I read on https://www.passagedugois.com/crbst_3.html (mirror):

Coaches [are only allowed] one-way Beauvoir to NOIRMOUTIER.

Why are coaches only allowed one way Beauvoir to Noirmoutier on the Passage du Gois?

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    How wide is the road? Is it wide enough for two coaches to safely pass one another? Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 0:17
  • @NateEldredge idk but afaik they don't prevent trucks lighter than 10T from going both ways Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 0:31
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    Judging from Google Earth, it could still be an issue of size and weight of busses/coaches. Coaches are usually in the 18 - 19 ton range, which would mean the road would have the same load with one coach compared to 2 light trucks. Additionally, the road is quite narrow, so it would make a difference, if a light truck needs to slightly veer towards the soft shoulder, to let another light truck pass, than compared to a large coach needing to make space to another large coach.
    – dunni
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 18:26
  • I think Nate's right, looking at StreetView: A light and a heavy vehicle could just pass, but not 2 wide coaches. The shoulders look like mud - easy to get stuck in - and you wouldn't want a coachload of people stuck. The 10T surprises me a little. That's not a common cutoff, suggesting weight, but most coaches are more than that. 7.5T would be a more common truck size cutoff Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 12:43
  • To add value to Chris comment, The middle section of the page (not translated) insist on the risk of getting stuck in mud, even for classic cars
    – dna
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


The hide tide submerges the 4-kilometer-long Passage du Gois twice a day, making it a very special road. The road goes from Beauvoir on the continent (East) to the island of Nourmoutier (West) and crosses the Bourgneuf bay. There a current flowing from the North to the South toward the Goulet de Fromentine.

The current tends to remove or deposit sediments depending on whether it slows down, accelerates... It triggers an erosion on the Southern side of the road [1]. In the linked article, there is a picture of a 1 meter step between the road level and the sediment level. The paving the road created a dregding channel on its southern side that threaten its stability. Quoting the article:

Au contraire, la vitesse du flot venant du nord étantélevée, le côté sud de la chaussée prend l’allured’une petite cascade

On the contrary, the speed of the flow coming from the north is so high that the southern side of the road looks like a small waterfall.

This scouring phenomenon endangers the road, and the authorities have likely decided to reduce the loads and risks on this side of the road. Heavy trucks and coaches are therefore forbidden on the southern side of the road. As french people drives on the right side of the road, coaches are only allowed from Beauvoir (East) to Noirmoutier (West).

L'évolution historique du passage du Gois du 18ème siècle à nos jours [1]

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    Ok. But how do coaches get back from the island? Is there a really large parking structure for coaches on the island? Is the island a coach sanctuary? :)
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 20:53
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    :) Fortunately for the coaches, there is a bridge across the narrow Goulet de Fromentine. However, it is closed whenever the wind are faster than 120km/h and coaches are not allowed on the bridge whenever the wind is faster than 100km/h vendee.fr/Territoire-et-environnement/Transports-Circulation/… . It a rare event.
    – francis
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 12:40

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