The Road That's a Road Only a Few Hours a Day

Passage du Gois 5 photos
Photo: Garder le Kap on Flickr
Passage du GoisPassage du GoisPassage du GoisPassage du Gois
If there was ever a need for a bridge somewhere in this world, then this must be it. Either that or the locals should all get themselves amphibious vehicles if they don't want to be stranded away from the mainland.
The Passage du Gois in France poses a problem similar to that of an overcast day when you don't really know what to wear: sure, it's all dark, gloomy and cold right now, but dress too warm, and if the clouds clear out you'll be left in a pool of your own sweat under the scorching sun. Dress too lightly, and you risk catching a severe cold.

The residents on the island of Noirmoutier are faced with a somewhat comparable conundrum each time they want to use the Passage do Gois to get on the mainland. Whenever they decide to leave the island, they're presented with a very important question: what vehicle should they get, a boat, or a car? It's easy, you'll say: a boat goes on water while the car drives on the road. And you'd be right, except...

The Passage du Gois is one of the most ephemeral roads on this planet. It basically only serves its purpose for a few hours a day, lying on the bottom of the Atlantic for the rest of the time. There are signs on each side informing drivers of the hours when it's possible to cross, but the 2.6 miles long stretch still catches a few unaware motorists each year. Needless to say, if that happens, you can pretty much kiss your car goodbye.

The pedestrians stand a chance of being rescued as there are safety towers along the road where they can climb and wait for either help or the low tide to come back. Depending on the time of day, that might be a rather long wait.

Fortunately, the Noirmoutier Island has another mainland connexion through a highway bridge to the south where the distance is a lot shorter. So if you're ever on the western coast of France and would like to visit the island, unless you brought your amphibious car along just for this occasion, maybe it's best to take a detour and go the longer, but also safer way.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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