are marked on either side of the causeway on large signs because as the area is very flat  the tide rises at an incredible rate and many visitors every year get caught out. There are a few " balises", large sturdy wooden towers, which one can climb and wait until you are rescued or the tide falls again.

During the
Wars of the Vendée, both the Republican and Vendéen armies used the causeway to surprise the opposition and the Ile de Noirmoutier changed hands several times.

Return to find more Attractions of the Vendée
Passage du Gois at low tide
Balise, a raised tower to excape the rising tide
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