Mont Saint-Michel bridge by Dietmar Feichtinger
opens to pedestrians in Normandy


Today marks the opening of a new 760-metre-long bridge leading out from the coastline of northern France to the historic Mont Saint-Michel island commune (+ slideshow).

Jetty to Mont-Saint-Michel by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

Austrian-born architect Dietmar Feichtinger designed the Passerelle Mont Saint-Michel to replace the 135-year-old causeway that first connected the island to the mainland, but also caused a build-up of silt around the old dam.

Jetty to Mont-Saint-Michel by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

Once the causeway has been demolished, the new route will once again allow the sea to flow across the estuary, transforming the Mont back into a real island for the first time in over a century.

"The intention of the project is to guarantee the continuity of the landscape as far as the eye can see," said the design team. "The project set itself the imperative of not disturbing the atmosphere and the wonder of the site."

Jetty to Mont-Saint-Michel by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

Mont Saint-Michel is one of France's top five tourist attractions. A Norman Benedictine abbey and monastery sit at the island's centre, surrounded by the winding streets and elaborate architecture of the tiny medieval town.

Mont Saint Michel_dezeen_2

One of the main objectives behind replacing the access road was to prevent visitors driving across the waters and parking up on the strand – to instead compel them to either walk over or take a shuttle bus.

Jetty to Mont-Saint-Michel by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

The pedestrian pathway opens today, although the shuttles won't be available until the bridge's official inauguration this November.

Mont Saint Michel_dezeen_1

Unlike the original road, which led straight out across the water, the Passerelle Mont Saint-Michel follows a curving route that is slightly offset to the east before curving gently back. This opens up wide views of the bay and the distant Tombelaine rock.

Jetty to Mont-Saint-Michel by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

The structure is supported by a series of 134 pillars – each with a height of 12 metres. As the sea levels rise up to around 14 metres, the surface will be allowed to regularly flood over two periods each year, helping to wash away the silt.

Jetty to Mont-Saint-Michel by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

"The inspiration derives from the sight of a mussel farm with its sticks rising from the sea. The low structure nestles to the water almost touching it," added the team.

  • Dave Carcamano

    The location deserved more subtlety. The pillars and the railings are quite ordinary.

  • papou

    Je trouve que cette intervention défigure le site, quelque chose de plus discret et abstrait aurait été souhaitable. Et voir effectivement les appuis et les garde-corps enlève un peu à la magie du lieu. Je préfère finalement l’ancienne digue route.

  • Ivy Shen

    I have been there in May and the bridge wasn’t finished, but I feel that the design is too loud and too modern for a medieval city like Mont Saint-Michel. Prefer something more low profile.

  • Vigarano

    “The location deserved more subtlety.” An underwater tunnel!

  • Adrien

    I’m surprised the city approved such a banal scheme in such a unique place.

  • Rik Verhalle

    What was to be expected? Anything less and the bridge would malfunction. Best they desired no bridge at all.

  • S731

    There should be no bridge; it destroys the very idea of a disconnection. It kills the place, why should it be easily reachable for tourists?