I heard that there are two possibilities to get to the island of Noirmoutier. You can either use a bridge, or you can use a pass through the water, which is only drivable if the tide is low. Is this dangerous to cross? And what if I'm stuck halfway? Is there an emergency service?

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    Similar situation in the UK at Sunderland Point, which does not have a bridge (but does have a roadless mainland connection) and is thus cut off from the mainland twice daily... and the tides there have a range of 10 metre, so you'll be deep, deep underwater if you get stuck.
    – gerrit
    Jun 1, 2017 at 8:27
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    I have been there and used the Passage due Gois multiple times. Its perfectly safe as long as you can read a clock. There are emergency shelters along the way if you are on foot or by bike. Your car is another story.
    – Polygnome
    Jun 1, 2017 at 12:38
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    Make sure you do that with a rental car (if they even allow that). Automobiles Do Not Like splashing around in salt water. Ask anyone in the USA rust belt where they salt the roads (in the west they use sand), or who live within a block of the ocean! Yes @DavidRicherby cars do operate on roads with shallow water over them, that is called fording and a road intentionally built that way is called a ford. Note the prominent flags marking road's edge and photos of cars fording. Run-of-river fords are always underwater, so crossing in-water is normal. Jun 2, 2017 at 13:16
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    I believe the word you area looking for is "causeway" not "pass". Jan 8, 2021 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


Passage du Gois is a natural passage with a length of 4,3km (2.58-miles), located in the Atlantic coast of France in the Vendée. Part of the D948 leading to the island of Noirmoutier floods with high tide, and is accessible only during low tide, 1½ hours each before and after the lowest tide. If you miscalculate, there are refuge markers which you would have to climb; your vehicle is another matter.

For safety, the current time and the time of the next low tide are indicated at the entrance.
(source: ekladata.com)

Great images courtesy of Dangerous Roads and Les Mouettes 17.

If you make it across safely, and dry, splurge on a meal at La Marine, Alexandre Couillon's Michelin-starred restaurant.

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    @PatrickTrentin, ciao, I totally disagree with you, my friend. It would be nuts to mention Noirmoutier and not mention the most famous thing in the region. Dorothy, thanks for the fantastic post, images, and essential related information.
    – Fattie
    Jun 1, 2017 at 18:07
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    @PatrickTrentin The last statement is a recommendation. It seems highly unlikely that Dorothy was paid (in cash or in kind) for posting it, so it's not an advertisement. It seems entirely appropriate, to me. Also, I don't understand why you're not flagging something that you find "highly inappropriate". Jun 1, 2017 at 18:21
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    @DavidRicherby I think it may be lack of familiarity and understanding of TSE, and how users contribute. I have been there, expressly for La Marine, but also spending time in a part of France that I love.
    – Giorgio
    Jun 1, 2017 at 18:40
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    @PatrickTrentin I've explained why it isn't an advertisement. And the idea that it is "a gratuitous gift" to mention what seems to be the the only Michelin two-starred restaurant within an hour's drive is laughable. You're dramatically over-reacting. Jun 1, 2017 at 19:54
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    In my personal, humble opinion, the recommendation in the last line adds nothing to the post itself. I would expect those interested in Michelin-starred cuisine to look it up themselves or ask appropriately in a different question. I, too, think it should be left out but it is unobtrusive and small enough for me to just ignore it. (CC @DavidRicherby)
    – Jan
    Jun 2, 2017 at 7:53

Is this dangerous to cross?

As you can see on Wikipedia, fatalities are very rare, fewer than one every few years. https://www.passagedugois.com/crbst_3.html gives some tips to avoid sinking your car and some current information (tide, weather, etc.).

Keep in mind that the area is very flat: as a result, if the tide is going up and that you see some water coming and/or you see many more cars exiting the pass than entering it, double-check the tide times. If the weather is already on the road, unless you are extremely sure about yourself, don't enter the road.

There are two possibilities to get to the island of Noirmoutier

You can also take a boat, e.g. Pornic-Noirmoutier, windsurf to it, or even swim if good swimmer. Not that far from mainland.

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    I'm not sure that "swimming" is a good recommendation in an area with such a tidal change.
    – gktscrk
    Jan 7, 2021 at 6:48
  • @gktscrk I've added a few links to motivate you :-) Jan 7, 2021 at 7:01
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    Even my poor French says that the very first part of the first reply on the first link is "Make sure that you have a motor boat there to help you" so those links don't inspire me with confidence.
    – gktscrk
    Jan 7, 2021 at 7:52

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