Passage du Gois
The Passage du Gois is an extraordinary location in France and a national monument. Probably this causeway is so unique, that you cannot encounter it anywhere else in the world and it was already used in the year 600. This causeway links the island of Noirmoutier and the main land at Beauvoir-sur-Mer. But the 4,150 meters long causeway is only accessible with the low tide and then only 1 ½ hour before the lowest tide and 1 ½ hour afterwards. For the rest of the day it is not possible to cross the causeway, because it is flooded, however you can still visit Noirmoutier via the bridge from Fromantine.
The current causeway was used for the first time in the 18th century. People went on foot over the sand-banks to the island of Noirmoutier. Much later they have made a paved road. In those days a lot of accidents took place, because of the quickly rising water. This is the reason why rescue piles have been built. Anyone who is surprised by the rapidly rising water can climb in one of these rescue piles (see photo). The last strengthening of the causeway took place in 1924.
The causeway also attracts a lot of shell seekers. They are looking for the edible shells. With low tide you will see the French on the sea banks with their head to the ground in search of all sort of edible sea shells, which they will be eating at lunch with a delicious glass of the local white wine.
Since June 1987 once a year “les Foulées du Gois” takes place. This race is on foot against the rising water. Thousands of runners participate in this big event, but very unusual, the professionals athletes are the last to start.
Les amies du Gois www.lesfouleesdugois.com