The spring tides in la Manche: a spectacular show!

The 2023 programme, practical information and activity suggestions
Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

The spring tides are an exceptional event that you can watch at different times of the year during the full moon. The sea comes and goes with the tides, covering and uncovering the shoreline, with panoramas and landscapes that change every six hours. La Manche has the biggest tides in Europe: we talk of spring tides when the coefficient is higher than 90. Prepare for a magical moment as Mont Saint-Michel becomes an island again for a few hours. Tide times, activity suggestions and practical information: we’ll tell you everything you need to know to enjoy the show in la Manche.

Dates of spring tides 2023

To organize your stay during the high tides, here are the dates with a coefficient greater than 90 in 2023.

Tidal schedules


Saturday 21 - coef 91
Sunday 22 - coef 96/100
Monday 23 - coef 103/105
Tuesday 24 - coef 105/103
Wednesday 25 - coef 101/97
Thursday 26 - coef 91


Sunday 19 - coef 93
Monday 20 - coef 100/105
Tuesday 21 - coef 109/111
Wednesday 22 - coef 112/110
Thursday 23 - coef 107/103
Friday 24 - coef 97/90


Thursday 9 - coef 90
Friday 10 - coef 90
Monday 20 - coef 95
Tuesday 21 - coef 102/106
Wednesday 22 - coef 109/111
Thursday 23 - coef 110/108
Friday 24 - coef 105/100
Saturday 25 - coef 94


Friday 7 - coef 92/93
Saturday 8 - coef 92/91
Tuesday 18 - coef 92
Wednesday 19 - coef 97/100
Thursday 20 - coef 101/102
Friday 21 - coef 101/99
Saturday 22 - coef 95/91


Saturday 6 - coef 90/90
Sunday 7 - coef 90/90


Tuesday 4 - coef 90
Wednesday 5 - coef 92/93
Thursday 6 - coef 93/92


Wednesday 2 - coef 93/98
Thursday 3 - coef 102/104
Friday 4 - coef 104/104
Saturday 5 - coef 101/97
Sunday 6 - coef 92
Wednesday 30 - coef 95
Thursday 31 - coef 102/107


Friday 1 - coef 110/112
Saturday 2 - coef 112/110
Sunday 3 - coef 107/101
Monday 4 - coef 95
Thursday 28 - coef 93/100
Friday 29 - coef 105/110
Saturday 30 - coef 112/112


Sunday 1 - coef 111/108
Monday 2 - coef 104/98
Thursday  3 - coef 91
Friday 27 - coef 91/97
Saturday 28 - coef 101/103
Sunday 29 - coef 104/104
Monday 30 - coef 102/99
Tuesday 31 - coef 95/90

What to do during the spring tides: our suggestions!

Photo, © Captain Yvon

Watch as Mont Saint-Michel becomes an island again

During the spring tides in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, the sea goes out 15 km and comes back in very quickly. When the tidal coefficient is greater than 110, the water comes right up to the ramparts and the village is cut off from the mainland for a few hours. You can watch the show from the footbridge or from inside the village for a panoramic view of the bay.

Bonus: Dare to cross the bay, but only with a guide

Although crossing the bay of Mont Saint-Michel is an unforgettable experience, it can also be dangerous. Certified expert guides, who know everything there is to know about this shifting environment, are available to take you across the sands.
Find out more about crossing the bay

Explore La Vanlée tidal inlet by paddle board or kayak

The Manche is renowned for its eight tidal inlets, estuaries where freshwater meets saltwater. These inlets are found all along the west coast. The sailing school in Bréhal offers trips accompanied by a guide to discover La Vanlée inlet by kayak or paddle board. This unique natural site fills with water during the spring tides, providing the opportunity to discover the place known as the “edge of the world” from the sea.
Kayaking in la Manche

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Go shellfish gathering

At low tide, the coast of la Manche reveals vast natural expanses that are home to a host of different shellfish. This is the ideal time to go shellfish gathering. Use sustainable fishing techniques and regulatory gauges, as well as common sense (putting stones back in place, respecting regulations, only fishing what you need, etc.) to ensure you protect this natural environment and its diversity.
Our tips for shellfish gathering

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Watch the spring tides in a musical setting at the Traversées Tatihou festival

Organised during the spring tides in August, this festival has an eclectic lineup of world music. To attend the concerts, you walk across the sand at low tide from Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue to Tatihou Island. A laid-back atmosphere, an idyllic setting, and concerts organised according to the tide times all make the Traversées Tatihou festival a unique event!

Discover the festival

Photo, © David Daguier - CD50
  • Photo
    Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud
  • Photo
    Photo, © Best Jobers
  • Photo
    Photo, © Best Jobers
  • Photo
    Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Admire the show during the spring tides

The coast of la Manche changes appearance with the tides. On the islands, near the lighthouses, along the tidal inlets or on the seafront promenades, discover the most beautiful viewpoints to enjoy the magic of the spring tides!

Top spots for watching the spring tides

Watch the mascaret

The mascaret is a tidal bore that forms with the incoming tide and gets bigger as it approaches the mouth of the Sée and Sélune rivers. You can watch this event from the Pointe du Grouin du Sud, and you might see experienced surfers and kayakers riding the wave.

Photo, © David Daguier - CD50

What are the spring tides?

The sun lines up with the moon

Every day, the sea level varies according to the universal phenomenon of the tides. Depending on the position of the moon and the sun relative to the earth, the tidal range differs. During a full moon, the pull is so strong that it produces a spring tide. A spring tide occurs when the tidal coefficient is greater than 90.
During the spring tides, the tidal range, defined as the difference in height between high tide and low tide, can be as much as 13 m in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, making it the greatest tidal range in Europe! The biggest spring tides in the world are found in Canada, in the Bay of Fundy, with a tidal range of up to 16 metres.

Equinox tides and supertides

The biggest tides occur roughly every six months, close to each equinox. This phenomenon is seen in March (spring equinox) and September (autumn equinox). The tidal coefficients are then very high, often exceeding 110.
A supertide, or “tide of the century”, is when the very highest tidal coefficients are reached, in other words 119 or 120. Contrary to its name, this incredible event actually takes place only every 18 years, when the earth, the moon and the sun are in perfect alignment. The last supertide occurred in March 2015, and the next ones will be in 2033, then in 2051.

Beware of the dangers of the sea

Although these special tide events are popular with spectators as well as with shellfish gatherers, because the sea goes out a very long way, they can also be dangerous. Since the sea level is higher than usual, the risks of being cut off by the tide and of local coastal flooding are very high, especially in poor weather conditions (wind, low pressure). Be careful and pay attention to the local news.

Sea rescue phone number, whether you’re a victim or a witness: 196

You may be interested in