Dazzling supertide envelops France's Mont Saint-Michel


Dazzling Supertide Transforms France's Mont Saint-Michel Into an Island, Delighting Thousands

MONT SAINT-MICHEL, France (AP) - A supertide has turned France's famed Mont Saint-Michel into an island and then retreated out of sight, delighting thousands of visitors who came to see the rare phenomenon.

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Supertide at Mont-Saint Michel
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Dazzling supertide envelops France's Mont Saint-Michel
Mont-Saint-Michel is pictured during high tide on March 21, 2015. A 'supertide'phenomenon that occurs only every 18 year is expected to affect coastlines around the North Sea. The world-famous Mont Saint-Michel on France's northern coast is braced for an especially big tide, with a difference between high and low tide of 14.15 metres. AFP PHOTO/DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view shows the Mont-Saint-Michel surrounded by the sea during high tide on March 20, 2015. A 'supertide' is expected on March 21, 2015 to affect coastlines around the North Sea, the English Channel and to a lesser extent in the Mediterranean. The world-famous Mont Saint-Michel on France's northern coast is braced for an especially big tide, with a difference between high and low tide of 14.15 metres. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view shows the Mont-Saint-Michel surrounded by the sea during high tide on March 20, 2015. A 'supertide' is expected on March 21, 2015 to affect coastlines around the North Sea, the English Channel and to a lesser extent in the Mediterranean. The world-famous Mont Saint-Michel on France's northern coast is braced for an especially big tide, with a difference between high and low tide of 14.15 metres. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view shows the Mont-Saint-Michel surrounded by the sea during high tide taken on March 20, 2015. A 'supertide' is expected on March 21, 2015 to affect coastlines around the North Sea, the English Channel and to a lesser extent in the Mediterranean. The world-famous Mont Saint-Michel on France's northern coast is braced for an especially big tide, with a difference between high and low tide of 14.15 metres. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view shows the Mont-Saint-Michel surrounded by the sea during high tide taken on March 20, 2015. A 'supertide' is expected on March 21, 2015 to affect coastlines around the North Sea, the English Channel and to a lesser extent in the Mediterranean. The world-famous Mont Saint-Michel on France's northern coast is braced for an especially big tide, with a difference between high and low tide of 14.15 metres. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view shows the Mont-Saint-Michel surrounded by the sea during high tide on March 20, 2015. A 'supertide' is expected on March 21, 2015 to affect coastlines around the North Sea, the English Channel and to a lesser extent in the Mediterranean. The world-famous Mont Saint-Michel on France's northern coast is braced for an especially big tide, with a difference between high and low tide of 14.15 metres. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view shows the Mont-Saint-Michel surrounded by the sea during high tide on March 20, 2015. A 'supertide' is expected on March 21, 2015 to affect coastlines around the North Sea, the English Channel and to a lesser extent in the Mediterranean. The world-famous Mont Saint-Michel on France's northern coast is braced for an especially big tide, with a difference between high and low tide of 14.15 metres. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
French Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) and French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius stand next to the Mont-Saint-Michel during high tide on March 21, 2015. A 'supertide'phenomenon that occurs only every 18 year is expected to affect coastlines around the North Sea. The world-famous Mont Saint-Michel on France's northern coast is braced for an especially big tide, with a difference between high and low tide of 14.15 metres. AFP PHOTO/DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
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The so-called "tide of the century" actually happens every 18 years. Although the tide rushes in and out along the whole northern French coast, it's especially dramatic at the UNESCO world heritage site, which is normally linked to the mainland only by a narrow causeway at high tide.

The high tide, said to rise at the pace of a horse's gallop, turned the Mont briefly into an island Saturday, while the day's low tide allowed people to walk on the expansive flat seabed.

Tidal specialist Nicolas Pouvreau told France 24 the surge was a few centimeters (inches) short of expectations.

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