New Mont St Michel access inaugurated

Redesigned access routes and esplanade are inaugurated as monument is turned back into an island

Redesigned access routes and esplanade are inaugurated as monument is turned back into an island

A MAJOR project to turn the Mont Saint Michel back into an island is one step closer to completion, with the inauguration today of a new access route to the popular monument.

The 760m curved bridge, designed by architect Dietmar Feichtinger, opened earlier this year and all the roads and paths leading to it have now been transformed.

Also inaugurated today is a redesigned esplanade that will be the first thing visitors see once they have made the journey over the water to the foot of the World Heritage Site.

The redesign is part of a bigger project to overhaul the tourist experience. The Mont is visited by 2.5 million people every year.

More money will be pumped into marketing the attraction and the possibility of staying on the island instead of just a day trip.

Visitors from India, Brazil, China and South Korea will be targeted in the next advertising campaign.

For 40 years, vehicles were able to drive on to the island over the causeway which became a giant car park for 600,000 vehicles each year.

The French government decided 20 years ago to turn the site into an island again, but work did not start until 2005, and has cost a total €210m.

A new car park on the mainland was opened in 2012, with shuttle buses ferrying passengers to the monument.

The tides are now doing their work and the monument will be cut off from the mainland by summer 2015.

Photo: Thomas Jouanneau / Signatures

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