"Saint Malo - Cite Corsaire" Top 5 Page for this destination Saint-Malo by Goner

Saint-Malo Travel Guide: 259 reviews and 859 photos

On the Emerald Coast

St Malo was named after MacLaw, a Welsh monk and bishop who fled to Brittany in 538. The 44-acre fortified city became really famous in 1590 when its inhabitants declared their city an independent republic. Their motto was "Neither French nor Breton, but a Corsair am I". This situation did not last more than four years but local people acquired a strong reputation as warriors. In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Malo derived prosperity from its navigators, traders and mainly privateers. Malo became a city of millionaires thanks to the trade by vessel done between the Americas and Europe and its boats called "Newfoundlanders" that fished for cod on the East Coast of Canada. But their most lucrative business was capturing merchant English or Dutch vessels with the King of France's approval.

When you wander around this medieval town and the rampart walls you can sense it's colorful history. You can imagine the ships docking and the buccaneers roaming the streets and flashing the bounty they made from their pillage of some unsuspecting ship.

You can learn more of the history of the town and of its pirates on www.ville-saint-malo.fr

The Breatons

St. Malo is in the province of Brittany which was a Celtic duchy for more than a thousand years before it was annexed by France in 1532. Although Brittany is in France now, it?s not French in culture, they have their own, a very distinct culture; they are part of the European Celtic fringe. Its traditions are linked to those of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Galicia in northwestern Spain. They share a common geography and climate, and their languages and customs are closely related. Today they are proud of their Celtic language and traditional dress, music, dance and fine arts.

Brittany's long history stretches back to those pre- Celtic tribes who left the megalithic monuments all over this area at some period between 2000-4000 BC. Later in Celtic times the land was full of tales of Arthurian legends and the Holy Grail
. Legends, natural or supernatural are an integral part of Breton culture. Everywhere, one finds magic places, places which are often unique where the sky, the earth and the sea are in perfect harmony. Evangelical saints, fairys, korrigans, watches, giants, as well as legends about rocks, water, and dragons among others filled the Breton imagination..

Where is St. Malo?

The first name recorded in history for Brittany was Armorica, or "land of the sea", and aptly named for its long rugged coastline.

Saint Malo is built on a granite rock situated on this rugged coast bordering the English Channel called the Cote D'emeraude (Emerald Coast if you?re English speaking). It is situated on the right bank of the estuary of the Rance River on the North coast of France close to the famous Mount-St. Michel. St. Malo is known for its castle, the cathedral of Saint Vincent and it 14th century ramparts which overlook the sea. The Intra-Muros is very compact for walking and all sides have exceptional views.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Only place I know where you lay on the beach in the shadow of a medieval city
  • Cons:Must reserve a hotel far in advance for the months of July & August
  • In a nutshell:For lovers of the beach and sea, you should visit here
  • Last visit to Saint-Malo: Aug 1998
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (28)

Comments (14)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Sep 20, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Nice page

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Good stuff, I'm thinking about going there, thanks for sharing. Cheers, Ian

  • TygerLyn's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2008 at 2:40 PM

    Hi, in Catalan France they prounounce this petank, with a heavy leaning on the k sound, the way it is spelt. It is interesting that this word is now more popular than "boules".

  • Toshioohsako's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2008 at 8:09 AM

    Your nice photos and tips bring me back my pleasant memories of visiting Saint-Malo region. I used to work in Paris at that time.

  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
    Jul 22, 2007 at 3:02 AM

    Well done, some very interesting stuff on my home town + some good photos. One thing : That is not a home made guitar, it's called a "vielle". but nevertheless great pages.

  • Djinn76's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2006 at 1:29 PM

    I was there yesterday, as many people standing on the wall, we had a good laugh at the view of stupid tourists stuck by the tide. They decided to cross anyway and some had water up to their waist, quite funny indeed ;-))

  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2006 at 11:57 PM

    Wow, another awesome page. Such great infos - you've really inspired me with this one, which is on my 'travel list' now too .

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo
    Dec 27, 2005 at 9:56 AM

    great pages and photos. i really liked what i read and saw. thanks

  • TimDaoust's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2005 at 10:50 AM

    I stumbled across your Pays de la Loire pages which I loved, but found myself drawn to your St. Malo pages. I've been both places and learned more from your pages than I did when I was there myself. Great look at a great area!

  • Phalaenopsis03's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2004 at 2:09 AM

    St. Malo is lovely. Great job Nancy! And that's what they call crepes!?!? Looks more like a chicken-pot pie, but it certainly looks yummy.


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