Saint-Malo is a French fortified town of outstanding beauty, the most important port of northern Brittany and one of the many unforgettable spot of this windy coast famous for its tides.
If Saint-Malo is still an ideal destination for those who love the romantic and tormented beaches made of sand and irregular stones, once upon a time this fortified citadel was also notorious for privateering.
In the English Channel, Saint-Malo was the French stronghold against the enemy attacks and, in the name of the King, the corsairs used to attack the foreign mercantiles that crossed its waters: they would protect the Kingdom and get rich at the same time. Of this frightful identity today nothing is (luckily) left: nowadays Saint-Malo is simply the protagonist of magnificent tides and sunsets shows.
HOW TO GO TO SAINT-MALO
Saint-Malo is at a four-hour drive from Paris and an hour from Mont-Saint-Michel, with which it makes a perfect combination for a breathtaking weekend on the northern coast of France.
There are ferries connecting Saint-Mao to England (Portsmouth, Weymouth, Poole) or Ryanair flights from Dinard to East Midlands or London Stansted.
WHAT TO SEE IN SAINT-MALO
Leave the car at the harbour, just outside the city walls. The car parks (currently free) fill up soon and it is therefore advisable to arrive early in the morning if you are not staying in town.
You have probably already perceived the beauty of Saint-Malo on your way here, but to capture its true essence you have to enter one of the gates that give access to the fortified citadel (intra muros).
You will immediately breathe its medieval charm, hear the horse hooves resounding on the paved streets, perceive the industriousness of the artisans. Walking around the streets of the old town you will find ceramists, jewellers, art galleries, antique and modern libraries.
You can visit the Castle, the Corsair House (open February-November) and the City Museum (open April-September, ticket € 5.40) to discover the vicissitudes, battles and businesses that made Saint-Malo great.
Then head to the ramparts, which are mostly walkable: look for the stairs that lead to the walls to enjoy the amazing panorama. You will see two small islands: the Petite Be with the Fort Vauban (open all year round, depending on the tide) and the Grand Bè, where the writer Francois-Renè de Chateaubriand is buried. If it is low tide, a strip of land will allow you to reach it on foot, but be careful and always keep an eye on the sea water, because you may not be able to return to the coast again.
Towards the harbour you will also see the Fort National, built in 1689 to protect the city.
It is right from the beach and from these islets that you can admire the true essence of the city, a beauty that you will never forget.
The Visitors Centre is just outside the walls, in Esplanade Saint-Vincent.
Tel .: +33.2188.8.131.52
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