Passage du Gois: A Road That Literally Disappears Beneath Your Feet


The Passage du Gois is a unique and dangerous causeway connecting France’s Gulf of Burnef with the island of Noirmoutier. Discovered in 1701, this submersible causeway is a narrow path of silt deposits that built up slowly over centuries.

This 2.58-mile road is submerged 13-feet under water for most of the day and can only be used twice a day, for an hour or two when the tide goes out. The perilous nature of the crossing attracts hundreds of tourists every year who attempt to walk, cycle or drive across the Gois during low tide.

Large and clear signs on either side of the causeway tell motorists when it is safe to cross. If a driver mistimes his trip, there are elevated rescue towers all along the road so they can climb to safety. Those who are stranded on the towers will have to wait until they’re rescued or the tide falls again.

The causeway also attracts a lot of shell seekers looking for all sorts of edible sea shells. Since June 1987, the disappearing road has hosted an annual race known as the “Foulees du Gois” where daring runners try and beat the onrushing tides.

Passage du Gois

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The Disappearing Road in France

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