| ||An important Christian sanctuary, the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel was founded at the beginning of the VIIIth century. It became a major place of pilgrimage. Pilgrims had to brave the quicksands and the sea rushing into the bay at high tide at the « speed of a galoping horse ». A lot of them lost their lives trying to reach the abbey. In the Mont Saint Michel Bay, the tides are the highest in Europe. They can vary as much as 14 meters. The religious importance of the monument is now secondary. Today, the mount is France’s most popular tourist attraction receiving more than 3.5 millions visitors. A dyke was built in 1880, giving easy and permanent access to the abbey. But it sped up the silting of sand in the bay. The destuction of the dyke, its remplacement by a bridge and a new dam on the Couesnon river will help the tides and the river flush away the sands clogging the bay. Mont Saint Michel will remain for the time being an island surrounded by the sea.
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