"Saint Malo - Cite Corsaire" Top 5 Page for this destination Saint-Malo by Goner
Saint-Malo Travel Guide: 246 reviews and 834 photos
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
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..
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: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
For some reason the picture I took of the statue of St. Malo's favorite privateer didn't make it across the big pond.... more travel advice
There were many sidewalk cafes in the Intra-Muros and in the evening when the lights came on they all looked so... more travel advice
Written May 4, 2004
If You Like the Crepes
Written May 23, 2004
The Beauty of St. Malo
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- "Of fortresses and islands"
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- "Corsair City"
- "Neither French, nor Breton but Corsair I am!"
- "Saint Malo - City of Corsaire"
- "The Walls of St Malo"
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