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Mont St-Michel is completely cut off from the mainland for the first time since 1879

View of the Mont-Saint-Michel surrounded by water

A French island, which is home to a famous Benedictine Abbey has been completely cut of from the mainland for the first time since 1879 following high tides.

Mont St-Michel in Normandy, was entirely surrounded by the English Channel for about twenty minutes on Wednesday evening following exceptionally large spring tides, with crowds of tourists looking on.

The Mont Saint-Michel 11th century abbey attracts an estimated three million tourists a year.

Until recently the island commune was traditionally connected to the mainland by a tidal causeway which is currently being dismantled and will be replaced by a bridge.