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The Manche is subject to a tidal range of 15 meters, giving it the highest tides in Europe.
This tidal phenomenon is caused by the pull of the stars on the earth’s oceans.  Along our coast the sea comes and goes every 12 hours, with a good 15 minutes’ respite between each movement; this means that over two consecutive days there is an hour’s difference in the time of the tide.



Twice a month high and low tides are more extreme: known as "grandes marées" or  "marée de vive eau", alternating with "petites marées" or "marée de morte-eau" (when the sea does not draw back as far).  Twice a year, during the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, the sea uncovers a greater area of beach which sometimes results in almost miraculous catches of fish.



The tides are measured using coefficients ranging between 20 and 120 (20: "marée de morte-eau"; 70 : average tide; above 110 : "marée de vive eau").