High tides

The biggest tides in Europe

The incessant movement of the sea

Twice a day, every 6 hours, the sea is moved by the force of the sun and the moon working in concert. The beaches and the rocks of the Breton are covered and uncovered by the sea in a never-ending dance of waves. The tides are regular, but nonetheless exceptional - the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel is full of suprises.

The Bay of Saint-Malo can boast of being the theatre of the largest tides in Europe due to its geographical location. When the Atlantic Ocean, a huge mass of water, rushes into the English Channel it is very quick and very strong. The tidal range - the difference between the high seas and the low seas - is on average more than 12 metres around the Saint Malo area.

While tides occur twice every day, this is not the case for high tides. This particular phenomenon occurs 6 to 10 times per year, when the coefficients reach 100 and when the wind is in the right direction. As a general rule, the largest tides occur in the spring and autumn. These so-called Spring tides can exceed a coefficient of 118. The last tide of this size in Saint-Malo occurred on March 21, 2015 with a coefficient of 119! The next will be on Thursday, March 3, 2033 and Tuesday, March 14, 2051 ... Put them in your diary!

The tidal movement - it's all in the heavens!

The Moon's gravity attracts the the oceans. Its attractive force is twice that of the Sun, being much closer. The actions of the two heavenly bodies combine in different ways according to their relative positions:

  • The highest tides, also known as Spring tides, occur at the time of the full and the new moon, when the Moon and the Sun are in alignment with the Earth and their gravity is addictive.
  • When the Moon and the Sun form a right angle to the Earth (in the first and last quarter), much less variable Neap tides occur.

At the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel and Saint-Malo, the tidal range reaches 12 metres

When the coefficient reaches 100, we are talking about a really big tide

Every 6 hours, the beach and the rocks of the coast are covered and uncovered by the sea

To find out the height and times of the tides in real time, see the counter at the bottom of the page!