Mont-Saint-Michel

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky tidal island and a commune in Normandy, France. The population of the island is 41, as of 2006. The island has been a strategic point holding fortifications since ancient times, and since the 8th century AD it became the seat of the Saint-Michel monastery, from which it draws the name. The Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay are part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. More than 3,000,000 people visit it each year.

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

In prehistoric times the bay was land. As sea levels rose, erosion shaped the coastal landscape over millions of years. Several blocks of granite or granulite emerged in the bay, having resisted the wear and tear of the ocean better than the surrounding rocks. These included Lillemer, the Mont-Dol, Tombelaine (the island just to the north), and Mont Tombe, later called Mont-Saint-Michel.

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. At the foreground, the hydraulic dam built in 2009 as part of a project aimed at making the Mont-Saint-Michel an island again. The dam uses the waters of the river Couesnon and of tides to help remove the accumulated silt deposited by the rising tides. The project also included the destruction of the causeway that had been built on top of the small land bridge and enlarged to join the island to the continent, and was used also as a parking lot for visitors. It will be replaced by an elevated light bridge. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. At the foreground, the hydraulic dam built in 2009 as part of a project aimed at making the Mont-Saint-Michel an island again. The dam uses the waters of the river Couesnon and of tides to help remove the accumulated silt deposited by the rising tides. The project also included the destruction of the causeway that had been built on top of the small land bridge and enlarged to join the island to the continent, and was used also as a parking lot for visitors. It will be replaced by an elevated light bridge. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

An aerial picture taken on February 2, 2012 shows the Mont-Saint-Michel, a tourist attraction and Unesco world heritage site in northwestern France. AFP PHOTO/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

Tourists take photographs of a miniature replica of the Mont-Saint-Michel, located in the Manche western region, at the 'France Miniature' leisure Park on July 29, 2011 in Elancourt, a western Paris suburb. The park, celebrating this year its 20th anniversary, covers 5 hectares with France's regional landscapes and 116 historical monuments at the exact replicas on a 1/30 scale. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET

Tourists take photographs of a miniature replica of the Mont-Saint-Michel, located in the Manche western region, at the 'France Miniature' leisure Park on July 29, 2011 in Elancourt, a western Paris suburb. The park, celebrating this year its 20th anniversary, covers 5 hectares with France's regional landscapes and 116 historical monuments at the exact replicas on a 1/30 scale. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET

Location: Normandy, France

Source: Getty Images, Wikipedia.

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