Visitors to tourist attractions in Paris are used to the site of armed soldiers and police and the same will soon be true for those visiting Mont Saint-Michel off the coast off Normandy.
With France on high terror alert after a string of attacks in recent years, the decision has been made to beef up security at one of the country's most stunning landmarks.
The island abbey welcomes three million visitors a year making it France's third most popular attraction, just behind the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles.
The decision to introduce a team of five armed police officers was made in the interests of safety, said Yann Galeton, Mont Saint-Michel’s mayor.
“Every day, the police are dealing with suspect packages, and given the threat of terrorism, we just can’t take any risks,” he told Ouest France newspaper.
The officers will start their training with the 9mm semi-automatic guns in October and are expected to be armed and on the streets by December this year.
Mont Saint-Michel shares its police force with the nearby towns of Pontorson and Beauvoir.
“We have to protect the population in case of a terrorist attack. Mont Saint-Michel is a place at risk,” André Denot, mayor of Pontorson, said to France Bleu.
by Anna Schaverien