Eric Vannier

The dredging of Mont-Saint-Michel

Formerly called the “project for dredging the Mont St-Michel”, “the restoration project of the maritime character of Mont St-Michel” aims to restore and preserve the original state of the site and to renew its accessibility by taking inspiration from the centuries of pilgrimage that made the renown of the cultural and spiritual site. Éric Vannier strongly and firmly supported the project that is already bearing fruit by allowing the sea to pass along the Mont St-Michel and by regaining the splendor of the bulwarks with the disappearance of the causeway and of the parking.


Since multiple decades, the natural silting of the bay has accelerated and the sea shrinks to leave room to soil and salt meadows. In 40 years, from 1957 to 1997, 27 millions of cubic meters were deposited on the 43 square kilometers of the bay in the neighborhood of Mont St-Michel, the herbs progressed by 30 hectares each year. If nothing is done, the Mont St-Michel will silt up in an irreversible way and will never be this island that the inhabitants, the pilgrims and the visitors have known for centuries.

In order that this natural and architectural wonder can be preserved for the next generations, Éric Vannier initiated since his election in 1983 this great environmental plan and signed in 1995 the official convention of “the restoration project of the maritime character of Mont St-Michel” with the state, the region of Basse-Normandie, the department of the English Channel and the township of Mont St-Michel.

A new dam and water projects were realized in 2009. Using the force of the tide and of the Couesnon river, the dam will give to the latter the power to carry the sediments off.

A footbridge was opened to the public in 2014 to replace the causeway to enable the tides to wander around the Mont St-Michel.

A landscape parking was inaugurated in 2012.

From now on, the Mont St-Michel will remain anchored in his water and will become again an island in his own right even by exceptional tides coefficients exceeding 110, as Éric Vannier always wished for this place he is so fond of.