Saint-Malo, the corsair city

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Today we are going to discover the pirate city, its high ramparts, its fort and its old town centre. We are of course talking about Saint-Malo, jewel of the Emerald Coast in Brittany. 

Today we are going to discover the pirate city, its high ramparts, its fort and its old town centre. We are of course talking about Saint-Malo, jewel of the Emerald Coast in Brittany.

The ramparts

Begun in the 12th century and classified as a historical monument in 1886, the ramparts of Saint-Malo were spared by the American bombardments of August 1945, fortunately, because it is difficult to leave without having gone around them. It will take 45 minutes to survey the 1754 m of ramparts and enjoy the magnificent views of the sea. During high tides, you will see the waves breaking on the dike, a grandiose spectacle! To get there, go to the Saint Vincent gate, the main entrance of the city and built in 1708. From there, you will have an excellent view of the isthmus linking the suburbs and the old town before setting off to discover the large houses of the rich shipowners of Saint-Malo. Between sea and old stone, the landscapes will delight you!

The port

It’s the start of the mythical Route du Rhum! Every four years, the most experienced sailors set off alone and above all non-stop to reach Guadeloupe. The city vibrates to the rhythm of the race and there is an extraordinary atmosphere.
This mythical port was also the starting point for the extraordinary adventures of Jacques Cartier. This seems logical since Saint-Malo was the birthplace of this immense explorer, he will also end his life there in 1557.

The city

Saint-Malo was hit hard during the Second World War. In August 1944, the Americans surrounded the city and bombed it to destroy any German resistance. The city will be liberated on August 14th but at what cost? 80% of the city is destroyed. And yet, it is impossible to realize it while walking in its streets, the city was magnificently rebuilt, erasing almost all traces of this dark period. Some historic buildings, such as the cathedral, were also severely affected, but its perfect restoration leaves no room for guesswork. Your walk will lead you to beautiful houses with granite facades, perfectly aligned. The city is lively and lives according to the tides. Let yourself be carried away by the atmosphere of this marine city.

National Fort

The military fort was built in 1689 by the engineer Siméon Garengeau according to Vauban’s plans and under the orders of Louis XIV, to protect the city from English and Dutch attacks. Located on a rocky cap, the fort is accessible at low tide, take the opportunity to admire the city during the crossing. Guided tours will allow you to learn more about its long and rich history.

Grand Bé Island

A few steps from the fort and also accessible at low tide, is the island of Grand B. Situated at the mouth of the Rance and uninhabited, it contains the tomb of the illustrious Saint-Malo-born writer Chateaubriand. His tomb, wide side is surmounted by a large granite cross, from there a superb panorama on the Emerald Coast is offered to you.

The history of this corsair city is rich and we could not in a single article you trace the whole. The Emerald Coast, of which Saint-Malo is the stronghold, offers you a multitude of magnificent landscapes along the famous customs officers’ path. Let yourself be conquered by the beauty of its villages and its coast. Saint-Malo enchants us with its atmosphere, its seafood restaurants and the richness of its past. Come and stroll through its alleys, for a weekend or a stopover on a tour along the Emerald Coast.

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