In the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel ...
A coastal village on the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, Hirel today boasts a coastline 7 km long, from Vilde Marine in the west, a parish of Hirel since 1794, to La Chatellier in the East.
The Long Furrow
Hirel, whose name means "Long Furrow" in Breton, is mentioned for the first time in a census of 1181. The oldest group of houses stands on calciferous deposits, a kind of shoal of shells piled up by the tides, storms and currents.
These marine alluvia form what is called the 'Marais Blanc' (the white tide), a rich land with willows, poplars, elms, reeds and rushes. A bank of dunes has formed seaward, isolating the area from the sea.
Locals have to work hard to protect their habitat against the invasion of the sea during storms and high tides. From the 11th century onwards, a dike has been maintained, and is known as the Dyke of Duchess Anne.
The houses built in the hinterlands along the coast reminds us that human activities here are essentially turned towards the sea.
The 7 km-long coastal fringe is home to lots of outdoor activities - hiking or biking on the greenway, sand yachting, speed sailing, horseback riding along the polders and much more besides
The tidal mills, which numbered a dozen before the Second World War, have for the most part disappeared. Along the dyke of Duchess Anne, today only the circular ruins remain, raising the curiosity of tourists passing by. One mill still stands - the mill of Ville es Brune, fully restored and transformed into an exhibition space with a 360 ° panoramic view of the bay.
985 hectares - 1,368 inhabitants - Locals known as Hirelois & Hireloises