Crowds flock to see city swallowed by supertide phenomenon

Supertide surrounds city
Supertide surrounds city

A supertide has turned France's famed Mont Saint-Michel into an island and then retreated out of sight, delighting thousands of visitors who went to see the rare phenomenon.

The so-called "tide of the century" actually happens every 18 years. Although the tide rushes in and out along the whole northern French coast, it's especially dramatic at the Unesco world heritage site, which is normally linked to the mainland only by a narrow causeway at high tide.

The high tide, said to rise at the pace of a horse's gallop, turned the Mont briefly into an island today, while the day's low tide allowed people to walk on the expansive flat seabed.

Tidal specialist Nicolas Pouvreau told France 24 the surge was a few inches short of expectations.

Experts predicted that it could reach as high as 46ft - 18ft above normal - thanks to the effects from yesterday’s spectacular solar eclipse.  The tide is caused by the gravitational pulls associated with the aligment of the moon, sun and earth