Saint-Malo, located in Brittany, Northwestern France, is a walled port city on the English Channel. A friend of mine read All The Light We Cannot See, which takes place in St. Malo, and convinced us to spend a few days there intra muros… inside the walls.
Saint-Malo, a port town, was historically notorious as the home of the corsairs, French privateers and pirates. Walking around the port, you can see why this little city has been so popular for so long.
Jacques Cartier, credited as the discoverer of Canada, hailed from Saint-Malo!
I was immediately enamored with the old cobbled stone streets, narrow and caked in history, with the intricate brick patterns guiding you down the city’s adorable streets and alleyways, where you could find boutiques, bakeries, and high-end jewelry shops.
In late 1944, General Patton’s US 3rd Army, advancing into western France, laid siege to Saint-Malo and it was only through a large scale bombardment that the last stubborn German defenders were dislodged. Accordingly, a majority of the city was destroyed… but they rebuilt, and it’s remarkable.
The tide plays a major role in the defensibility of the city. When the tide rises, the beaches disappear and accessibility is limited, or completely eliminated all together. This swimming pool is above ground at low tide, and the diving platform is completely under water at high tide.
The National Fort, built in 1689 is only accessible at low tide.
You can walk (almost) all the way around the entire city on the raised walls, looking outward or inward. There was a little bit of construction so a segment was blocked off, but we walked most of it!
Quality people watching going on up here!
… and some delicious crepes. Check out that chocolate!Last, but certainly not least, I knew I would love Saint-Malo forever because their official mascot is an Ermine wearing a cape. Yes, you read that correctly, a weasel wearing a motherfuckin’ cape. Here’s a shot of their drain covers to prove it:Saint-Malo is definitely on my list of places to recommend to anyone traveling through Northwestern France. Really cool spot. Lots of history and gorgeous views.
Where to next? Mont Saint-Michel!
Did you see my photo post about Chateau de Bouthonvilliers?