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Battle of Mont St Michel erupts - and it's all about car parks - Europe, News - The Independent

President Nicolas Sarkozy has been asked to adjudicate in a village quarrel that has global implications: the future of the Mont St Michel, the most visited tourist site in provincial France.

The new mayor of the island-abbey-village (population 30; annual visitors 3 million) is campaigning against plans to banish tourist car parks to a new site almost one mile inland.

Eric Vannier, elected mayor in March, claims that, from 2012, visitors may have to pay up to €25 (£19.70) a person to reach one of the most beloved places of religious, and tourist, pilgrimage in Europe. If the plans go ahead, he says, the Mont - both its medieval abbey and its single, winding street of shops and restaurants - will become accessible only to a wealthy "elite".

M. Vannier has launched an appeal to President Sarkozy to intervene and reverse some of the decisions taken two years ago as part of an ambitious project to flush away three million cubic metres of silt and sand and restore true island status to the Mont St Michel.

by Fran on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:16:20 AM EST
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